An interesting article was released at the 2012 New York Toy Fair by The LEGO Systems, Inc. Basically, it describes LEGO's year-end highlights and illustrates LEGO's continued growth in the U.S. Toy Market. Let's take a look...
LEGO Systems Builds on Year-Over-Year U.S. Sales Growth 80 years of innovation and brand development make the LEGO brick one of today's most relevant and sought-after toys for the playroom
NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL TOY FAIR -- LEGO Systems, Inc., the American division of the world's leading construction toy brand, achieved year-on-year, double-digit U.S. sales growth in 2011, reaching record levels in consumer sales and market share in 2011.
2011 LEGO Systems U.S. Year-end Highlights (source: The NPD Group U.S. Consumer Panel)
- Recorded seventh consecutive year of growth in the U.S.
- Grew U.S. consumer sales +22% to reach $1.33 billion.
- Increased U.S. total toy market share to 6.2%, up 1.2 share points over 2010, to solidify position as #3 toy manufacturer in America. The company's share of the total U.S. toy market has tripled in five years.
- Accounted for 80% of Building Sets category sales in the U.S. in a year of increased category competition.
- Solidified rank as America's #1 preschool construction brand, adding +11 share points to reach 43.5% of the segment
- Responsible for 25% of all toys sold to American boys ages 9-11 in 2011 and 20% of all U.S. toys sold to boys ages 6-8.
- Placed 9 LEGO properties in the top 100 of all traditional toys in the U.S.
"Achieving another year of record growth in the U.S. is exciting and reflects our continuing strategy to deliver a wide range of products for builders of all ages and interests," said Soren Torp Laursen, president, LEGO Systems. "Our sales growth last year stems from a reinforced core business of building sets, now complemented by expanded offerings to reach new children and a 360-degree brand experience that bridges physical and virtual play worlds to engage children's imagination and compel them to keep building."
In 2011, sales of LEGO CITY, LEGO Star Wars™ and the company's homegrown property LEGO NINJAGO alone accounted for 36% of the overall Building Set category. An expanded and diversified LEGO DUPLO collection drove strong gains in preschool construction. The company's classic CREATOR line of 3-in-1 models also ranked among the top 2011 selling lines in the U.S., signaling that demand is also strong for traditional, non-themed building sets.
"A 23 percent increase in the building sets category last year, relative to a majority of toy categories in decline, may very well be attributed to our continuing strategy to drive relevance for construction play through a broad, yet deep, collection of building sets to inspire creative play in all children of any age, building skill or interest," Laursen said.
The company's expansion strategy, fueled by its reinforced core business and the discipline of inventing the future of play through only building experiences, has merged the core appeal of play patterns from toy categories including Preschool, Action Figures, Board Games, Vehicles and Youth Electronics, Collectibles and Girls' Activity Playsets, as well as leveraging the popularity of video games to draw new users into building. Last year, the company recruited nearly four million new builders to LEGO building with its playsets and another one million new users to the LEGO brand through its video games.
"As a single-brand toy company, we see ourselves in the business of play, not only toys, and we play a different game from most in the toy industry as it relates to innovation and growth," said Laursen. "We are leveraging the versatility of our play material to make Building Sets a home for many kind of play to change the way that children buy and engage with toys. By adapting play patterns outside of our category to construction play, we have the ability to deliver an authentic LEGO building experience for children who may not initially be drawn to construction."
LEGO Systems introduces its largest, most versatile collection of build-and-play toys ever–more than 200 new products for children of all ages–at the American International Toy Fair this week in New York City. Building on a strong core business of evergreen favorites like LEGO CITY and LEGO Star Wars are new themes such as LEGO Friends, DINO and Monster Fighters; lines inspired by DC Universe and Marvel Super Heroes, the LORD OF THE RINGS™ film trilogy, and THE HOBBIT™; and new DUPLO preschool products designed specifically for the U.S., making the potential for continued growth very strong.
"Our recent year-on-year growth trend and our early reads already this year have us bullish about our ability to further develop the LEGO business in the U.S. in 2012," Laursen said. "We will continue to apply the LEGO idea to relevant play patterns from other categories to draw new children into Building Sets while staying 100% true to the core DNA of LEGO play and the 360-degree experience that sets the LEGO brand apart."
New LEGO products launched in January. Additional launches are planned in March, May, June, August and November.
About LEGO Systems, Inc.
LEGO Systems, Inc. is the North American division of The LEGO Group, a privately-held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, one of the world's leading manufacturers of creatively educational play materials for children. The company is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough." Visit the virtual LEGO world at www.LEGO.com
LEGO, the LEGO logo and DUPLO are trademarks of the LEGO Group. © 2012 The LEGO Group.
DC Universe and all related characters are elements or trademarks of and © DC Comics.
TM and © 2012 Marvel and Subs. © New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and the names of the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. (s11)
© 2011 New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and the names of the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. (s11)
© 2012 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved.
From a Lego collector/investor's standpoint, this is all excellent news. LEGO continues to grow in the U.S. Toy Market and take up market shares from other toy companies. LEGO is building a strong foundation with young children with its DUPLO Building Sets and is very strong with boys, ages 6-11. All this is fantastic for the future of LEGO and potential AFOLs(Adult Fans Of Lego). Often, a child fan of LEGO Bricks ends up being an adult fan of LEGO Bricks and passes their love for these little plastic bricks to their children. The celebrated history and first rate quality of LEGO sets gives the LEGO collector and investor the assurance they need to invest some serious money into a 'toy.'
The seven basic bullet points of the article also illustrated to me that the 'secondary' LEGO sales market, such as EBAY sales, will remain strong into the future in my opinion. The children builders of today will be the AFOLs of tomorrow and the AFOLs drive the secondary LEGO Market. The LEGO brands continuing investment in movie and comic book themes will keep the sets fresh and creative. The positive and steady growth of the LEGO brand here in the U.S. for the past 7 years and across the world only gives AFOLs more confidence in collecting and investing in LEGO bricks, instead of other investment vehicles.
What I thought was most interesting to a LEGO collector and investor like myself was the fact that the some of the best selling sets of the past year were non-themed sets, like the Creator '3 in 1' sets and basic Duplo building sets. The LEGO collector and investor needs to pay attention to these under the radar sets. Obviously, there is quite an interest from buying public in these basic building sets and maybe it's time to start adding a few Creator sets to our collections, instead of collecting every Star Wars set imaginable. So, all in all, with the continued growth and success of LEGO Systems, Inc. and the continued influx of new fans and LEGO consumers, the future of LEGO collecting and investing looks promising.