LEGO Group annual result 2018

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The LEGO Group has returned to growth in 2018. Here are the headlines from the press release:

In 2018, the LEGO Group bucked toy industry trends to increase its market share in all major markets. Revenue grew 4 percent to DKK 36.4 billion; operating profit grew 4 percent.

2018 Performance Highlights:

  • Global consumer sales grew 3 percent in 2018 compared with 2017.
  • Revenue for the full year grew 4 percent to DKK 36.4 billion. In constant currency, revenue grew 7 percent compared with 2017.
  • Operating profit grew 4 percent to DKK 10.8 billion. Net profit was DKK 8.1 billion, an increase of 3.5 percent.
  • Cash flow from operating activities remained strong at DKK 9.8 billion.
  • Market share grew in all major markets, bucking overall industry trends.

Read on for more interesting facts, including best selling themes.

The top performing themes in 2018 were, in no particular order:

  • Technic
  • Ninjago
  • City
  • Friends
  • Star Wars

Harry Potter, Jurassic World, Classic and Creator are also said to have performed strongly.

In 2019, the company is accelerating expansion in China, and is set to to open 80 brand stores in 18 cities across the country, which will bring the total to over 140 in 30 cities. It will also expand its presence in the middle east and India. No word on openings in Europe.

We'll add to this article during the day.

61 comments on this article

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By in Bulgaria,

80 brand stores?! Wow that is a serious push.

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By in China,

Nowadays they pretty much open a new store in China every day across all major cities. I'm fascinated by the speed of such expansion despite the fact there ain't no store here yet in my city.

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By in United States,

Oh good they had some increase so they're not going to flip out and panic again... maybe. :-P

Glad to see Ninjago's still in the top five.

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By in Norway,

"Harry Potter...... are also said to have performed strongly."

I wonder if they have taken into consideration that it only has been in stores under half of 2018?! Probably something they keep to themselves ;)

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By in Sweden,

I'm surprised that creator performed well. I've felt like it's becoming too city-fied. But I still prefer it over city. Also kinda surprised about classic making it up to these, since I never hear anyone talk about it or write about it

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By in New Zealand,

Can Auckland, NZ have a store please? Just a little one...

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By in United Kingdom,

Classic received a major boost from the anniversary packs - those were outstanding

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By in Singapore,

^^^ It's like there's a whole other market LEGO Classic appeals to that no one but LEGO knows about...

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By in Netherlands,

Any clues on how Minecraft did?

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By in United Kingdom,

Well, star wars obviously performed well

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By in Netherlands,

I hope they will also ooen some stores in Europe, and especially in The Netherlands woukd be awesome!

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By in Sweden,

I can see Classic performing reasonably well, for different reasons. If you just want some 'normal bricks' for yourself or as a present to somebody else, this would be an obvious choice. Also, as @csiramokus said, the anniversary packs were probably popular (and indeed very good!). They are often also reasonably priced for what you get.
I seem to have bought four Classic sets last year (actually 5, since I bought 'fun future' twice). That's about 10% of all the sets I bought last year. So it seems I am part of the market nobody knows about...

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By in Australia,

80 stores!!, wow
That’ll be costly

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By in Singapore,

^^ You and me both :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Brickmasterboy - classic may have had an up because of the 60th birthday sets being introduced this year - with the collectable tile. I got quite a few of these.. great for padding out the build box...

HP - probably performed well for the number of products in the range... (9 sets + 3 if you count the Brickheadz), compared to Friends, City, Ninjago (~ 60 sets), Star Wars (~ 100 sets), Technic (~ 20 sets including many "high-valued" sets) - and Friends, City, Ninjago & Star Wars all have a lot of other related merchandize (clothing, magazines, books, etc) that Wizarding World hasn't got yet....


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By in United Kingdom,

lets hope they dont cut jobs like last year because billions revenue is too little

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By in United Kingdom,

I'd be interested to see unit (sets) sales numbers and not the financials. Has profit increased because they've sold more items or is it because the price of sets seem to have risen sharply in the past year or two.

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By in United Kingdom,

I hope for more European shops, my closest one is in Cardiff but I don't even live in wales.

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By in United States,

Hooray for TLG!
Creator and Creator Expert are some of my favorite themes - but just wanted to ask if you guys know if Creator Expert and all the advanced AFOL-oriented sets under that theme is included under Creator? I believe it is; but I’m still somewhat surprised they didn’t separate them, as they are two very different themes.
@Brickmasterboy and @LegoSonicBoy:
Yes, I was also surprised to see that Classic performed quite well! Although as @csiramokus said, I do think quite a bit of their popularity was due to the 60th Anniversary Classic sets.

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By in United States,

We need a store here in Central MN....

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By in Romania,

So, everybody is happy for an 3-4% increase related to A BAD year (2017).

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By in United States,

Ah so good to know how much Lego is making off of me.
But Unikitty was such a good theme! Not even a mention?? I'm heart broken!!

I have never despised a theme as much as I have Unikitty.

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By in United States,

I love your comment sidman6969. 100% right.

2017 wasn't a bad year, it was down from a huge 3-5 year span of insane growth. So because they didn't make 15 billion, only 10 billion they fired a bunch of people.

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By in United States,

I'm pretty glad to know that Ninjago is doing so well. I think that this legacy wave will also sell quite well.

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By in United States,

Honestly, the biggest surprise for me here is that since 2016, Technic has displaced Duplo among the top five themes. Wonder if that's a side effect of the recent popularity of STEM-related toys. Though it could also be a matter of recent challenges in the toy industry like the Toys 'R' Us bankruptcy hitting preschool toys (which are primarily bought by parents) harder than toys aimed at buyers old enough to pursue their own interests.

Still, good to see that the company is doing well, even if it's not the kind of astonishing growth they demonstrated in years like 2015. Also glad to see themes like Ninjago and Friends remain successful. I wish they still revealed the five best-selling sets like they did in 2015 and 2016, though.

Side note: just checked out the Responsibility Report PDF, and not only is the layout a lot more eye-catching and reader-friendly than I'm used to, but on the final page it has a link to instructions for a mini wind turbine and a booklet of Duplo activities/challenges for kids using only six bricks:
https://www.lego.com/campaign/responsibilityreport2018/-/media/Project/Campaigns-Grownups/Responsibility-Report-2018/windturbine.pdf
https://www.legofoundation.com/media/1070/sixbricks_ok_print.pdf

The LEGO Group presentation PDF also has some really neat facts about some of the tests and processes involved in LEGO safety testing.

@LegoSonicBoy: Basic brick boxes/buckets are really popular with a lot of kids and parents of kids who are just starting a collection and want to stockpile basic parts in a lot of shapes/colors. This is also a big part of why so many parts on the Pick-A-Brick walls at LEGO stores are stuff we AFOLs would consider "boring" like various colors of 2x4 bricks rather than stuff that we tend to use in larger quantities in our own MOCs. No matter what themes/subjects a kid likes to build, a basic brick bucket can usually help supplement whatever else is in their collection.

Basic bricks are also popular with a lot of schools, daycares, libraries, and other businesses/institutions that want basic parts to use for building contests or activities for the people (especially kids) who use their services — though depending on their budget, some of these tend to buy bricks second-hand rather than buy new sets.

@m--d--b: Have prices really gone up in general, though, or is that just a gut feeling? I mean, #75212-1 does have a £10 higher sticker price than #75105-1 , but that's actually £2.50 LESS when adjusted for inflation between 2015 and 2018 — even though it contains the same number of minifigures, weighs .26kg more, and has 85 more pieces. Similarly, #60197-1 costs £10 more than £60051-1, but about the same when adjusted for inflation, despite 67 more pieces, one more minifigure, and only .22kg less weight due to lighter electronic components. Even at lower price points, #75211-1 and #60193-1 have close to the same sticker price, piece count, weight, and number of minifigures as #75101-1 and #60034-1 , respectively, even after three or four years of inflation.

Overall, concerns from buyers that LEGO prices are rising out of control are far more of a constant than actual increases in LEGO prices. No matter how far you go back, you'll find people saying that LEGO needs to stop raising their prices.

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By in Portugal,

Great, looks like no one is gonna be fired this time!

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By in United States,

@David1985: I think it's unfair to look at that out of the context of the huge amount of hiring that LEGO had been doing (over 2,500 added employees in 2015 and 1,760 in 2016) — something they probably WOULDN'T have done if they'd known that in only a couple years they'd go from their strongest sales growth ever to their first year of declining sales in over a decade.

I'm not saying the layoffs were a good thing, but that decision was made in response to genuine changes between 2015 and 2017 that demanded SOME type of response to keep them from becoming an ongoing trend. Now that the decline has been stabilized (and partially reversed), there's no need for any kind of drastic response, and so no reason for massive layoffs, store/factory closures, or any other drastic cost reduction measures to even be on the table.

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By in United States,

Eh. I own a car but don't hang out on automobile message boards. I'd be willing to bet that as lively and fun as this and other Lego fan sites can be we are the vocal minority on this subject and most normal people just buy a bucket of bricks, give it to a kid, and then do a bunch of stuff that would bore me. =D

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By in United States,

Glad by Lego, maybe a Hospital awoke a lot of people and also Ninjago is enduring time as well.

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By in New Zealand,

You're welcome Lego...

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By in Netherlands,

Of course profit is up, seeing how overpriced some themes are becoming since the previous year...

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By in United States,

Ninjago is triumphant!

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By in Norway,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yez3WYXbICo

I think Harry Potter is the theme that is mentioned most times in this video! So strange it is not underlined more in the press release..

"Especially the second half was strong and we saw a lot of successes on the Harry Potter theme"

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By in United States,

I visited the Shanghai Lego store last October. Really nice. The Chinese cities are so many and so vast, I can see 80 stores. They could open 5 more in Shanghai alone, its so ginormous. Good for LEGO, they deserve the success.

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By in Portugal,

You can compare different sets from different years, or you can compare the same Saturn V, that went up 10€ from 2017 to 2018. Talk about inflation...
Overall, SW prices are higher, DC prices are higher, Marvel, and the list goes on... Even some Friends sets have much higher price per piece than usual.
You can cherry pick all you want but the truth is, overall, prices have gone considerably higher.
The good thing for me is that, so far, 2019 sets suck and not much is being bought here. I spent too much last year...

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By in Sweden,

I'd love to know what was the least-selling set in any given year, in terms of number of sets sold (not revenue). Would it be something like the UCS Millennium Falcon just because it's SO expensive and such a luxury item that comparatively few are sold, or could there be "normal"-prized sets that sell even less than even something like that?

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By in United States,

im really concerned that Marvel and DC didn't make this list. Im hoping its because their product offering is smaller than Star Wars or city for instance. I love these sets and hope fo a bigger expansion of characters in the future.

After growing out of toys/lego as a kid... it was Batman in 2006 that I became an AFOL. Then it just grew to city and the modular sets.

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By in Canada,

@Jasonbrickshd

A set like the falcon or other large d2c sets likely move far fewer units not just because of the size but because of the distribution. Haw many Targets, Walmarts and mom and pop shops carry UCS Falcons in stock. Likely 0. However they will sell through 100's of small $10 city sets per store.

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By in United States,

@The Teenage Brickser Yes! We totally need a central MN lego store.

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By in United States,

Not surprised that star wars did well, it always does. However I am surpirsed city, ninjago and friends did well! Congrats Ninjago!

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By in Canada,

@Mechahamster I think Minecraft died because of only having two minifigures haha just my opinion. How many Steve and Alex dogs do we need?

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By in Japan,

When a Castle theme will come back..?

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By in United States,

@Aanchir:
In the US, it could have something to do with generational shifts. After WWII, the Baby Boom saw a huge increase in births over previous generations. When they started having kids of their own, we had another surge in the birth rate. Now that they're all in their mid-50's or older, the birth rate has been steadily dropping for about the last 25-30 years. Once we hit a point where most children are being born to Millennial parents, it'll probably spike again and Duplo will see a boost in sales over here. Assuming other Allied nations have been experiencing similar shifts in post-WWII birth rates, it's pretty reasonable to expect Duplo sales to largely follow the same pattern with a few years of delay.

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By in United States,

No surprise Ninjago and Star Wars are in the top, they always do exceptionally!

@Aanchir I don't know if anyone's said this, but I always appreciate the time and effort you put into your comments. Not a lot of people are willing to go into so much detail.

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By in Ireland,

A Store for Ireland would be nice!

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By in Australia,

Random thought. Originally there were 3 System theme's: Town, Space and Castle. And of course separately there was Technic (although not named that until 1984).

Now (loosely speaking), you could argue the most popular themes are kind of the modern equivalent: City, Star Wars and Ninjago, plus Technic. So other than the addition of the girl friendly theme Friends, maybe not all that much has changed in the last 40 years?

Caveat: I said loosely, I would love true Classic Castle and Classic Space to come back. It just occurred to me the parallels to the good old days.

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By in Germany,

@Aanchir: I do have to agree with @jnscoelho about the prices.
No matter how you try to spin things, LEGO sets have risen in price considerably more than general inflation, and the trend has accellerated in recent years.
This might be different from your perspective as you are in the US, where LEGO prices overall are cheaper than in Europe (a few exceptions to the rule notwithstanding), in many instances much cheaper, especially on licensed themes.
Also LEGO prices in the US tend to stay cheaper for longer, even after new iterations of sets are launched.
For example if a SW set was 49.99 USD or 49.99 EUR, the replacement tends to also be 49.99 USD, but 54.99 or even 59.99 EUR, even though inflation rates in the US are higher than in Europe.

And @JasonBricksHD: I am not really surprised by Superhero themes (Marvel or DC) not being mentioned in the top selling themes list. At least over here these themes are shelf huggers and constantly marked down at huge discounts, yet still don't sell. Kids over here just aren't interesed as much in Superhero stuff as they appear to be in the US. Especially once you get to everything that can be considered obscure by anyone who is not an absolute expert on the topic, i.e. everything else other than Batman, Superman and Spiderman that just about everybody knows.

I just need to look at the most popular carnival costumes that are very prevalent at this time of year over here. Hardly any kid has a Superhero costume. There might be the odd Batman or Superman here and there, but overall, the overwhelming majority is classic stuff like firemen, policemen, thieves, knights, pirates, various kinds of animal costumes, etc. Even Ninjago characters are more common than Superheros.
Plus, Superhero sets, just like SW and other licensed stuff over here are way more expensive for what you get than Classic, City, Creator or Technic.

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By in Taiwan,

I wonder if the Lego stores in China will have reasonably normal prices, or if they’ll just have the freakishly high prices the ordinary Chinese retail stores have?

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By in Sweden,

I forgot about the anniversary sets in the classic theme... now it all makes sense, as some people pointed out after my first comment

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By in United States,

@AustinPowers: I'm not trying to "spin things". And for what it's worth, I was specifically comparing prices and inflation rates in GBP, not in USD (since @m--d--b is British and I figured those were the prices they were referring to). But for what it's worth, the TIE Fighters and Arctic helicopters I compared in my earlier comment had no change in their German sticker prices between 2014/2015 and 2018, and I suspect there are many other sets for which the same would apply.

Call it "cherry picking" or "spin" if you like, but I chose these sets to compare because of their more or less equivalent contents. And unless one of us is willing to put in the time to do a more comprehensive comparison of price changes across all sets and themes over the past few years, then neither of us can really definitively attest to how much prices in general have/haven't risen in any country, including our own.

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By in Italy,

@CypherV
Good point. Matter of fact, I don't think Classic Space will ever return, well replaced by the more catchy SW theme, and same goes for Castle (we're now in the Game of Thrones era...)

So, just like the music business - where practically everything has been played and sung by older generations and being creative now means playing old things whilst wearing different clothes - the Lego Group conforms by changing theme names but not the substance. Which I guess it's fine as it is.

And - just like modern music - creativity is displayed through better technique and style rather than groundbreaking inventions. Just look at how Lego built houses in the '90s and compare it to modulars: no contest, right? But - hey - both of them are still houses.

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By in United States,

It’s good to see that the numbers are increases this year! I’m also not surprised by the top 5, and it’s good to hear that Harry Potter also performed well because that means there’s a really good chance there will be more sets!

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By in United States,

Hmm. Jurassic world sold well? I thought it didn't do well last time and i wouldn't think that it would do well the second time around.

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By in United States,

Why wouldn't Jurassic sets not do well? Dinosaur sets always sell well. It's why we are getting 4 more sets this year.

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By in Japan,

@dingbat591 Agree and disagree, Yeah, I believe there is no way to classic space theme be back as long SW is selling well, maybe in some special re-releasing for nostalgia. But Castle and Pirates could easily comeback on a new style in the same way they did with Town -> City.

Indeed Ninjago could be considered loosely a "castle" like theme, but still I don't think they have the same appeal. And even I'm a fan, every year I get less and less interested about Ninjago due the saturation and lack of creativity on the theme. Always the same (hero) figures with the same colors, same dragons, vehicles, mechas... The only reason I still buy it is because the villains usually are (still) more creative. But even now, in recent releases they started already to recycle them. For me Ninjago will loose steam in some years...

If LotR/Hobbit, HP and Pirates of Caribbean became a current/staple theme like SW is, I would see no chance of Castle/Pirates coming back at all. NEXO Knights was a experiment that with all its merits, it was a fail. I believe that many castle (and space) fans, me included, bought some set to give a try, but it was a frustrating disappointment.
I don't see where GoT goes into the current hiatus of Castle theme, but I'm sure by looking the comments here, many AFOLs will receive with joy a come back of Castle/Pirates with some new approach as the same way they did with Town/City.
Considering that every year that goes by the share of ADULT consumers grow and grow, LEGO should really consider some AFOL only oriented themes (maybe that could be purchase strictly online), like GoT. I'm sure It would sell well. LEGO had many times changed and/or completely ignored some of they guidelines regarding their products (like the yellow castle instead of grey to avoid building war machines, or the presence of guns for the minigifs). In 10 years we will have an another generation of AFOLs and less and less kids...

I still hoping for Castle/Pirates to come back.

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By in United States,

Can we please get a Lego store in Iowa.

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By in United States,

Yawn. Bottom line their products are overpriced.

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By in United States,

@Samie: It's true that Nexo Knights never did manage to endear itself to older Castle fans… nor, I imagine, was it particularly expected to — most LEGO designers are quite used to AFOLs complaining at length about their kid-targeted themes by now! That said, it WAS a success in its own right, and exceeded its sales targets much like Legends of Chima before it (source: https://twitter.com/Spider_Sam_LEGO/status/1014187475412094977).

I'm not sure what the people who think it failed would have seen as a benchmark for "success". After all, Ninjago's first year sales in 2011 had been the LEGO Group's most successful launch of any new product line to date, and yet LEGO was still originally intending to cut it short after two and a half years and 28 TV episodes. Nexo Knights lasted just as long, and ended after 40 TV episodes with a very similarly sized final wave of sets. And it's not as though other incarnations of Castle like Fantasy Era or Kingdoms have demonstrated any more staying power.

Furthermore, Nexo Knights was never expected to permanently replace more conventional castle themes. Months before the sets were actually released, Mark Stafford characterized Nexo Knights in a Eurobricks post as "a chance to rest the traditional classic castle theme for a year or two, give it a chance to breath." (source:https://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?/forums/topic/105102-nexo-knights-2016/&do=findComment&comment=2357495).

I'm not sure why so many people seem to think that LEGO wouldn't have launched Nexo Knights unless they had entirely lost faith in traditional Castle sets. Frankly, if they really didn't believe kids were interested in knights and castles anymore, I doubt they would have made such a high-profile theme knight and castle inspired AT ALL. After all, it's not as though they launched Ninjago because they thought kids were losing interest in ninja-related toys and media and it was their duty to intervene!

I agree though that Game of Thrones probably doesn't have too much direct impact on the way kids think about the historical fantasy or swords-and-sorcery genres. I'm sure their tastes are much more heavily influenced by stuff that's actually created and marketed with kids in mind: stuff like How to Train Your Dragon, Frozen, The Legend of Zelda, and so on. I suspect it's not too long before we see the next LEGO Castle theme, and I'm enthusiastic to see what kind of design advances LEGO designers have been able to come up with after all this time!

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By in United States,

@AustinPowers:

Try these numbers on for size:

Inflation by year / Inflation since 1978 / Inflation by LEGO
1979 - 11% / 11% / 0%
1980 - 13% / 26% / 0%
1981 - 10% / 39% / 0%
1982 - 6% / 48% / 0%
1983 - 3% / 53% / 0%
1984 - 4% / 59% / 0%
1985 - 4% / 65% / 0%
1986 - 2% / 68% / 0%
1987 - 4% / 74% / 0%
1988 - 4% / 81% / 0%
1989 - 5% / 90% / 0%
1990 - 5% / 100% / 0%
1991 - 4% / 109% / 0%
1992 - 3% / 115% / 0%
1993 - 3% / 122% / 0%
1994 - 3% / 127% / 0%
1995 - 3% / 134% / 0%
1996 - 3% / 141% / 0%
1997 - 2% / 146% / 0%
1998 - 2% / 150% / 0%
1999 - 2% / 156% / 0%
2000 - 3% / 164% / 0%
2001 - 3% / 172% / 0%
2002 - 2% / 176% / 0%
2003 - 2% / 182% / 0%
2004 - 3% / 190% / 0%
2005 - 3% / 200% / 0%
2006 - 3% / 209% / 0%
2007 - 3% / 218% / 0%
2008 - 4% / 230% / 0%
2009 - 0% / 229% / 0%
2010 - 2% / 234% / 0%

http://www.in2013dollars.com/

There's the site. You can run the numbers yourself. True, it's specific to the US, but based on the inflation rate over the last four decades, just to _CATCH_UP_, they'd have to jack the prices on sets to around $0.40/pc. So, when you say that LEGO prices have risen considerably more than inflation, what you really mean is they're no longer stagnant and have actually started to give in to the laws of economics and creep upward. While Euro prices may be trending higher than US prices, they're a far cry from being 4x higher. They can't keep finding ways to shave costs forever. If they tried, eventually they'd be handing over product for the cost of raw materials.

I stopped at 2010 because 2011 is when we got hiccups like the UCS SSD that cost $400 for ~3000pcs, and the Geonosian Starfighter that cost $40 for ~300pcs, but that's also the point when they started really cranking out sculpted non-human heads for themes like SW and Toy Story 3. That actually appears to be the source for some of the most significant deviations from the $0.10/pc rule that AFOLs have become addicted to, at least in cases where expensive electronic parts are not involved. Bigfigs have an even more profound impact on the price per piece than a single sculpted head, for reasons that should be obvious.

@Aanchir:
https://therealityprose.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/what_happened_with_lego/

Already taken care of, six years ago.

@David1985:
Because the movie was terrible?

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By in Germany,

More Lego stores? I spend a ton of money on Lego, but have spent next to nothing in brand stores. Except for exclusives I would seriously never buy Lego at full retail price, it just makes no sense. Since the sets change so fast, you can always get them at a discount eventually. Especially stuff like super heroes that literally noone buys here. I don't get TLGs concept at all anymore, there are tons of bad themes like Super Hero Girls, but the stuff that matters, like Pirates, is absent.

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By in Germany,

More Lego stores? I spend a ton of money on Lego, but have spent next to nothing in brand stores. Except for exclusives I would seriously never buy Lego at full retail price, it just makes no sense. Since the sets change so fast, you can always get them at a discount eventually. Especially stuff like super heroes that literally noone buys here. I don't get TLGs concept at all anymore, there are tons of bad themes like Super Hero Girls, but the stuff that matters, like Pirates, is absent.

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