In case you missed it 10245 Santa’s Workshop was officially announced over the weekend. It’s a great looking set and it is surely going to sell well, but after taking in all of the details there was one thing that stuck out in the press release; the Australian price of $119.99.
We are used to paying more for LEGO in Australia, and we all know that there are a lot of different reasons for this. What is harder to explain is the inconsistency in the mark-up that Australian consumers are charged.
To highlight the issue we had a look at a selection of sets. The criteria for our list was sets that were release recently and in a similar price range to 10245 Santa’s Workshop. We also made sure to include a mix of licensed and non-licensed sets.
|Set #||Set Name||Theme||Licensed||$US||Converted||$AU||Markup|
|70147||Sir Fangar's Ice Fortress||Chima||No||$69.99||$82.96||$99.99||21%|
|70164||Hurricane Heist||Ultra Agents||No||$69.99||$82.96||$89.99||8%|
|75052||Mos Eisley Cantina||Star Wars||Yes||$69.99||$82.96||$129.99||57%|
|79116||Big Rig Snow Getaway||TMNT||Yes||$69.99||$82.96||$129.99||57%|
|76021||The Milano Spaceship Rescue||Guardians of The Galaxy||Yes||$74.99||$88.89||$129.99||46%|
|70815||Super Secret Police Dropship||The LEGO Movie||Yes||$79.99||$94.82||$119.99||27%|
Converted prices listed above use the formula of adding 10% tax to the US price and then converting that to $AU using the current rate on XE.com (as of 11/08/2014).
As you can see from the table above, the mark-up that Australian consumers pay varies wildly.
- The Ultra Agents set and Chima set have different mark-ups, even though they are both priced at $69.99 in the US and are an original LEGO product.
- The Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a 57% mark-up, while the Guardians of The Galaxy only have a 46% price increase.
- LEGO only impose a 4% premium on 60050 Train Station but the new Santa’s Workshop set has a whopping 45% mark-up, which is on par with a licensed set.
- The mark-up varies within the same theme; 42024 Container Truck has only has a 5% increase, while 42023 has a 21% increase. Two consecutive set numbers, but a big difference in mark-up.
We aren’t going as far as to say that Australian consumers should be paying the straight converted price (there are a lot of other market factors), but I think we would all prefer for the premium that we pay to be more consistent. If LEGO can offer a small 4% mark-up on one City set, why is 10245 priced so highly? One possible answer is that LEGO is predicting a fall in the Australian dollar over the next few months, but then again 76023 The Tumbler is not released until September, and that only has an 18% mark-up (despite being a licensed set).
UPDATE After sharing this story with the Australian LEGO community it was suggested that we should look at some other metrics to try and find a pattern for the pricing. We were able to find weight information for most of the sets that we included in the comparison. Weight is a great metric to use for this sort of comparison, as larger sets costs more to produce and ship. Logic would dictate that heavier sets would have a higher mark-up to cover the increased cost of shipping those items to Australia. We chose weight over part count as part size varies greatly.
To simplify things slightly we have dropped any of the licensed sets for this comparison as the pricing of licensed sets has additional factors such as commercial agreements with third parties.
|Set #||Set Name||Theme||$US||Converted||$AU||Markup||Weight|
|70147||Sir Fangar's Ice Fortress||Chima||$69.99||$82.96||$99.99||21%||1139g|
|70164||Hurricane Heist||Ultra Agents||$69.99||$82.96||$89.99||8%||2003g|
Now that we have seen the figures, is there a logical pattern emerging? Not that we can see…
- The heaviest set has the second lowest mark-up.
- The second heaviest set has the lowest mark-up.
- The lightest set has the same mark-up as one three times it’s weight.
- 42024 Container Truck is heavier than fellow Technic set 42023 Construction Crew but has the much lower mark-up.
- There is only an 82 gram difference between the weight of 60050 Train Station (4% mark-up) and 70147 Sir Fangar’s Ice Fortress (21% mark-up)
Weight information obtained via bricklink.com