The Inconsistency Of Australian LEGO Prices – Part 2

LEGO Money

LEGO pricing is an issue that every Australian LEGO fan has an opinion on, so it came as no surprise that we had a huge response to our original post on inconsistency. We reached out to LEGO Australia for a statement in response to our original article, and to their credit they did get back to us.

In this article we are going to look at the response that we received, and check out the various claims that were made.

The LEGO Group is a Danish company but each market, like Australia, operates independently and pricing is a part of that. As you highlighted, there are many market factors that influence price determination. Coming up with the right price is complex, even excluding these market factors, which is why you’ll see different prices for the same set all over the world.

As we pointed out in our original article, the issue that we are discussing is not pricing. Yes, it is true that we are talking about the prices of Australian sets, but the specific factor that we are looking is the mark-up that Australians are charged.

We believe that, within reasonable parameters, every set that costs $X in the US should cost approximately $Y in Australia. Unfortunately for Australian consumers inconsistency is the reality. Take a look at two unlicensed Creator Expert sets; 10243 Parisian Restaurant ($159.99 US, $249.99 AU) and 10244 Fairground Mixer ($149.99 US, $199.99 AU). There is a $10 difference between the US prices, but $50 between the Australian prices. The Parisian Restaurant is a heavier set, but we found no consistent link between weight and mark-up.

In the interesting of looking at this issue more globally, we also looked at the markup between Australian prices and UK prices (British Pounds). For this comparison we have reduced UK prices by 20% to remove the VAT component, and then added 10% back on to add the GST equivalent.

Set #
Set Name
Theme
$AUD
$USD
Markup $USD-$AUD
$GBP
Markup $GBP-$AUD
70143Sir Fangar's Sabertooth WalkerChima$59.99$39.9926.89%£34.998.04%
70145Maula's Ice Mammoth StomperChima$129.99$89.9922.19%£69.9913.82%
70147Sir Fangar's Ice FortressChima$99.99$69.9920.84%£59.992.15%
70144Laval's Fire LionChima$69.99$49.9918.43%£39.997.26%
60052Cargo TrainCity$299.99$199.9926.88%£139.9931.33%
60036Arctic Base CampCity$129.99$89.9922.19%£69.9913.82%
60050Train StationCity$79.99$64.994.11%£49.99-1.94%
60035Arctic OutpostCity$59.99$49.991.51%£34.995.07%
10243Parisian RestaurantCreator$249.99$159.9932.17%£132.9915.20%
10242Mini CooperCreator$149.99$99.9926.88%£74.9922.58%
31024Roaring PowerCreator$39.99$29.9912.79%£19.9922.60%
10244Fairground MixerCreator$199.99$149.9912.78%£119.992.15%
31026Bike Shop & CaféCreator$99.99$89.99-6.01%£64.99-5.71%
21110Research InstituteIdeas$29.99$19.9926.90%£15.9914.94%
21109Exo SuitIdeas$49.99$34.9920.85%£29.992.16%
21108Ghostbusters Ecto-1Ideas$69.99$49.9918.43%£44.99-4.66%
76017Captain America vs HydraMarvel$39.99$19.9969.22%£19.9922.60%
76020Knowhere Escape MissionMarvel$79.99$39.9969.20%£44.998.96%
76021The Milano Spaceship RescueMarvel$129.99$74.9946.63%£69.9913.82%
76022X-Men vs The SentinelMarvel$79.99$49.9935.35%£44.998.96%
75049SnowspeederStar Wars$59.99$29.9969.20%£34.995.07%
75052Mos Eisley CantinaStar Wars$129.99$69.9957.10%£64.9922.58%
75045AV-7 Anti-Vehicle CannonStar Wars$69.99$39.9948.04%£44.99-4.66%
75048The PhantomStar Wars$39.99$24.9935.36%£19.9922.60%
75054AT-ATStar Wars$169.99$109.9930.73%£109.99-5.28%
42023Construction CrewTechnic$99.99$69.9920.84%£49.9922.58%
42024Container TruckTechnic$99.99$79.995.74%£59.992.15%
70810MetalBeard's Sea CowThe LEGO Movie$389.99$249.9931.96%£169.9940.60%
70814Emmet's Construct-o-MechThe LEGO Movie$89.99$59.9926.89%£49.9910.32%
70815Super Secret Police DropshipThe LEGO Movie$119.99$79.9926.89%£69.995.07%
70816Benny's SpaceshipThe LEGO Movie$149.99$99.9926.88%£79.9914.92%
70163Toxikita's Toxic MeltdownUltra Agents$59.99$39.9926.89%£34.995.07%
70165Ultra Agents Mission HQUltra Agents$139.99$99.9918.43%£79.997.26%
70164Hurricane HeistUltra Agents$89.99$69.998.76%£49.9910.32%

We were unable to find any logical pattern to the pricing differences.

  • 75054 AT-AT has a 32% mark-up over the USD price, but a -5% mark-up over the GBP price.
  • 31024 Roaring Power has a 12.79% mark-up over the USD price, but a 22.60% mark-up over the GBP price.
  • USD-AUD mark-ups fluctuate from -6% to +69%
  • GBP-AUD mark-ups fluctuate from –5.3% to +40%

 Apart from the constant testing and improvements of our quality and premium products, there are additional factors that influence our prices; for example, how much it costs to sell LEGO sets in that particular part of the world, local tax rates and the general price level of other goods and toys. It’s true that LEGO sets in the US appear cheaper – but for our US builders, when they add sales tax and compare the price to that of other toys and to their cost of living, it doesn’t seem quite as cheap as it does to you, being used to Australian prices for goods and services.

Once again I feel that this misses the point that we are raising. We are not claiming that LEGO in the US is cheap, or that LEGO in Australia is expensive. What we are claiming is that some sets in Australia have a higher mark-up than others. We have demonstrated this with figures.

In your analysis, you highlight the inconsistency drilled down to a SKU level based on the weight of bricks. As previously mentioned, there are many other contributing factors being simply weight per set. For example, some sets may have some unique elements and each moulding machine is an enormous capital investment for The LEGO Group, let alone the quality controls we implement for the production of each SKU.  Our intention and motto is that “only the best is good enough” so we never want to jeopardise the quality consumer experience we provide our consumers globally.

The biggest problem with this statement is quite obvious – if a set has a large number of new and unique pieces then that set should be more expensive in all regions. For example it would be reasonable for a 200 piece set that has 20 new pieces cost more than a 200 piece set that only contains 1 new piece.

This comment raised an interesting possibility though – are Australian consumers paying a higher mark-up for sets with new parts? If so that would essentially mean that Australians are subsidising the production of new elements.

Set #
Set Name
Theme
$AUD Price
$USD-$AUD Markup
# Unique Parts
70143Sir Fangar's Sabertooth WalkerChima$59.9926.89%0
70145Maula's Ice Mammoth StomperChima$129.9922.19%2
70147Sir Fangar's Ice FortressChima$99.9920.84%1
70144Laval's Fire LionChima$69.9918.43%1
60052Cargo TrainCity$299.9926.88%4
60036Arctic Base CampCity$129.9922.19%1
60050Train StationCity$79.994.11%0
60035Arctic OutpostCity$59.991.51%0
10243Parisian RestaurantCreator$249.9932.17%0
10242Mini CooperCreator$149.9926.88%0
31024Roaring PowerCreator$39.9912.79%0
10244Fairground MixerCreator$199.9912.78%4
31026Bike Shop & CaféCreator$99.99-6.01%0
21110Research InstituteIdeas$29.9926.90%1
21109Exo SuitIdeas$49.9920.85%0
21108Ghostbusters Ecto-1Ideas$69.9918.43%1
76017Captain America vs HydraMarvel$39.9969.22%0
76020Knowhere Escape MissionMarvel$79.9969.20%3
76021The Milano Spaceship RescueMarvel$129.9946.63%4
76022X-Men vs The SentinelMarvel$79.9935.35%3
75049SnowspeederStar Wars$59.9969.20%2
75052Mos Eisley CantinaStar Wars$129.9957.10%8
75045AV-7 Anti-Vehicle CannonStar Wars$69.9948.04%2
75048The PhantomStar Wars$39.9935.36%4
75054AT-ATStar Wars$169.9930.73%1
42023Construction CrewTechnic$99.9920.84%0
42024Container TruckTechnic$99.995.74%0
70810MetalBeard's Sea CowThe LEGO Movie$389.9931.96%1
70814Emmet's Construct-o-MechThe LEGO Movie$89.9926.89%1
70815Super Secret Police DropshipThe LEGO Movie$119.9926.89%1
70816Benny's SpaceshipThe LEGO Movie$149.9926.88%3
70163Toxikita's Toxic MeltdownUltra Agents$59.9926.89%1
70165Ultra Agents Mission HQUltra Agents$139.9918.43%1
70164Hurricane HeistUltra Agents$89.998.76%3

Once again, there is no clear pattern that matches the theory. Looking at the numbers there are a few spots where this lines up;

  • 60052 Cargo Train with 4 unique parts has a 26.88% mark-up.
  • 60036 Arctic Base Camp only has 1 unique part, and has a lower 22.19% mark-up.

Then there are the parts where the opposite is true

  • 75049 Snowspeeder has 2 unique parts with a 69.20% mark-up.
  • 75052 Mos Eisley Cantina has 8 unique parts with a smaller 57.10% mark-up.

Then there are the sets where this isn’t an issue, and we still have inconsistency

  • 42023 Construction Crew, no unique parts with a 20.84% mark-up.
  • 42024 Container Truck, also no unique parts and only a 5.74% mark-up.

The above figures are based on the number of parts that were produced in 2014 that appear in a single set only. We have also removed any minifigure parts and parts that are only a unique print. This should give a good representation of the parts that are genuinely unique to a set.

It is possible that LEGO have a complicated formula in place for determining the Australian price of a LEGO set, but at this stage it is hard to think of anything that is actually fair. Perhaps sets that LEGO Australia thinks will sell well have a higher mark-up?As we have pointed out several times – this isn’t about pricing. That is a different argument to have. This is about consistency in pricing.

Part data was sourced via Rebrickable.com using their API.
Currency conversion done using exchange rates as of 8th September 2014
Figures take into consideration differences in tax rates

Happy Father’s Day

LEGO Homer Simspon

Bricking Around would like to extend a very happy father’s day to all the LEGO dads out there.

We hope you managed to score some sets from your kids! Let us know in the comments.

Gold Coast Brick Event 2014 – 20th & 21st September

South-east Queensland is becoming quite a hotspot for LEGO events with North, South and West all covered. Following hugely popular Brick Events at Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast, Brick Events Pty Ltd has announced that it is returning to the Gold Coast in September 2014.

gc-2014

The Gold Coast Brick Event, will be the biggest event of its kind held so far on the Gold Coast and will feature over 40 different exhibits created by the talented brick builders from QLUG – Queensland LEGO® User Group.

Themes on display encompass Space and Star Wars, City (with working trains), Friends, Harry Potter, Medieval, Castle, Duplo City, operating Technic vehicles, Pirates, and much much more. Build and play tables will also be popular with children and the adults of all ages and LEGO retail outlets will offer fans all the latest in LEGO® products, games, merchandise and jewellery creations.

The most popular display with fans is the Space/Star Wars space station, painstakingly created over many years by a local Gold Coast member. The sheer number of minifigures in this display is impressive and one not to be missed.

Opening hours for entry will be Saturday 9am to 4:30pm and Sunday 9am to 3:30pm. Admission for Adults $12.00, Children $6.00 (3-15), Family (2adults & up to 4 children) $40.00, Children under 3 FREE with tickets being available at the door (cash & EFTPOS available).

Check out the event page for more information


www.brickevents.com.au
www.facebook.com/BrickEventsPtyLtd

On Sale: Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price At Toys R Us

Toys R Us B1G1HP

It would seem that Toys R Us just love having LEGO sales. With their 20% Off Selected Sets sale wrapping up yesterday, we were starting to worry that LEGO fans were going to have to pay full price.

Luckily, Toys R Us have decided that the best follow-up to a LEGO sale is an even better LEGO sale.

From Wednesday 3rd September 2014 until Tuesday 16th Toys R Us are doing Buy 1, Get 1 Half Price on selected themes. That works out at 25% off for two identically priced items.

Themes included in the sale are

  • Technic
  • TMNT
  • Chima
  • City
  • Friends
  • Creator

Shoppers are also allowed to mix and match across themes. For example you can get 50% off a Creator set when you buy a Friends set. Half price item must be of equal or lesser value.

You can check out the catalogue here, or browse the sale online here

Sneak Peak of 75060 UCS Slave I

We don’t have an official press release yet, but several images of the Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series set – 75060 Slave I – have surfaced in a YouTube video by a user named just2good.

75060 UCS Slave I Img01

We will update the article when we have more information, but in the meantime check out all of the pictures in the video below.

If the video above does not load, click here for the direct link

What’s New For September 2014

Spring is here, and with it there is a new LEGO products available.

We were hoping that we would also see a new online offer, but it seems that Australia misses out on a bonus this month. The current rumour is Double VIP points in October, so it may be better to hold of.

Here is a list of all of the new sets that are scheduled for release this month

Mixels Series 3

41519 Glurt
Series 3 features the Glorp Corp, Spikels and Wiztastics. All 9 characters are due for a September retail release so should start appearing in-store soon.

They are also now available on the Australian online store. http://shop.lego.com/en-AU/LEGO-Mixels-ByTheme

 

Ultra Agents

LEGO Ultra Agents LOGO
These sets have been available online for a few months now, but they should start appearing in stores over the next few weeks.

Advent Calendars

60063 City Advent Box 75056 Star Wars Advent Box 41040 Friends Advent Box

Christmas is still a while away, but the Advent Calendar sets will appear in stores this month. There are the standard line-up of three; City, Star Wars and Friends.

All three are also available online

The Tumbler

76023 The Tumbler Thumb

Now available online for non-VIP customers. http://shop.lego.com/en-AU/The-Tumbler-76023

 

 

On Sale: Catch of The Day LEGO Deals This Monday

Catch Of The Day LEGO September 2014

We don’t have a lot of information on this one but we wanted to share it before the sale kicks off.

This Monday (1st September 2014) from 12PM AEST Catch of The Day will be offering selected LEGO products on sale.

Catch of The Day sales can disappear pretty quickly if they are well priced. Be sure to check the prices before making any purchases. If the set is new and common you should be able to get it elsewhere for 20% at other times of the year. If the preview image is any indication, there could be some interesting items.

http://www.catchoftheday.com.au/

Update

The sale is now live, but the few good deals appear to have already been snapped up within the 90 minutes. Generally the sale is disappointing, with most sets under 15% off. When you add in postage those discounts are quickly made redundant.

Here are a few sets that may still be worth considering, as they have more than 25% discount.

The Millennium Falcon was also a good price, but has now sold out.

There are also the following older sets, which are listed as Retired on the Australian online store.

  • LEGO® Legends of Chima Cragger’s Command Ship $99.99
  • LEGO® Star Wars The Malevolence Set $159.00
  • LEGO® Ninjago Battle Storage Case $17.95
  • LEGO® Legends of Chima: Nest Dive $14.95
  • LEGO® Legends of Chima: Tower Target $14.95
  • LEGO® Summer Riding Camp $139.99

You can find those sets listed here http://www.catchoftheday.com.au/event/41107/

Massive 2015 Set Rumour Roundup

LEGO Logo

The LEGO world has been buzzing the last few days with a heap of information about next year’s line-up being leaked. The information comes via the Eurobricks LEGO forum, where some mysterious users have been sharing New Zealand prices for a huge list of sets.

New Zealand prices and Australian prices are usually reasonably close so while these lists won’t give us an exact guide to next year, it least gives us a sense of the size of each set.

There are definitely some interesting sets in the list. Check out the full breakdown below.

On Sale: $10 Off For Every $50 Spent At Myer

Myer logo

As part of their Myer One 10th Birthday celebrations Myer are offering $10 off for every $50 spent on toys.

This sale runs from Thursday 28th August 2014 until Saturday 30th and you will need to be a Myer One member to take advantage of the offer. If you aren’t already a member you can join online. If you have an iPhone or Android device you can download the Myer One app which can be scanned in store.

This sale is not quite as straight forward as a regular 20% off. The offer is for $10 off for every $50 you spend, so a $89 set would only go down to $79. To take full advantage of the sale you may want to try and spend a multiple of $50.

More information on the sale can be found here and information about joining Myer One, and the Myer One apps can be found at https://www.myerone.com.au/

Review: 75038 Jedi™ Interceptor

  • RRP: $39.99
  • Parts: 223 ($0.18 per part)
  • 1 Minifigure, 1 Droid

75038 Box

As I mentioned in my last Star Wars review, I don’t usually buy sets from this theme. I also said that I was a Star Wars fan, but this set certainly tested my Star Wars knowledge. I mistakenly assumed that it was based on something from the Clone Wars cartoon series, but after looking it up this is actually based on Episode III. I actually quite enjoyed episodes II and III so I am a little disapointed in myself for not recognising it.

First Impressions

Just from looking at the box you can tell that this is going to be a good play set. It’s got things to shoot at bad guys (or your siblings) and the overall design looks like something that is fun to swoosh around. That makes sense, because this set is not a difficult UCS model designed for display.

The Build

On opening up the box you will get three numbered bags and the sticker sheet. As a small set the sticker sheet is not packaged with cardboard, but luckily my sheet was not damaged at all. You will notice in the photos that I have not applied the stickers myself.

This is a sequential build, so let’s kick off with Bag 1. This is where you will find the new spring loaded missile firing parts. These aren’t your regular flick-fire missile; they actually shoot quite a good distance. Follow the rules in the instructions and never aim these things at faces.
Review_75038_03
We also get our only minifigure in bag 1 – A new version of Anakin Skywalker. The torso printing is quite detailed, and he comes with two different hand colours to represent Anakin’s robot arm. The head features a double sided face print with an angry expression and a happier one.

Review_75038_05Review_75038_04

By the end of bag 1 we have the bulk of the central cockpit area completed. There is still a canopy to attach, but that shows up later.

Review_75038_07

Bag 2 consists of the parts for the first of the wings. There were a few steps in this section where it can be difficult to distinguish correct placement of a part; there are a lot of overlapping flat plates  of similar colour and upside down assembly. It’s not difficult, but I found myself double checking the instructions more than I usually do for a small build.
Review_75038_09
Bag 2 ends with the wing being attached to the main body of the ship.
Review_75038_11

Bag 3 contains everybody’s favourite astromech droid – R2-D2. This is actually my first LEGO version of R2, and I was impressed with the printing. If the box is to be believed this is a new version for 2014.
Review_75038_13

With the mainly symetrical design of the ship, bag 3 is constructed in much the same way as bag 2. The main difference between the two wings is the cut-out for placing R2-D2.
Review_75038_16

The Final Verdict

I didn’t exactly have the highest expectations going in to this set. For me the Jedi Interceptor is not a classic Star Wars vehicle (such as the Millennium Falcon) and doesn’t hold a lot of appeal. Having said that, I actually quite like the finished model.
Review_75038_17

If you are looking for a display piece, then this set is probably not going to be at the top of your list. If what you are looking for is a fun set to fly around and shoot stuff with then this hits the mark.

I have the same gripe with this set as a I do with most Star Wars set, that being the higher price per part compared to other themes. As always, if you are interested in this set I would hold out for a sale.

So should you buy this set? This is a more difficult one to answer than our last review. That set was under $20 and was a classic ship recognisible to not only Star Wars fans. 75038 on the other hand is $39.99 set based on the prequal trilogy. If you like the idea of this set, then you will not be disappointed with the final product. If howerever you don’t particularly have any interest in it, then I don’t feel there is anything here that will bring you around.

Check out the full build gallery below