December 8, 2023

What’s LEGO Going to Cost You? (January 2017 Edition)

Disclaimers: Please keep in mind that this analysis of the Canadian LEGO catalogue is a work of sheer amusement and should not be considered a definitive representation of trends in LEGO pricing. At best, it gives a rough idea. Also, since my last catalogue review, it has come to my attention that the Canadian LEGO catalogues are not the same as the American ones in more ways than just pricing. So, keep in mind that this analysis has been completed with the Canadian catalogue. 

With the new year mere hours a way, today’s post will look at the cost of LEGO in 2017. I received the new LEGO catalogue for January 2017 not too long ago. I have spent a couple of nights now pouring over it and analyzing the data presented inside, much like I did with the last couple of catalogues. This was a big one compared to the Holiday 2016 Catalogue (click here to read about it). While about 66 sets were advertised in the Holiday catalogue, the January 2017 catalogue showcases 131. The break down showing the representation of each theme in the catalogue can be seen in Figure 1. DC Comics sets collectively take up the brunt of the catalogue (which is awesome for a DC fan like myself). But, individually, Friends and Creator are the largest themes.

Figure 1: LEGO theme representation in the January 2017 catalogue based on the number of sets advertised in each theme. Friends and Creator received the greatest individual coverage, however if you add the Batman Movie, DC Super Heroes, and DC Super Hero Girls together, DC Comics is the big winner.

Cost is a big factor for most LEGO collectors, so it is interesting to keep an eye on the trends shown in the catalogues. One thing of note when looking at this catalogue and comparing it to the Holiday 2016 catalogue is that average price per set has actually gone down. This is probably the result of LEGO advertising more small sets this time around, like all of the new Mighty Micros and Friends animal sets. Figure 2 shows the average cost of one set in each theme. The overall average for the whole catalogue is $81.33 per set. In the Holiday catalogue, that number was $129.43. Clearly, LEGO was advertising more of their heavy hitters to gear up for Christmas.

Figure 2: The average cost of a LEGO set divided by theme in the January 2017 catalogue.

Probably a better indication of trends in LEGO pricing is not the average price of a set, but the average price of a brick. I noted in the Holiday catalogue review that LEGO had gotten more expensive in this regard as compared to the Summer 2016 catalogue. I was eager to see if that was a fluke of advertising, or if LEGO was actually increasing in cost. Interestingly, this time around, the average cost per brick has gone up again. It was $0.11 in the Summer 2016 catalogue, $0.12 in the Holiday catalogue, and is now $0.13 in the January 2017 catalogue. Figure 3 shows the average cost per brick by theme. Much like in previous catalogues, the Classic theme remains the cheapest way to get a lot of bricks. Creator is your next best bet, but that is really more in terms of the large modular buildings than the theme itself. City remains the most expensive theme, having gone up by a whole two cents since the Holiday catalogue.

Figure 3: The average cost of a LEGO brick by theme in the January 2016 catalogue. The Classic theme is the cheapest. It is followed by Creator, thanks mostly to the bulk-buying nature of the large modular buildings.

To me, Minifigures are one of the major selling points of a set. I love my Minifigs. Figure 4 takes a look at the average number of Minifigures included in a LEGO set in the January 2017 catalogue. The overall average here does not include all themes since some sets are deliberately designed without Minifigures in mind. Those sets have been excluded from this analysis since they are not meant to have Minifigures to begin with. Ghostbusters and Star Wars are the clear winners. But, the Ghostbusters theme is based on only two sets, whereas Star Wars is based on eleven. They were the winners in the Holiday catalogue as well. Three Minifigs per set is average, which is down from five in the Holiday catalogue.

Figure 4: The average number of Minifigures per set by theme.

In my reviews, I like to discuss the brick to Minifigure ratio. The average number of Minifigures per set is fine, but sets come in all different sizes. So, how do you know if getting eight Minifigures is actually a good deal? Figure 5 looks at just that. The lower this number is, the better. People always rave about the number of Minifigs you get in a large modular building, but in reality, you are not getting that many for the size of the set. City sets, and the Super Heroes themes give you the most Minifigures when compared to set size in this catalogue.

Figure 5: The brick to Minifigure ratio of LEGO themes in the January 2017 catalogue. This compares the number of Minifigures that you get based on set size by theme. The lower the number, the more Minifigures you are generally getting as compared to the number of bricks that you buy.

That concludes my analysis of the January 2017 catalogue. Again, I have noticed an increase in the average price of one LEGO brick. Let’s see if it happens again or stays stable with the next catalogue.

Happy New Year!!!