LEGO: A Look at Pricing, or Why Does LEGO Junior Cost So Much?

I will try to keep this as rant-free as possible, but no promises.

This post will take a look at Lego pricing, specifically for the DC Comics lines (“boy-targeted” and “girl-targeted”) and the Lego Junior sets.

And, it was prompted by a comment left on the DC Super Hero High School (41232) set and from my browsing LEGO aisles at Target recently. super-hero-high-school

 

And here is the reviewer’s comment: “Sure, a nice set for the girls in your life, but an $80.00 price point? Absolutely ridiculous! Lego is obviously price gouging now and it’s just sad.”

And my browsing at Target had me looking at all of the LEGO sets closely. And, I’ve always been one that breaks items down price-wise (e.g., cost per oz or cost per lb). So, I tend to compare LEGO sets from a $/piece basis. This is never the overriding reason for buying, or not buying, a set; but I still also check to see what “value” there is in a set.

For the most part, sets tend to hold in a rather right range. But, I began noticing the LEGO juniors line is priced noticeably higher.

Here is a chart with many of the current LEGO Juniors sets (I have excluded Junior sets with a suitcase which can make comparisons difficult since the suitcase adds extra value):

LEGO Junior Sets
Pieces
MSRP
Cents/Piece

Andrea & Stephanie's Beach Holiday
143
$29.99
21 cents

Emma's Ice Cream Truck
136
$19.99
14.7 cents

Stephanie's Horse Carriage
58
$12.99
22.4 cents

Mia's Vet Clinic
173
$29.99
17.3 cents

Cinderella's Carriage
116
$24.99
21.5 cents

Batman & Superman vs Lex Luthor
164
$19.99
12.2 cents

Batman vs. Mr. Freeze
63
$14.99
23.8 cents

Police Helicopter Chase
63
$9.99
15.9 cents

Police Truck Chase
90
$19.99
22.2 cents

Demolition Site
175
$29.99
17.1 cents

As you can see, their price ranges from 12.2 cents to 23.8 cents. That is quite the range!

And most of them reside well above 12.2 cents!

Interestingly, both the minimum and maximum prices are for licensed products (i.e., DC properties vs. LEGO-created properties). All of the listed sets average 19.1 cents per piece.

Compare that to…

Non-Junior Lego Sets
Pieces
MSRP
Cents/Piece

DC Super Hero Girls


Harley Quinn to the rescue
217
$29.99
13.8 cents

Super Hero High School
712
$79.99
11.2 cents

Lashina Tank
145
$14.99
10.3 cents

DC Comics Superheroes


Clash of the Heroes
91
$12.99
14.3 cents

Heroes of Justice: Sky High Battle
517
$59.99
11.6 cents

Batman: Killer Croc Sewer Smash
759
$79.99
10.5 cents

Disney Princess


Belle's Enchanted Castle
374
$49.99
13.4 cents

Cinderella's Romantic Castle
646
$69.99
10.8 cents

Other


Great Vehicles Buggy
81
$9.99
12.3 cents

Millennium Falcon
1329
$149.99
11.3 cents

The range on these sets is 10.5 cents to 14.3 cents.

I’m not going to bore you with all of the math, but you can take a quick look through the table above and note a few things:

  • There is not a significant difference between the “girl” sets and the “boy” sets (note: I personally detest the designation and may make it the subject of a future post) on a pure $/piece basis
  • However, if you attribute additional value to the minifigures/mini-dolls, then the “boy” sets do average more value than the “girl” sets.
  • I’ll leave it up to each reader to decide if LEGO is charging too much for there bricks. That said, I enjoy LEGO and think they’re an awesome toy to spark creativity

No matter how you slice it, the “girl” and “boy” sets are not drastically different, even with the point above.

HOWEVER….

Please pay attention to the difference between the Junior and the non-Junior sets.

12 out of the 13 Junior sets are more per piece than every set listed in the non-Junior table.

WHY IS THIS THE CASE?

The best I have come up with is that they seem to include a lot of specialty pieces. Pieces that children can interact with more than just building (e.g., a set a bought over the weekend included money, food, and a basket).

On their Juniors page, LEGO talks about the inclusion of “shop wall or car chassis” that enables easier building. These are specialty pieces that are not as mass-produced like many LEGO pieces.

That is a plausible reason, but why then can we not also have sets comparable to the non-Junior sets listed above at comparable prices?

Myself, and other parents I presume, would like to be able to purchase easy-to-build LEGO sets for their children; but at comparable unit prices.

And besides, it’d be easier to justify getting them hooked early!

About Brian 55 Articles
Brian is an engineer, librarian, and general STEM enthusiast who hopes his daughter one day conquers the world. Even if it is just one of her own creation.

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