It’s been a pretty good year for the LEGO Group, but from new products to a change in marketing, here are six ways 2022 could be even better.
Looking back at the past 12 months, there are a handful of stories that have really defined the LEGO Group’s 2021: doubling down on its new push into the adult market; embracing and championing diversity through its actions and products; and, unfortunately, the doomed launch of LEGO VIDIYO.
There are plenty of lessons to take away from the year just gone, in terms of both what worked and what didn’t – and with that in mind, here are six things we’d love to see from the LEGO Group in 2022.
6 – A bigger push towards sustainability
In summer 2021, the LEGO Group debuted its first prototype brick made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. It’s only a proof-of-concept for now, though: it’ll be a long while before we start to see it mass-produced in sets. Regardless, we’re expecting to see the LEGO Group continue to push towards its sustainability goals in 2022, including making all its packaging sustainable by 2025.
The first major step in that process will begin with the wide roll-out of paper bags, replacing the plastic bags currently included inside LEGO boxes. You can take a look at the first finished paper bags in 2021’s employee gift. What’s next? Well, reducing box sizes (where applicable) would be a good start, alongside coming up with alternative packaging for the Collectible Minifigures and accessory packs.
5 – Better availability
It’s no secret that the LEGO Group has suffered from supply chain issues for much of 2021. Head over to LEGO.com in the US right now, and you’re going to have trouble finding much left to buy. The UK and European sites fare a little better, but there’s still plenty out of stock or otherwise on back order, with shipping dates as late as March 2022.
While plenty of the company’s production woes likely rest on external factors beyond its control, we’d still like to see it do more to better meet demand for its products. Case in point: 10294 Titanic has been out of stock basically since day one. It’s no good designing some of the best sets in a generation if nobody can get their hands on them…
4 – The return of BIONICLE
2022 marks the LEGO Group’s 90th anniversary, and it’s an occasion the company has already announced it’s planning to celebrate with at least one nostalgia-driven product. The theme for that set was selected through a LEGO Ideas poll in 2021, with the voting public narrowing it down to either Castle, Classic Space, Pirates or BIONICLE.
An overall winner was chosen through a second fan vote, but we won’t know which theme took the crown until later in 2022. Whichever one it is might not have any bearing on the identity of the 90th anniversary set, though: the original announcement for the poll simply stated that one of the themes would be the basis for the product, and the vote was only to find the most popular among fans.
Given Castle, Pirates and Classic Space have all had their moment in the spotlight over the past few years, we’re keeping everything crossed for the return of BIONICLE.
3 – Even more diversity
Between the launch of 40516 Everyone is Awesome, a pledge to cease gender bias in marketing, and a welcome mix of gender and race across its minifigure and mini-doll line-up, the LEGO Group had a pretty good year for championing inclusivity and diversity. But as Women’s Brick Initiative has already pointed out, there’s still plenty of room to go even further in 2022.
Collectible Minifigures 71032 Series 22 returning to 71027 Series 20’s 50/50 split between male and female characters is a good start, and we’ll echo WBI in stating we’d like to see it expand to encompass other themes, including CITY and Friends. But going beyond its core product lines, we’d love to see the LEGO Group doing even more as a company to celebrate diversity in 2022.
2 – The return of colourful boxes
The LEGO Group believes its 18+ packaging – which unifies its sets for adults across bland black boxes – is doing the business, but we’d like to see it break the mould at least once or twice in 2022. There are so many sets that arrived on shelves in 2021 that would have looked tonnes better with a splash of colour on their packaging, from 21325 Medieval Blacksmith to 75313 AT-AT.
The standard black box admittedly works pretty nicely for some sets (10294 Titanic and 10295 Porsche 911 spring to mind), but it would be nice to see the LEGO Group exercise some freedom in how it approaches its packaging, making exceptions – as promised – for those sets that would really benefit from it. Unique packaging worked wonders for 10282 Adidas Originals Superstar…
1 – A brand new in-house theme
LEGO VIDIYO may have flopped straight out of the gate, but that doesn’t mean the LEGO Group should stop trying new things. If anything, it’s simply a sign that it should instead return to its roots, sideline any attempts to bridge physical and digital play, and focus on the building experience first and foremost.
We’re not necessarily talking about the next NINJAGO – not everything needs to become an evergreen theme – but something that can capture an audience across at least a couple of waves, with imaginative sets, fresh characters and exciting functions would be great to see. Don’t overcomplicate things with an app or digital experience: just keep it focused on the sets and minifigures. Something like Atlantis or Vikings would absolutely fit the bill.
From everything we know about 2022 so far, we’re only looking at new products in existing themes for the foreseeable future – but here’s hoping the LEGO Group has something genuinely new and exciting up its sleeve for later in the year…
For a comprehensive look back at all that 2021 had to offer, check out our Year in Review series.