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Is anyone experiencing a lackluster sales season?

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Long time sellers who keep records certainly knew (a couple years back), as the metrics started to go south.

 

On the bright side, I think the worst is over - as it seems that there are many LEGO investors getting out, as others are getting in.

 

It seems like there are still more sellers getting in than out

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Long time sellers who keep records certainly knew (a couple years back), as the metrics started to go south.

 

On the bright side, I think the worst is over - as it seems that there are many LEGO investors getting out, as others are getting in.

 

I hope that you're right, but I think that things are going to continue getting more challenging as the years go by.  As the overall base of capital spent on Lego for resale on the secondary market increases and as more resellers bet more money on more sets, the more saturated that market will be and the more difficult it will be to find sets with runaway secondary market prices.  On some of my listings this year, I'm competing with sellers who have 500-600 copies of the set to sell.  Needless to say, those aren't runaway winners.  

 

And for those of you who think that this dynamic only applies to those of us who sell cheaper sets within a year of EOL and, consequently, doesn't apply to those who are stocking up on the large exclusives to sell 3-5 years down the road, I can say with great certainty that it will work its way up to your level on the food chain before long.  Just looking at my own inventory, I am holding on to 10x the number of exclusive sets that I was two years ago and I'm not all that big of a reseller...I can't imagine how many more the real big dogs are holding onto now than they were in previous years.

Edited by Pacific493
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I don't think that the majority of the noobs on this site are the problem. I am seeing sellers with competing products that are selling them at MSRP, and I am scratching my head wondering how they can afford to do that. There are more lego sellers if you include me, but considering that I am in strictly buying mode this year (excluding a handfull of quick flips), I'm not sure you can blame the new investors. It's those that are getting acces to lego sets in bulk in questionable ways that are to blame.

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Yes, all that Pacific said. It will be many years before margins start to go back up as a whole. Sure, anyone selling for a few years has some stuff that is less stockpiled, but that's going to run out eventually. Then, we'll all be sitting around trying to unload our piles of the same sets. And as stated, the large exclusives won't be immune. As everyone is encouraged to focus on those instead, everyone will be sitting on stacks of those. Those big sellers on Amazon aren't just stocking up on 600 Advent calendars for flipping.

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I had one in my hand at Wal-Mart at lunch.  It scanned $39.99 and I gently set it down.  I did check out another $29 Black Gate.  I'm not sure why I keep buying these things?

 

Because the minifigs are still bad@$$ and it's 50% off MSRP.

 

Who knows how long it will take but this WILL be profitable!

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If you really want to just move stuff, then list it as an auction starting at 0.01 and let the market figure it out. 

 

And sometimes those auctions surprise. I've had tons of stuff go for more than BIN prices from other sellers when listed as a low-entry auction. I think buyers have the perception they're getting an awesome deal and get hooked on the ride.

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Amazon is "God" in our business. eBay prices generally follow regardless of their lack of connection. The fact that Amazon didn't blow out any stock this year hurt the QFLL. Last year by Dec 2nd I'd rekon 40% of the most popular sets were out of stock. This year by the 9th I'd rekon that number is 20% or lower. (It's a subjective # obviously)

 

Bottom line is: If Amazon has it in stock your probably not going to make money unless you bought in for 30%+ off, regardless of the number of sellers in the market. Any item Amazon and Quidsi are OOS on I haven't had any problem making money. Batcave, OH, X-Wing etc all rose extremely fast after being OOS, IMO the competition is being greatly overblown, Amazon and the other retailers are our competition, the other individuals are small fish in a very large lake.    

 

EDIT: For retired sets, yes competition from others hurts. Sorry, should have clarified I was talking about flipping more than anything else. Even last year retired sets took a dive during december, I remember a post about it, I've had better luck moving retired sets in the fall and spring. 

Edited by Dbroncoboy
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No complaints from me so far but all my sales have been for below MSRP items that Amazon were out of stock on and that I could sell cheaper than Lego Shop or reasonably priced and rare EOL items from less popular themes.

 

I am not even bothering to advertise my main EOL modulars or any older SW stuff as I feel that they will do better next year or the following one. 

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Amazon is "God" in our business. eBay prices generally follow regardless of their lack of connection. The fact that Amazon didn't blow out any stock this year hurt the QFLL. Last year by Dec 2nd I'd rekon 40% of the most popular sets were out of stock. This year by the 9th I'd rekon that number is 20% or lower. (It's a subjective # obviously)

 

 

 

It also seems like last year there were more sets about to go EOL that had sold out at Amazon by this point in the x-mas season.  I was looking back and it was right around this time last year that I listed the copies of 6868 and 3065 that I had at the time so they had already sold out and had time to have a nice enough price bump for me to throw mine into the mix.  None of the sets that I'm holding on to right now are anywhere close to following that pattern.  

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Amazon is "God" in our business. eBay prices generally follow regardless of their lack of connection. The fact that Amazon didn't blow out any stock this year hurt the QFLL. Last year by Dec 2nd I'd rekon 40% of the most popular sets were out of stock. This year by the 9th I'd rekon that number is 20% or lower. (It's a subjective # obviously)

 

Bottom line is: If Amazon has it in stock your probably not going to make money unless you bought in for 30%+ off, regardless of the number of sellers in the market. Any item Amazon and Quidsi are OOS on I haven't had any problem making money. Batcave, OH, X-Wing etc all rose extremely fast after being OOS, IMO the competition is being greatly overblown, Amazon and the other retailers are our competition, the other individuals are small fish in a very large lake.    

 

EDIT: For retired sets, yes competition from others hurts. Sorry, should have clarified I was talking about flipping more than anything else. Even last year retired sets took a dive during december, I remember a post about it, I've had better luck moving retired sets in the fall and spring. 

I agree with this...yes more competition for sure but from reading some of the posts on here it is apparent there are a lot of people expecting to flip for 50-100% gains on a lot of sets and I just don't feel that's the norm...so my guess is they will be hesitant to stay in the game at their current buy level. I'm convinced that the amount of people who enter this market who have both the $$ and the ability to know which sets will be good flips is still limited.  That said, do I think that the Castle is a little disappointing but I'm in them for $50ish so to me, it's an easy x2-x3 after it retires. 

 

Then there is a set like the tumbler and that one is clearly hurt by the additional resellers and I have no doubt that this set last year would have fetched $350 by now but everyone and their brother is happy to make $20 on it.

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And sometimes those auctions surprise. I've had tons of stuff go for more than BIN prices from other sellers when listed as a low-entry auction. I think buyers have the perception they're getting an awesome deal and get hooked on the ride.

 

I've had some of my $1 start auctions go for $15+ more than a BIN I had listed at the same time, for the same exact item.  Thought the low starting bid strategy was a good plan, until I had a few that ended up much lower, the following day.  eBay buyers are impossible to figure out.

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On the bright side, I think the worst is over - as it seems that there are many LEGO investors getting out, as others are getting in.

Really?  I respectfully disagree.  I think there are way more investors coming in then getting out.  Be careful, I do believe a lot of investors are going to be disappointed going forward.  A simple supply/demand in play. Tons of supply vs. arguably a slightly higher demand = lower prices.

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The current EOL set market is dealing with being a victim of its own success. For any old timers or middle-aged timers even, the exact reason you (we) enjoyed the profits we did is why a lot more people are in the game now.  Without those profits, we wouldn't be in this situation. How many people checked out eBay and saw a retired set's selling price and thought "Wow, I have to do more research into this....had no idea LEGO sets could be this valuable" That's exactly how I started, just so happened to see what a Cafe Corner was going for. That was before the days of BP too which has been a primer for any new investors to help avoid a lot of those early growing pains and has helped accelerate the field of competition. Not complaining about it though, I enjoy being part of this site.

 

Historically, any industry that has a low barrier for entry is going to have to face heavy competition the older that industry gets. Let's face it, it doesn't take a scientist to buy and sell LEGO, just money, space and a decent work ethic if you want to have some success...we didn't have to go to school for 10 years to try and cure cancer, we're just reselling plastic.The barrier for this industry is fairly low.

 

Now, that's not the end of the world, just a shifting of expectations. It will reach a point where the curve tops out and you won't have all these new sellers coming in. Unfortunately, this is also tied to profits, but this time it's because the easy money is gone and its not attractive to people outside looking in. You also will have some people leave for greener (true or perceived) pastures.

 

I guess the only question is if we are near that point of "topping out". I would say with all these really nice exclusives just retiring, that this business will still be getting a lot of curious new eyes looking into it in the next few years,  so there is going to be a good amount of competition still coming in keeping the Plastic Rush alive.

 

Enjoy the profits that are still there in these middle years of growth, just keep expectations in check.

Edited by LegoManiacc
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In a few more days I am just going to start dumping stuff to at least make my cost back after fees and be done with xmas flips

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If anyone cares about my 2 cents as I guess what I would refer to as a "midsized" seller: 

 

The best thing I can say about my sales this year is basically I am selling at exactly the pace and profit I expected, which is about the best thing someone running a "business" can say. I don't really do any flipping (or very very little), so I can't speak for that market.

 

The only set that really comes to mind in terms of disappointment is 6868 Hulk's Heli. I know they made a new Hulk set, but this thing was selling for $110ish LAST Christmas, and really hasn't gone for much more than that this year. I was hoping it could approach $150 this season. But I've still done fine with mine. Also, I was hoping 9741 Uruk-Hai Army would go a tad higher than it did. But I am generally pleased with my results. The army is starting to creep up now, so it's possible I sold most of mine a tad too short, but I am still OK with what I got them for and what I moved them for.

 

DUPLO Creative Cakes went for 60+ last year when it went out of stock, and I had a few of those hoping the same would happen. It did not. :laugh:

 

One set that comes to mind as a pleasant surprise I guess would be the Gungan Sub (9499). 

 

There's still a good week and a half of prime/last minute shopping season, so you still have time. And as others have pointed out, sales usually stay strong as people spend giftcards or buy things they didn't receive, or are realizing are off the market. 

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In a few more days I am just going to start dumping stuff to at least make my cost back after fees and be done with xmas flips

 

Take it for what its worth but I think that's a very bad idea. 

 

Check out the first page of this thread, the panic started about the dolphin cruiser at this time last year, then it promptly hit $140+ shipping on amazon 5 days later. I would recommend doing whatever it takes to chill out and ride it out. I think you guys are panicking a little, I get it, there's a lot of money at stake.  If you feel you must bail now, do so, but realize a lot of us are waiting to pick up the scraps.

 

http://community.brickpicker.com/topic/7138-daily-lego-deals-12102013/#entry197432

 

Relax and Lego on for a bit :-)

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The one thing I notice when comparing this year to last year is that the price creep isn't happening at the same rate.  I recall prices going up significantly in the 2nd week of December last year and this year's prices have really stagnated in the first 9 days.  Other people have touched on the cause and effect already so I don't need to rehash it.

As a seller - I am small time and I prefer the long term hold. I have sold about $4k from Nov 1 to now but a lot of these are one year holds from last year's sales and this year's early clearance so the profit margin is still acceptable after fees.  Who doesn't like 60+% ROI in 1 year, after fees, before deducting time paid to myself?

 

I have one point about the influx of sellers, it seems that there are a lot of people buying poorer performing sets and selling at a small profit.  This indicates two things to me - my set choices are solid (from the hobby side and the dabbling in selling side) and these people will eventually be replaced by people taking even smaller profits.  Do your due diligence on sets and you will be fine.

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Really?  I respectfully disagree.  I think there are way more investors coming in then getting out.  Be careful, I do believe a lot of investors are going to be disappointed going forward.  A simple supply/demand in play. Tons of supply vs. arguably a slightly higher demand = lower prices.

 

I'm not saying that there are more people leaving than coming in - only that there has been a shift, in that (due to saturation) many people are realizing that it might not be worth the effort.

 

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It's interesting to me reading this as I only got into the lego flip/invest game a couple months ago. (late October). I've mainly been after TH, GE, SSD and HH and, looking at current prices on ebay, definitely don't regret spending money I would otherwise just have sitting around!

 

I wasn't too interested in the QF but when the Amazon released the Minecraft sets early I decided to take a stab at it. I've sold them all for at minimum double what I paid for them. The caves sell on craigslist for $40 like hot cakes. And if I put the cave on Ebay for $43 + shipping it goes in 12 hours. 

 

My point is here I am sitting around thinking "man this QFLL thing is easy! I'm selling them before my own shipments are even delivered!".... but now after reading this thread, it looks like I just got lucky on Minecraft being the hot ticket this year. 

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Friends and Disney have been the big disappointments for sure but at the prices a lot of us got it at it will do fine.  Most bought Castles at $43-50 which is a great deal (Boscovs was the cheaper and the Target $10 off with store pickup deals).   Shopping malls at $70 were great too.

 

Fryes had the DC at $41.99.   

 

They might of been holiday flops but those prices are great buy ins for down the road

 

The Ghost will be a big one for me down the road.  Bought all I could at Fry's and Yoyo for $53.99 and those have done very well for me.  Combo'd them with Phantom and they have done really well (even with TRU selling them $15 cheaper recently)

 

Set selection and quality of the set gets overlooked a lot.  Advents are a pure example.  If you looked at all  3 sets this year SW and City had the value / wow factor.  They both did extremely well while friends struggled.  Going forward you'll still have to analyze each one when they come out.  I always buy a few when they are released and see how many flip that week and at what price.  SW I sold 12 at $60 , City was like 6 at $50 and I sold 0 friends. I don't care about profit then just gauging interest for later on.  So when the deals started coming I bought based on those numbers.  I do that with pretty much any new set that comes out in the latter months.  If there hot off the bat then there is a better chance they will sell out when the holidays comes around.  

 

Set selection will be one of the biggest keys going forward and choosing the right sets will be vital.  Not everything is going to go up like it used to (or enough to warrant selling for a profit).  Popularity of the set, availability of the set at retailers and online sellers, price points will all be big factors.  

 

SW vs WVM is a prime example.  WVM has had 2 subpar seasons of sales in stores and online.  SW comes on at a better price point and huge popularity and blows it away even with WVM possibly retiring.  You can't let what the first few sets did always dictate how the next one will be.  Not saying WVM won't go up at all or anything like that but its flat out not as popular.  It's still sitting in the store this morning even with SW being sold out for a good 2 weeks now.  When you can't even be the set people buy because the one they really want is sold out , you might want to invest in something else.  

 

Basically just a lot more thought, reasearch, and analyzing needs to go into purchases in the future.  

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I am doing really good and I am satisfied. My biggest succes was with Chima, City, Duplo, Friends and Ninjago. Not in this particular order.

 

And as somebody wisely mentioned before in this thread... after Xmas I will relist my inventory to used and AFOL targeted sets.

Edited by Ciglione
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It's interesting to me reading this as I only got into the lego flip/invest game a couple months ago. (late October). I've mainly been after TH, GE, SSD and HH and, looking at current prices on ebay, definitely don't regret spending money I would otherwise just have sitting around!

 

I wasn't too interested in the QF but when the Amazon released the Minecraft sets early I decided to take a stab at it. I've sold them all for at minimum double what I paid for them. The caves sell on craigslist for $40 like hot cakes. And if I put the cave on Ebay for $43 + shipping it goes in 12 hours. 

 

My point is here I am sitting around thinking "man this QFLL thing is easy! I'm selling them before my own shipments are even delivered!".... but now after reading this thread, it looks like I just got lucky on Minecraft being the hot ticket this year. 

 

That's weird. I have caves that have been sitting there for 4 days at 39.99 plus shipping. No sales.

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