It was an impressive performance by Lego at this year’s International Toy Fair. For the 60 anniversary of the Lego brick, the company presented numerous new products. The colourful world of stone, however, was not able to hide the news of the decline in sales: Consumer Sales in Germany fell by a total of 2.6 percent in 2017, while the market share in Germany fell by 0.4 percentage points to 16.8 percent.

The reasons for this are complex. Lego Germany’s managing director Frédéric Lehmann told the news agency dpa that 2017 was not an easy year for the toy market as a whole and thus also for Lego. In comparison to 2016, toy suppliers would have had to struggle with a shorter Advent period, since Christmas Eve fell on the fourth Advent and thus one week had fallen away. In addition, Lego has grown exceptionally for ten years: “We were aware that this rapid growth is not endless,” says Lehmann.

Is the licensing business with Star Wars running out?

Experts see another reason in the licensing business: Lego focuses too heavily on the topic of Star Wars. The opinion of the market research institute Iconkids & Youth on the licensing products at the International Toy Fair is clear: “Licenses are omnipresent at the fair, but there is one dominant theme missing, so ”Star Wars” is only one of many.”. The managing partner of Iconkids Axel Dammler told Welt am Sonntag: “It has been a topic in the market for a long time. And at some point, licenses will run out too.” In addition, many of the Star Wars films are recommended for children from twelve years of age on. This is an age when young people would rather play with game consoles than with building blocks. According to Iconkids, the top licenses in Germany for toys are currently Minions, Ice Age and Tom&Jerry. Nevertheless, Lego continues to hold on to Star Wars. Accompanying the current film “Star Wars. The last “Jedi”, the company has released new kits - including spaceships, droids and entire sceneries.

Lego Star Wars

Lego will announce the exact sales figures for 2017 next month. In the first half of the year, the company had to accept a decline in sales of five percent and six percent in operating profit.

Lego wants to win customers with new Junior Sets, Duplo freight trains and Bugatti

In order to boost sales, Lego is therefore relying on a firework of new products in the next few months. Our aim is to inspire millions of children every year, and in 2018 we will also have many exciting new products in our range,” says Frédéric Lehmann on the occasion of the International Toy Fair. On the one hand, there are seven new Lego Junior sets that are designed to give children from the age of four an age-appropriate introduction to the Lego world. Among them are successful Lego themes such as Ninjago (Zane’s chase with the ninja boat), Batman (the Joker and the Batcave), Lego City (mountain police on chase) and Lego Friends (Mia’s Bio Foodtruck). There will also be news regarding the release of Jurassic World 2 in May.  In addition, a new edition of the Lego Duplo freight train will be launched in August. The locomotive has a patented Push&Go engine, function blocks ensure that the train changes direction, stops, whistles or that the light turns on and off.

Lego Junior

On the occasion of the International Toy Fair, Lego also announced its cooperation with Bugatti: A 1/8th scale Lego Technic model of the celebrated super sports car Chiron will be created - the second set from the LEGO Technic Ultimate series. Niels Henrik Horsted, Lego Technic Marketing Director: “After the success of the Lego Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS model, it was very important for us to find a partner with an iconic vehicle that is unique in the automotive industry. That’s exactly what we achieved with Bugatti and the groundbreaking Chiron.”

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Image: Lego