The launch for 10307 Eiffel Tower was a pretty chaotic and confusing affair, with the price changing twice in the span of several hours.
To help understand this very strange sequence of events, please join me as I recap what happened, and look at what’s happening in the toy/retail industry and why this may ultimately be a sign that LEGO fans are finally baulking at price increases and overly expensive sets.
Update: Head to my review of 10307 Eiffel Tower for an in-depth look at this incredible set, and see what I thought of it. Spoiler warning: this is a truly awe-inspiring set.
If you’re a subscriber and was notified when I first unveiled LEGO’s tallest ever set, you may have noticed that when I first posted, the American, Canadian and UK price was US$629.99 / CAD$799.99 / £554.99 respectively.
For reference, these are the locked in current pricing to avoid further confusion.
- 10307 Eiffel Tower [US] – US$629.99
- 10307 Eiffel Tower [AUS] – AU$999.99
- 10307 Eiffel Tower [UK] – £554.99
- 10307 Eiffel Tower [EU] – €629.99
- 10307 Eiffel Tower [CA] – CAD$799.99
When the official product page went live on LEGO.com, I then noticed that the prices quoted had changed from the prices we were provided in the press release (sent to those in the LEGO Ambassador Network), and quickly updated the post to reflect the new prices – US$679.99 / CAD$849.99.
For context, this sometimes happens, and because there have been price increases this year, and this has occurred before where pricing information provided by LEGO can sometimes be outdated. I did find it odd that this only impacted the North American prices, and the UK, EU and Australian prices were unaffected.
I was slightly annoyed as I had recorded an Instagram reel, which I had to re-record and publish to reflect the “new” pricing – you can find the Reel on my Instagram where I quote the new US$679.99 price.
Unfortunately, the video of the reveal at Fan Media Days 2022 I uploaded to Youtube had the “old” US$629.99 text edited into it, and I couldn’t change it as it had been published.
I didn’t think too much of it and went to bed as it was pretty late in Australia, and when I woke up the next morning, I was greeted by several comments and emails (thanks for everyone for getting in touch!), letting me know that the price was wrong, and it was US$629.99.
This was me at about 7AM.
I then logged on to my computer, and double checked, and lo and behold, the prices had switched back to the original ones supplied to us initially – US$629.99 / CAD$799.99.
Why did this happen?
I’m not exactly sure what happened here, and it’s time to put on your standard issue tinfoil hat, so I’m going to speculate heavily here.
There could be one of two reasons why something like this occurs.
Genuine Human Error
The most simplest reason I can think of is that the E-Commerce team made an error with the pricing when loading it up to the system.
I work in e-commerce and this happen every now and then, and with so much happening this week with Black Friday / Cyber Monday and VIP Weekend sales, this is THE busiest time in the world if you work in e-commerce, with so much to do, and many, many changes being made on the site mistakes can happen, and I’ve had this happen to me and my teams many, many times.
LEGO flip-flopped on the price, landing on the most affordable option
Personally, I think that this was a backflip by LEGO going into the most crucial sales period for the toy industry, and wanting to ensure that the LEGO Eiffel Tower, one of their big flagship releases of the year sells as well as it could.
With the recent price increases, you might notice that last year’s big set, 10294 Titanic was priced at similar brackets, launching at US$629.99 before being bumped up to US$679.99 during the last round of price increases – I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those 2 numbers are identical.
I’m speculating that the LEGO Eiffel Tower was indeed earmarked to launch at the US$679.99, after taking price increases and general inflation into consideration, but internal discussions caused LEGO to bring the price back down to a more acceptable level.
I think in the span of a few hour, senior executives and leaders were locked in discussions on pricing, and as we’re 2 weeks into November (and halfway into Q4 – the most important quarter for the toy industry), the run rates and forecast of how the remaining 6 weeks were not looking good.
A call was then probably made to knock it back down to the original pre-increase price of US$629.99 for the US, which is LEGO’s biggest and most important market. I can understand why the Australian and European pricing was static – in Australia, the psychological AU$1000 mark is hard to crack, and the European pricing did seem pretty acceptable given exchange/freight rates which are more favourable to LEGO.
The Business and Market Context
For context, the toy industry, especially in the US has not been performing too well, with listed toy giants Mattel and Hasbro getting pummelled in the stock market following disappointing earnings and a gloomy outlook of Q4/Christmas holiday shopping season.
Mattel has shed about 15% of its value, after announcing that it would lower its full-year profit forecast, suggesting high inflation will take a toll on the holiday shopping season, and Hasbro has also suffered, after missing their earnings expectations for Q3, which is not a great forward looking indicator for Q4.
The retail and consumer discretionary sector, especially in the US and Europe has been grappling with challenges such as inflation, and consumers pulling back spending on non-essentials, and with many speculation that we’ll enter a recession in 2023, I bet these discussions have been the number one priority for LEGO’s leadership and commercial teams to solve.
If you listened to our recent Extra Pieces podcast, I did allude to this when discussing LEGO’s financial results, and outlook for the upcoming holiday season. The relevant part of the discussion is at about the 15 minute mark.
LEGO is also sitting on a LOT of inventory (as seen in their recent H1 2022 financial results), which has probably swelled in anticipation of Q4 and the Christmas shopping period, and LEGO is actively looking at ways to ensure product keeps moving off the shelves.
I also think that the impetus for this has come from LEGO’s recent batch of very expensive releases that have not been too well received by consumers: 76210 Hulkbuster (US$549.99), 21337 Table Football (US$249.99), 76405 Hogwarts Express (US$499.99) and 76215 Black Panther (US$349.99)
I have anecdotally confirmed from multiple sources, that these sets are not selling particularly well at LEGO Stores, and as a LEGO Affiliate that drives a not-insignificant amount of volume, I also have data that corroborates this as well.
Notice a pattern?
It could be a combination of a few things, inflation and cost of living pressures causing LEGO fans to cut their LEGO spending, but what I think is the true story is that these incredibly pricey sets are not being received well by fans who want a premium experience for a premium price – something that the most recent batch of expensive sets do not seem to deliver.
With so many underperforming big ticket sets (with the latest being 76210 Hulkbuster), I genuinely think a call was made by Leadership and Commercial teams to revert the pricing of 10307 Eiffel Tower back to the pre-price increase level to increase its chance of success, and sell as well as the Titanic did when it first launched.
Remember, the price increases were instituted to combat the effect of inflation, and higher input prices (cost of goods, freight, and general cost of business going up), all to ultimately preserve LEGO’s (admittedly) high margins on their products.
When push comes to shove, and when there’s too much inventory on the books heading into the holiday season, sacrificing margin becomes a much more compelling case.
Well, that’s my theory at least. Thanks for indulging in my tinfoil toy economics, and for all I know, it could’ve been a genuine typo and error online from someone copy-pasting the Titanic’s price, but when you look at the broader picture, it’s undeniable that the toy industry, and LEGO is facing challenging headwinds and is doing everything it can to secure a successful Q4.
Ultimately, I think this is a win for North American consumers, who now get to access the 10307 Eiffel Tower for US$629.99 instead of US$679.99!
Plus, with VIP Weekend and Black Friday coming up, and a bevy of offers, GWPs and hopefully further sales, LEGO fans will hopefully be able to score some great deals that will lessen the pain of this incredibly enjoyable, but also increasingly expensive hobby.
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Lisa Li says
Yes, totally, I have noticed the Lego new sets are getting more and more expensive, and you have to get the money value for the set too. But I also understand that the company would like to make some profit too. So that a balanced approach will be well welcomed.
I agree. This set is an example of pretty good value, so hopefully we’re heading in the right direction.
Liam Jordan says
This is a great little write up, very interesting to look into.
As someone who is both a fan of Lego and Transformers, I have personally cut back on my spending recently, both because of price increases but also due to just not having the spare cash to buy something on a whim.
I look at this new tower and wonder…who is this for? Its a spectacular model but who wants a nearly 5 foot tall Eiffle Tower? Where is this going in most peoples homes and how are people going to move it if they need to? It’s too big and too niche.
It’s been a very L year for lego all over the board frankly. Too many big, expensive, big ticket items with not a huge amount of appeal. There have been some great sets, but the price hike has definitely not done them any favours.
I really hope this shows companies, who already make huge profits, that price hikes to keep those profits where they are won’t be accepted at a time where people have less disposable income, and I really hope Lego go back to the drawing board and start to listen to what fans want instead of trying to outdo themselves in terms of size, piece count and price. I don’t think anyone was asking for a 5 foot Eiffle Tower because it’s impractical for regular people.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Liam. Curious to hear how Transformers is doing because I hear that Hasbro has not had a great year at all.
It’s definitely a niche product, but like the Titanic, there’s a small, but cashed up audience with space for it. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re in the market for one, you’ll be happy with the tower.
I think this price issue here is the first good sign that fans are baulking at the higher prices, so hopefully we see this extended into 2023.
why Canada price is so cheap?
Canadian pricing has been very fascinating – not sure what’s going on there as they get such a great deal at RRP.
Thank you for the insight Jay. Personally, I think this was a simple mistake on the website, but that doesn’t mean the other factors you mentioned aren’t real.
Unsold stock is definitely a problem. If you’ve been to a HobbyCo (in Australia), it’s shelves of large, expensive sets – typewriter, globe, piano.
Value for money is becoming the biggest problem. Looking at three sets you listed:
– Atari costs more than NES on launch despite fewer pieces, more stickers and no functionality like the TV
– Hogwarts Express panned for not being compatible with regular Lego trains (and a big mistake in the info plate)
– Hulkbuster criticised with unnecessary gaps / space to accommodate another set
– Ferrari criticised for containing numerous errors in the manual on release
Even the core themes like City feel overpriced considering you’re mostly paying for windows and road plates. I don’t know anyone who has a spare $100-$200 lying around to buy these sets on a whim.
My most common thought on sets I buy nowadays is that they’re not worth the price paid for them. They’re good sets and I don’t regret buying them. But they feel overpriced all the same. Maybe this will be a point that things are revisited with a focus on lowering prices or increasing value to justify the cost?
Glad you enjoyed it! I don’t know, I would’ve attributed it to a mistake, but the leaks had indicated that the price was going to be US$679.99… so I definitely think there’s more afoot here.
Yeah, value is a big one, and increasingly hard to find, as you’ve indicated above. This is why you’re seeing LEGO resorting to more discounting than ever before. Previously, it would’ve been unimaginable for LEGO to offer a discount on newly released exclusives, because people would happily buy them.
Think it’s time to boycott Lego for a year. They recorded record profits last year! Publish earnings reports and then few months later announce pricing increases??? All from a company that preaches up and down it’s a family company.
It’s seeming more and more the only family they care about is there own and shareholders. Maybe the fans should remind them were the ones that brought them back from the brink of bankruptcy, we can bring them back…..🤔
Thanks for letting me vent my idea, love the site.
I don’t know about boycott. LEGO still brings me joy, and unless this completely sours your experience, why would you boycott it? It’s quite easy to separate the company from the product.
Also, last year might’ve been a fluke, and I don’t think they’ll be able to repeat it again for 2022, given the challenging environment this year.
Appreciate you sharing your thoughts!
Their profits dipped quite a bit, despite record revenue, so they’re definitely taking a hit : https://jaysbrickblog.com/news/lego-delivers-record-first-half-h1-of-2022-results-with-over-us3-4bn-in-revenue/
Could also be a marketing stunt to make us AFOLs think the price is so much better ($50 isn’t THAT big a difference when we’re talking $600+…) to sell more units. Either way, I can bet this means the price will eventually hike to the $679.99. It’s likely inevitable, but I’m so happy we get this price first!
I don’t know, this whole thing has been really bizarre, especially as leaks had indicated that the price was US$679.99.
All in all, it’s a good thing for consumers. Even at $680, I think it’s worthy of the set, so this is an even better deal for fans.
I was very upset to find how much I could have saved on the
Hogwarts Express if I had waited for VIP weekend but I had no idea that such an offer was going to happen when I scraped together enough to buy it
The double points would have been good as well
This puts me off buying any of the expensive sets at all
Yeah, I think unless you ABSOLUTELY have to have a set at launch or on day one, it’s always worth waiting on them for at the very least, Double Points.
I’m still waiting on a decent sale/offer to pounce on the UCS Razor Crest myself.
Paul M says
I would add a couple of other points and that is that maybe the mega set (AUD$500+ market) has some fatigue setting in. Remember that days when we’d get 1 or maybe 2 mega sets per year but this year I have lost count. Also, TLG seem to be treating AFOLs like an ATM and I, for one, am somewhat disappointed by this for a brand and product that I love.
I have bought 1000+ sets over 40 years and this mega set strategy is disheartening.
Yeah, I agree on that. That said, we’re at a point in time where we’re absolutely spoiled for choice, especially on the upper end of the market.
I remember those times too, and decisions were much simpler then, but on the whole, the sheer level of variety we have as fans right now is unprecedented.
I wrote about this conundrum a while ago, and more than ever, I think it’s still valid: https://jaysbrickblog.com/monday-musings/monday-musings-1-having-to-limit-the-lego-themes-you-collect/
Patrick Bevilacqua says
Hi Jay! Thanks for this recap – very interesting to see all the factors at play. For me, being in the US (New Jersey), I’ve seen in quite a few stores the backlog of inventory that’s sitting in various parts of the stores. One store in particular, Barnes & Noble, had so many sets that behind all the registers were stacks waist high where the cashiers could hardly move. I’m hoping many of those sets (they were the more expensive ones) go on sale due to needing to move the inventory.
The overall price question here is something that’s been troubling though, and top of mind for me, as Lego is obviously going after the Adult market (We have two young boys who love sets as well) with their ever increasing high price points. Like you said with the AUD 1000 point being somewhat of a cliff marking, I feel like Lego will do the same soon with the US$ and expect consumers to pay $1000 for 20,000 piece set, which is just truly insane to me. I hope the glut of Inventory sends the the execs a clear sign that this really can’t go much farther, even with “inflation” as the catch-all excuse to keep their high margins.
Thanks again for all your posts. I subscribed a few months ago (for better or worse on my wallet!) and it’s always fun to see what’s new coming soon.
Thanks Patrick, glad you enjoyed it. Every time a LEGO set is priced less than what people expected, is a good win for fans.
We have the same backlog in inventory here, all the store shelves are full, which is a fary cry from last year.
The issue here is that until recently, fans kept buying the sets. The UCS AT-AT and Titanic were huge sellers last year, so there’s clearly demand and appetite from the upper end of the market IF the sets are well-designed and priced appropriately.
Unfortunately, most companies need to grow every year… so LEGO will keep churning them out.
Appreciate the support, and blame LEGO for the state of your wallet! I’m just the messenger 😀