A Canadian Traveler’s Guide to Buying LEGO – Part I
This year, my wife and I are having a stay-cation. We’ve planned a couple of little trips all within driving distance, but no big adventures this year. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t dream, right? This week, I have planned a series of posts for those of you who are traveling, or live elsewhere in the world. We all pick travel destinations based on the LEGO sets we can buy there, right? Well, probably not really. Though, I would imagine that being able to get rare or cheaper sets at your chosen destination would be a plus. Hence this week’s Canadian Traveler’s Guide to Buying LEGO!
This article actually came about as I was budgeting my LEGO City Jungle Exploration purchases. I love big cats, so owning the LEGO versions is a big deal for me. My first degree was also in wildlife biology, and I spent a year studying lions in Africa about a decade ago. So, this jungle theme really is right up my alley. Tigers are my all time favorite of the big cats. Finding out that LEGO was finally making a tiger figurine made my year. Can you imagine my dismay when I began budgeting and found out that the Jungle Air Drop Helicopter (60162 – the set that the tiger comes in) is not being released in North America? Browsing the LEGO Store’s international sites showed me that it is available in every country except Canada and the United States.
My disappointment also lead to another discovery; the Jungle Air Drop Helicopter is a different price in pretty much every single country where it is sold. This lead me to look up other sets, which got me thinking about where would be the best place to currently buy LEGO as a Canadian abroad? I was born in Finland, and still have family there. Would that be a good option? I ended up looking up the cost of all of the Jungle subtheme sets in every country (that has a LEGO Store shop at home option) in order to figure out exactly where the Canadian dollar would go the farthest. It has also given me a relative idea of the cost of LEGO around the world as compared to Canada.
Today, on the first day of this series of blog posts, I will look at the overall average cost of a set from the LEGO City Jungle subtheme in all of the countries where you can order LEGO online. I have left out Luxembourg and the Netherlands from my charts, because the price of all of the sets is the same in those countries as in Belgium, which I have included. Similarly, I left out Austria because all of the sets were the same price as in Germany, and I also excluded Italy since all of the sets cost the same as in Ireland. Finally, I did not include South Korea in my average calculations because they only offer the most expensive sets in the theme, which would largely skew their average. The average cost of a set was based on the Jungle Exploration Site, Mobile Lab, Halftrack Mission, Cargo Helicopter, and Starter Set, since these were sets that all countries (except South Korea) offered. To make all of the sets comparable, I converted each country’s currency into Canadian dollars using the exchange rate on July 5, 2017. Keep in mind, this a rough estimate done primarily for my own amusement.The bar graph above lists the countries that I looked at in alphabetical order. Finding the average of those averages gives a value of $65.34. That is approximately the average cost of any Jungle set around the world. Now, remember, this is only based on LEGO’s own shop at home option, and does not include other retailers, or all of the other countries that sell LEGO through other channels. Based on that number, Canada is not so bad. It is a little cheaper than average to buy LEGO right here at home. Where will the Canadian dollar get you the most for your loonies? If you are traveling to the UK this summer, on average, these LEGO sets are cheaper. Sorry to those of you hitting Norway this summer, you are better off not buying any LEGO souvenirs. Similarly, since many Canadian travel through the United States, you are better off buying your LEGO at home. It is currently cheaper here with the exchange rate.
Based on the average cost of a set in the City Jungle subtheme, these are the countries from best to worst for buying LEGO (rounded to the nearest dollar):
- United Kingdom ($58 CAD)
- Australia ($61 CAD)
- Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, & Italy ($62 CAD)
- Canada ($63 CAD)
- United States ($65 CAD)
- Czech Republic ($66 CAD)
- Switzerland ($67 CAD)
- New Zealand ($68 CAD)
- Hungary ($69 CAD)
- Sweden ($70 CAD)
- Denmark, Finland ($74 CAD)
- Norway ($75 CAD)
Interestingly, most of Europe has the same average cost for these sets. However, Scandinavia and Finland are more expensive than the rest (and no, Finland is not part of Scandinavia; the correct term for the inclusion of Finland is Fennoscandia because Finns do not share the same ethno-linguistic background as Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes.) I was also a little surprized at how low Denmark is on the list. LEGO is Danish! I suppose most of it is not made in Denmark anymore though.
Are you visiting a foreign nation this summer? Planning on buying LEGO there? I would love to hear about your adventures in the comments below. If you live in one of the countries mentioned above, or anywhere else, I would also love to hear your thoughts on the cost of LEGO where you live.
Tomorrow, I will look at the cost of the Air Drop Helicopter set (that I can’t get) in different countries. Until then!