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.
Last edited by davee123
on Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.