It’s a frequent complaint from the LEGO community: ‘There are too many sets being released – I can’t keep up.’ Well it seems that there’s more than a little truth to that. In the half year results announcement, the LEGO Group CEO, Niels B. Christiansen, mentioned that:
“This year’s portfolio is the largest on record and caters for builders of all skill levels and ages.” He continued, “It includes LEGO products that reflect a wide range of interests and hobbies our builders are passionate about from art and design and cars to music, sport and space exploration.”
While there are some regional variations to the ranges and – unfortunately – still a few regional exclusives, the breadth of the assortment is quite astounding. Looking at the LEGO UK website, there are 1,214 sets available across 42 different themes. Some are small and specialist. Most Xtra sets, for example, are inexpensive polybags. The Stranger Things range currently consists of one BrickHeadz set and a keyring and the couldn’t-quite-find-its-niche Vidiyo is on clearance. But that still leaves well over 1,000 sets on the LEGO Group’s books.
With economies around the world on shaky ground, and disposable income becoming a scarce resource for many, some may cast an eye back to the early 2000s. At that point, the company was seen to overreach itself, something designer Matthew Ashton spoke about in a recent interview. That period required a ‘back to basics’ approach which saw a number of themes cancelled and a large portfolio slimmed down to some core ranges.
Christiansen alluded to a potential slowdown in sales in his statement, when he said: “For the second half of 2022, we continue to see strong demand for our products. Longer-term we expect top line growth to normalise to more sustainable levels.”
A well known quote, oft-attributed to philosopher, George Santayana, reads “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”. Let’s hope that the LEGO Group have got one eye on their recent history.