What percentage of LEGO sales are to AFOLs?

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This is a question that many AFOLs have asked over the years, one reason being to have an idea of how important we are as a whole to LEGO, and thus how influential we are in shaping their product lines.

Now, thanks to the 2010 issue of The Brick, the annual LEGO magazine aimed at stakeholders and customers, we have an answer. On page 60, it states "...a little under 5% of the LEGO sales come from adults who buy bricks for themselves" which to me seems like a very sigificant percentage. If we take 5% of the year 2009 LEGO income of 11,600 million Kroner (from the back page of The Brick), that works out at around 500 million Kroner which is US $92 million or £60 million! That's a lot of money that we collectively spend on our hobby!

31 comments on this article

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By in United States,

That is a lot of money! I can't even imagine what $92 million would look like if it was stacked in $10 bills!

(Huw, I found the problem logging in. It was on my end. Thanks for the quick E-Mail response!)

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By in United States,

As AFoL's maybe we can make a petition and vote on sets we'd like to see besides licensed sets. Perhaps more complicated builds yet still be mini-fig scale, large starships, large castles...more detailed interiors.
Personally, I'd love to see WWII tank sets...and most of all I'd love to see kit's based off of famous paintings and works of art.

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By in United States,

So is tat 5% of purchases, 5% of sets purchased, or 5% of revenue? because non of them alone will give a true figure (purchases for other people nonwithstanding). And don't forget the 2nd hand market (ebay, bricklink, etc), and not forgetting the money spent on individual parts for MOCs

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By in United States,

5% of the money and probably 50% of the complaints. :)

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By in New Zealand,

Huh... I actually thought it would be much higher. Although now that I think about it, I'm the only person I know who has bought any Lego as an adult... whereas pretty much everyone owned Lego as a child. I guess when I look at it that way, it's quite high.

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By in United States,

5% = $92M ?! Well you know what they say, big things come in bla bla bla who knew such a small number meant SO MUCH MOOLAH?! And I can only imagine so many zeros for the 95%

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By in United States,

I thought it would be a higher percentage too. Like legowomen I got just a couple hundred as a kid but spend thousands a year now.

legodad42: I would sign that petition! I would do just about anything to see WWII tanks, ships, ect. They haven't made them in the past because of the "violence" factor but as more and more adults become fans maybe this will change.

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By in United States,

i've just rekindled my love for lego since 1998 and im a little sad that i missed out on some good sets in the 12 years i neglected them. i've spent probably $200 bucks since January on sets that i like and im gonna spend a lot more once those harry potter sets come out.

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By in United States,

It's got to be a higher percentage than that. I've spent roughly $3K since December.

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By in United States,

I have to agree with the people who say that 5% is a low estimate. Maybe I belong to a small contingent of people who seem to spend $200 a month on Lego sets, and that is if no new sets come out. Am I alone in thinking that Lego could get a lot more business if they would establish a customer loyalty program? I would spend 3x the money on lego.com if they had a rewards program, and I already spend enough there as it is.

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By in United States,

5% is very believable to me. In my "group" of coworkers/friends/neighbors/relatives I am the only AFOL, but EVERY one of them buys Legos for their kids/nieces/nephews/grandkids/me.

I may spend thousands a year on Legos, but all of them combined spend 10s or even 100s of thousands.

We should consider ourselves lucky that they sell any sets geared towards adult fans at all.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm another one that thinks the figure Huw's quoting doesn't reflect the money spent by AFOLs.

Retail, there are relatively so few Lego Group stores that people are spending in chains and specialist stores... so that's numbers that probably don't figure in TLGs stats.

And as borg72 points out, the online secondary market where out-of-production or vintage sets and parts are being bought by people who know precisely what they want is another area TLG probably don't have figures for. Most of my Lego is vintage, bought from Ebay. Only about 20% of what I've spent has been on "new" sets and only half of that has been through Lego.com. If that's an AFOLs typical spending pattern, maybe there's more money for TLG to make in re-issues of classic sets?

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By in United States,

I'm 38 and I buy nothing new except the advent sets or if they make a new Christmas set this year. Otherwise, I can't stand the new products. I basically buy from brinklink/ebay but ebay is getting ridiculous. Lots are going fpr crazy prices and when I see a nice lot, someone takes the buy it now price away by bidding on something that just got listed. I have picked up some nice lots using buy it now's, but just can't do it now. Plus a lot of lots are just junk anyways on there.

On the flip side, I am glad Lego is so popular. Glad there is something for kids out there to keep the imagination going.

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By in United Kingdom,

Hmmmm....I don't think a 5% stake makes us particularly important, to be honest. I do however question this 5% figure, which I suspect might be higher, in terms of revenue at least. Very hard to know how LEGO calculate the figure, but on the basis of how much I and others on here seem to spend, 1 AFOL is probably 'worth' 10 or more kids in terms of spend.

So if the 5% is accurate, we are VERY fortunate that LEGO pays so much attention to our views. But in terms of revenue, I'd need convincing that the 5% figure is correct.......

Dr. D.

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By in Australia,

Don't think for a second that 5% share means AFOLS don't influence Lego's marketing decisions. If it didn't we wouldn't have any of the Cafe Corner line, and we'd be forced in to the next Lego System line instead...

*shudder*

Oh, and I did enjoy the A. Fol reference in Clutch Powers too ;p

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By in Australia,

PS, last year's annual magazine had an option to have it mailed out for free... are they still doing that this year?

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By in Australia,

Yes Sharpy, you can. Mine got delivered today :)

At first I thought the 5% figure was too low, but really I think it's about right. Compare the number of kids who have LEGO (the majority of families) and then consider how many AFOLs there are in a given population. AFOLs buy way more, but they're not very common.

EDIT: Also DrDave, a 5% share is really quite big! As Sharpy says, the AFOL-targeted sets are proof that this figure is recognised by TLG, and they cater for us appropriately through these sets, collaboration with the community through Brickjournal and Lugbulk and conventions, the Ambassador program, etc. etc. etc.

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By in United Kingdom,

What this proves is that AFOLs complain WAY too much to Lego given how much of their sales they account for.

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By in United Kingdom,

£60 million may seem like a lot to us who most will never see that sort of money but if that is only 5% then to lego it's nothing. But we are still important!!?!

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By in United Arab Emirates,

i personally spend roughly $4000 per year on lego. then again i'm a rare breed of afol.

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By in Denmark,

For every time there is a guy that spends 4000 a year, there are 4000 families spending 100.
5% is only a guess, and in my opinion it may be closer to 3 %. But it surely is a high percentage anyway.

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By in United States,

I wouldn't say 5% is nothing to LEGO. I am a business owner myself and I definitely value 5% of my business and would notice if I were to loose it. Even if it is "only" 5% I'll bet in 5 years it will increase to 10%.

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By in United States,

I surprised myself by reading the entire thing at once. It was all very interesting.

My guess that the 5% comes from the AC Nielsen surveys and other surveys of customers. As for the monetary value, that is all orders to LEGO whether they be from WalMart, TRU, Woolworth, etc. from around the world, not just direct from LEGO catalog and stores. Of course, Bricklink and eBay sales are not directly counted in that since they're secondary markets but all of those sets/pieces had to be purchased firsthand at some point.

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By in Ireland,

Wow. 5% is way more than I would have thought...

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By in United States,

As a kid/AFOL myself, I am surprised by this piece of data. If 5% of ppl who spend their money are AFOLs, then the other 95% must be kids. Kids do not have a lot of money, so if Lego wants to sell more they should lower the prices.

5% may not seem a lot, to to remind you that it is a part of the Lego community. AFOLs usually do not get the recognition they deserve, it is hard to keep up something you like when the Lego box states its "ages 9-14". Especially when friends think your a little bit too old collecting lego...

-Da_LegoBuilder

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By in Australia,

Did anyone who have read the article actually picked up that the 5% figure refers to people who bought "bricks"? I take that as separate from boxed sets. Having said that, I think 5% is more realistic, and pretty significant! Imagine if they calculated AFOLs who bought actual sets, then I think the AFOL community would represent a larger market share.

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By in United States,

How do you get that magazine? I'd love one! I'm a AFOL and I contributed! WOOPEE!

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By in United Kingdom,

@ Da_LegoBuilder - Let's not forget that AFOL = Adult Fan of LEGO. I'm an AFOL and I buy sets for myself. Adults who buy LEGO sets for their children are not classed as AFOLs in this instance. 5% refers to purchases by adult fans, not adults in general. I think that 5% sound about right and is definitely a significant percentage to TLG.

BTW, I've no idea how someone can be a kid/AFOL :-)

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By in United States,

Well, 5% seems small. However, LEGO has very good reasons to pay attention to us.

1) 5% is actually significant. I'd be pretty unhappy if my annual salary was reduced by 5%.
2) Lets say sales per child are 200 per year and sales per adult are 2000 a year. So, for every adult you bring out of the dark ages you would need to attract 10 new kids to the product to achieve the same growth in sales. (Yes you still have to keep attracting kids to the product, but if you are able to retain those customers the multiplier on sales is great)
3) Adults are vocal in a special way. So yeah, maybe we complain a lot. But we also will do the opposite: advertise their product. For free. I'm sure there is a positive effect for Lego that exceeds the amount we spend on Lego directly: our word of mouth advertising to other parents, to our kids, to our our extended families, and to strangers (Think of Lego exhibits put on by AFOL clubs. Or better yet, this website. An AFOL put it together and AFOLs maintain it, but plenty of AFOLS and non-AFOLs use it).
4) Non-advertising benefits of feedback. For example the development of NXT involved AFOLs to create a better product.

Oh, and as to secondary markets like bricklink and ebay, sales on those sites benefit LEGO only if the sales create more demand for new bricks. If they reduce demand for new bricks they actually hurt LEGO revenue.

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By in United States,

Wow, all of you adult people must like Lego... My parents buy me alot of Lego each year, but that obviously wouldn't make them AFOL's, since they couldn't care less about them.

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