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#2383 DISCUSSION: Is LEGO Too Expensive? 

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Have you ever felt like your LEGO hobby was getting too expensive? Sure you have! Today, we take a look at the data and compare some similar hobbies to find out if LEGO is really too expensive for a building toy. Read on to find out more!

Tips&Bricks #2383 DISCUSSION: Is LEGO Too Expensive? Collecting LEGO is a great hobby, but some may question whether it is a good financial decision or whether it is too expensive. Image of an astonished LEGO minifigure submerged in a pile of LEGO currency. Is the LEGO hobby becoming unaffordable? Swipe to find out! *Quotes in red circles are thoughts shared by the Tips & Bricks team.

The LEGO Hobby What is a hobby?   “an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure.”  Oxford Languages Some people may question the idea of investing time, money, and energy into a hobby that revolves around what is commonly known as a child’s toy; but as many of us are aware, LEGO has a lot of potential and can be so much more. Image of LEGO minifigures carrying purchases out of a LEGO shop. “When it comes to hobbies, most people will already spend around $200 a month or more* on them—they are things that most people see as necessary spending.” The Most Expensive Hobbies In The World, 55% agree that inflation is making their hobbies less accessible to them. Image of a minifigure carrying shopping bags with a blissful expression. Do you spend over $200 a month on your LEGO hobby? Image of a shopping cart with LEGO bricks in it. In red circle: “It can seem expensive mainly because there is always something new; LEGO announces new products every month.“ –ZJ * all values in United States Dollars

Similar Hobbies These hobbies are very similar to LEGO. The idea behind these hobbies is building up something—an image, an army, a model landscape, and feature a collection of figures that can be used to act out various scenarios. Model Trains The cost range for entry-level train sets can range from $50 to $150, depending on the size and quality of the set. Image of a black model train locomotive engine.  Jigsaw Puzzles Just like LEGO, jigsaw puzzles range in price based on physical size, material, and complexity. Stave Puzzles’ 800 piece wooden jigsaw “Knight At Stavely Castle” retails for $8495 (costing approximately $10.50 per piece). Image of a pile of multicolored jigsaw puzzle pieces. Warhammer The Warhammer 40k Introductory set costs $65 and “is intended to get new hobbyists started and it really is a complete package, with everything they need.” The Warhammer 40k Starter set provides two small armies and costs $110. Like Warhammer, LEGO also has “a much higher ‘basic fun’ cost to enter, but once you buy those, you can have fun for literally decades”. Image of the Warhammer Starter Set box and playing mat. Some hobbies, like miniature scale modeling (e.g. dollhouses), have a whole list of tools and accessories (like cutters, glues, etc.) that add one-off or infrequent additional costs.

Is LEGO More Expensive? Average set price* 2020 - $51.54 2021 - $52.77 2022 - $64.46 2023 - $61.53 The current average price per part of LEGO is $0.10. The most expensive LEGO set is 75192 Star Wars UCS Millennium Falcon, with a current retail price of $849.99! Image of set 75192 Original Price* 497 Galaxy Explorer from 1979 would sell for $137.67 for 338 pieces ($0.43 price per part) Remake Price 10497 Galaxy Explorer from 2022 sold for $99.99 for 1254 pieces ($0.08 price per part) Original Price* 6384 Police Station from 1983 would sell for $109.72 for 389 pieces ($0.28 price per part) Remake Price 60316 Police Station from 2022 sold for $69.99 for 668 pieces ($0.10 price per part) Original Price* 6080 King’s Castle from 1984 would sell for $158.57 for 664 pieces ($0.24 price per part) Remake Price 70404 King’s Castle from 2013 sold for $99.99 for 996 pieces ($0.10 price per part) Images of LEGO box art for all the above sets. *adjusted for inflation for 2024, using the average Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Factors Affecting LEGO Pricing LEGO has a very high brand recognition / brand awareness and can be subject to value-based pricing.  However, while prices may be based on what consumers believe a set will be worth, looking at the previous comparisons, price per part for sets has drastically reduced when adjusted for inflation.   Image of minifigure heads being assembled by an employee at a LEGO factory.  Inflation and cost of living increases Increases in energy and oil prices, employee wages and benefits can affect product pricing. Giving back  LEGO participates in many educational and charity partnerships globally to fulfill its corporate social responsibility pledges. Licensing of branded themes  Being able to produce Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and other IPs costs licensing fees.Image of a LEGO minifigure wearing a business suit holding LEGO currency.

Producing quality products Using high quality moulds and machinery for producing bricks, as well as the quality and variety of plastic materials used. Research and development LEGO looks at sustainability, environmental impact, longevity of products [original bricks can be used alongside new bricks], as well as continually creating new and better bricks. Image of a lab technician examining a LEGO brick through a microscope. Development of unique LEGO sets  LEGO develops its own concepts and does not pass off sets designed by others. Images of Friends Space Rover and DreamZzz Mech. In red circle: “It's not more expensive than it should be. It's a high quality product.” –Evo

Other Factors Where you purchase LEGO from The price can differ (whether there is a markup/markdown) on sets not sold directly by LEGO. They recommend a retail price, but what you pay is up to individual retailers. Image of LEGO minifigure holding LEGO currency outside the Brick Bank modular set. Buying new or used, loose parts or complete sets  How you buy LEGO can also influence the price (for example, purchasing from eBay, Bricklink, etc.) “Often, to progress in the skill level of your hobby, you need newer and better materials, classes, and space to do it.” Image of a LEGO minifigure with overalls holding LEGO currency. In red circle: “Botanicals are a great example about how the hobby can be expensive or inexpensive. The black-box, ‘official’ botanicals are relatively expensive for some, but if those are out of your price range, there are plenty of regular floral sets that are quite nice and have their own interesting build techniques and NPU.” –Rob Image of the Bouquet of Flowers LEGO Botanicals set.

Surviving a LEGO Hobby Create a budget and plan Think about how much you can/want to spend each month on your hobby. If you do not spend it all, put it in a savings towards purchasing larger sets. Image of a LEGO minifigure on their laptop in a white room with a clock on the wall, surrounded by LEGO currency. Remember that LEGO is an investment Many sets, minifigures, and parts increase in value over time, especially if retired and/or limited edition. Image of LEGO Batman wearing green pajamas with a money pattern and holding LEGO currency.  “The market for secondhand LEGO rises in value by 11% annually, which is a faster and better rate of return than gold, stocks, bonds, stamps and wine.” Image of a LEGO minifigure putting LEGO currency into a safe in the Brick Bank. In red circle: “I’ve often had to choose not to purchase sets because they aren’t in our family budget. It’s not abnormal to me, as I never got large sets as a kid either, so it’s natural for me not to be able to indulge in that way. I don’t think the hobby is too expensive. Nearly all hobbies cost money, and some are expensive!” –Clay

Promotes mental health LEGO is often used for relaxation, and the repetitive act of building can be meditative. Image of LEGO Tranquil Garden set. Skill development Building can be good for fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and problem solving, particularly for developing children.  Social aspect It can be incredibly fun to build with family/friends, a LUG, or the online community! Image of a family playing with LEGO. If negatives like financial anxiety begin to outweigh the positives, then reassess if LEGO is the right hobby for you. Image of a LEGO minifigure calmly loading a laundry machine with LEGO currency.

Recommendations Time to evaluate! Are the benefits of engaging with LEGO as a hobby worth it to you? If so, create a forward plan or budget, taking into consideration not only how much you can save and spend on LEGO each month, but also consider your time and enjoyment. As much as we would like to build 24/7, it’s also important to maximize our pleasure whenever we do get time to build. Image of a pile of LEGO currency The LEGO High Price Myth Debunked How to Buy LEGO on a $100 Budget Why is LEGO So Expensive LEGO: The Toy of Smart Investors Do you think that LEGO is an expensive hobby? Let us know in the comments below!

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