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Lego Replies: 7979 Castle Advent Calendar

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Postby Sir Nelson » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:52 am

Dunechaser wrote:Not entirely true. According to LEGO Community Team members, the big retailers failed to pick up the set. We've all been blaming LEGO marketing (and we should still ask why it's not available as a S@H exclusive), but this set's unavailability is largely due to lack of interest from Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us.


So, what is the bottom line? Is TLG now reconsidering making this set available for purchase in North America, or are they saying that due to the packaging and lack of retailer interest, it will never, ever be sold in North America? I'm sure many of us C-C members want a firm answer... Thanks in advance, Ambassadors.
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Postby Dunechaser » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:45 pm

Sir Nelson wrote:So, what is the bottom line? Is TLG now reconsidering making this set available for purchase in North America, or are they saying that due to the packaging and lack of retailer interest, it will never, ever be sold in North America? I'm sure many of us C-C members want a firm answer... Thanks in advance, Ambassadors.

I'd asked exactly that last night. :wink: We'll let everyone know what we find out.
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Postby rogue27 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:04 pm

I remember a few years ago Target carried advent calendars. Last year they did not. Perhaps no retailer interest is the reason we're not getting the advent calendar here. Hard to say, TLG has always been shrouded in mystery.
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Postby Dan » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:14 pm

Mystery or confusion? Seems to me that the right hand quite often does not know what the left is doing.
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Postby Tedward » Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:42 pm

Re: "Big Three" toy retailers and the Advent Calendar

Last year I spoke to my local toy store (three locations in two cities) and the manager told me they tried to order Advent Calendars. They never got any and they were told it was because there were not enough.

I don't know how these independents are treated by TLC but I bet that every independent toy store in town would love to carry the Castle Advent Calendar. I also bet they could sell more of them than our one Local Toys R Us.
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Postby Bear » Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:12 pm

JoshWedin wrote:I think the reason that The Advent Calendar wasn't released here is much more basic than most people realize. Advent Calendars, in general, are not a major tradition in the US. They are very big in Europe. Lego's versions of the Advent Calendars are never been very popular here, in the past. In fact, how many people are interested in this set as an Advent Calendar? A few maybe. Not the vast majority of us though.

In the eyes of Lego Marketing, why would this Advent Calendar be any different? Of course we disagree, but Lego Marketing isn't really in touch with their fan base at all. Not at all like the design department.

Josh

I am going to have to disagree. If you look on Lego.com at the 25 top sellers you will see that the City Advent Calander is #4.
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Postby davee123 » Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:00 pm

I expect the City advent calendar that started in 2005 (#7324) was remarkably more successful in the US than they anticipated. I could be wrong, but I remember AFOLs overjoyed with the new advent calendar, since it featured minifigs and other useful parts, rather than simply basic brick, as was featured in older advent calendars (see 4924, 1298, 4024, 2250, etc).

I don't have much data to back that up, other than the fact that they've tried Clikits, Belville, Jack Stone, and Creator calendars, and none of them have lasted for more than 2 years (Clikits had 2 years, Creator had 2 years). And City's now on its FOURTH year, and now we're seeing that they're experimenting with a castle version. That says to me that they're happy with the success of a minifig-style version (it probably did very well), and are testing the waters this year with a castle version. Sadly, it seems no major vendors were interested in the castle version (so I guess), but with luck (they don't need much!) the castle version should prove to be another big seller.

The other evidence that the City line advent calendar did very well in the US is that for the US's top 25 seller list on Lego.com, the City advent calendar stayed on the list from September 6th, 2007 up to December 10th, 2007. Plus, 45 of those 96 days (almost half the time) it was solidly at the #1 position. Considering how many sales Lego.com DOES in that timeframe (we all know Christmas is the biggest time of year in the US!), the fact that the advent calendar of all sets managed to secure this spot is pretty impressive. For the record, it dropped out of the #1 spot on December 4th, which isn't too surprising, considering that an advent calendar is only really "useful" if you start it on December 1st.

Anyway, I don't think that the advent calendars do poorly, although I *DO* think that Lego is correctly worried about overstocking. In the past, we've seen advent calendars at deep discount because they do NOT sell well off season. So Lego might sell a lot of them, but any that DON'T sell will probably just sit there-- so possibly better from a business perspective to produce fewer.

It's a shame that S@H in the US (and other countries) didn't pick this up, though. Given the set's figure selection, I expect it would have sold very well in the US. I hope there's enough sales in Europe and outcry from the community that they make another one next year, and sell it more globally.

DaveE
Last edited by davee123 on Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Munchy » Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:16 pm

Bear wrote:I am going to have to disagree. If you look on Lego.com at the 25 top sellers you will see that the City Advent Calander is #4.

davee123 wrote:I expect the City advent calendar that started in 2005 (#7324) was remarkably more successful in the US than they anticipated.
-redacted-
The other evidence that the City line advent calendar did very well in the US, is that for the US's top 25 seller list on Lego.com, the City advent calendar stayed on the list from September 6th, 2007 up to December 10th, 2007. Plus, 45 of those 96 days (almost half the time) it was solidly at the #1 position.
-redacted-
DaveE


Wow. Great statistics. One caution however. We don't know what those stats mean. I don't think they include all sales, only those sold at S@H and the LEGO brand stores. Since most LEGO is sold through third parties, it may not be an accurate representation of standings.

That being said, given that it covers LEGO direct sales of all of their products, it still shows a significant portion of LEGO enthusiasts want the CITY calendar. I still believe that the Castle calendar would have done well.
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Postby Bear » Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:16 pm

Munchy wrote:
Bear wrote:I am going to have to disagree. If you look on Lego.com at the 25 top sellers you will see that the City Advent Calander is #4.

davee123 wrote:I expect the City advent calendar that started in 2005 (#7324) was remarkably more successful in the US than they anticipated.
-redacted-
The other evidence that the City line advent calendar did very well in the US, is that for the US's top 25 seller list on Lego.com, the City advent calendar stayed on the list from September 6th, 2007 up to December 10th, 2007. Plus, 45 of those 96 days (almost half the time) it was solidly at the #1 position.
-redacted-
DaveE


Wow. Great statistics. One caution however. We don't know what those stats mean. I don't think they include all sales, only those sold at S@H and the LEGO brand stores. Since most LEGO is sold through third parties, it may not be an accurate representation of standings.

That being said, given that it covers LEGO direct sales of all of their products, it still shows a significant portion of LEGO enthusiasts want the CITY calendar. I still believe that the Castle calendar would have done well.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I know those are for the S@H sales only. I just think it is important because of the Lego Co. saying it would not generate enough sales as a S@H exclusive.
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Postby davee123 » Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:55 pm

Munchy wrote:Wow. Great statistics. One caution however. We don't know what those stats mean. I don't think they include all sales, only those sold at S@H and the LEGO brand stores. Since most LEGO is sold through third parties, it may not be an accurate representation of standings.


Not to trash the validity of my own stats, but I think it's even less than that! I assume that it does NOT include sales from Lego stores, and I know it doesn't include non-US web orders (as evidence, select a different country and compare the top 25 sellers). Phone or mail-in orders for S@H, I'm not sure. It could be all sales done through the S@H division in a particular country, but I'm not sure. But certainly it's country specific, and I wouldn't think it would tie in the sales from the Lego stores, since the top 25 are updated in real time (once an hour), and I wouldn't think retail sales would update the main database on the fly like that (though it's admittedly possible)

Anyway, I expect that the trend, regardless of the specifics, is true across countries and Lego stores. Regular retail stores I'm not sure. I would expect those sales would follow a different pattern, though it may be similar for some things. The "normal" sets probably follow the same trends, but promotional, seasonal, and impulse Lego items probably follow different sales patterns in normal retail.

Anyway, I still think the biggest indicator of the City advent calendar's success is that Lego is doing it again for the 4th year in a row-- which is more consecutive years of a same-theme advent calendar than they've ever done before. Hence, since I assume Lego's marketing people aren't idiots, it probably did pretty well in years past. And the only other "evidence" we have (the top 25 seller lists, unreliable as it may be) seems to be in line with that hypothesis.

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Postby Sir Nelson » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:08 pm

Cool stats, Dave! I do recall them going on deep clearance on SAH and other retailer sites earlier this year, too.

Anyone notice that the City calendar went up by another $5 this year? :P
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