There are several types of LEGO designed for adults and also children. One popular LEGO series is LEGO Technic, which is one of the most challenging as well. LEGO Technic sets, however, are not cheap. Why is LEGO Technic so expensive?
LEGO Technic is generally expensive due to quality, research and development, licensing, collectability, and brand recognition. However, many LEGO Technic sets are well sought after in the secondary market, meaning your purchase could quickly turn into a profitable investment.
This article will explore LEGO Technic, its difference compared to other LEGO sets, and why they are so expensive.
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What is The Difference between LEGO Technic and other LEGO sets?
LEGO Technic's major difference from other LEGO sets is its specialized pieces. These specialized pieces are intended to add more functionality to the models and introduce a different approach to building than conventional LEGO blocks. These specialized pieces are compatible with other LEGO pieces.
LEGO Technic's primary purpose is to build advanced models and structures using a different approach than the other LEGO sets. Most LEGO sets utilize brick-based blocks, but LEGO Technic uses specialized pieces instead.
These specialized pieces can also include more technical pieces such as motors and pneumatic elements to create more model functionality. However, these specialized pieces are still compatible with other LEGO pieces.
The first Technic sets were released in 1977. These sets include a forklift truck, tractor, helicopter, go-kart, and a mobile crane. The cool part about the initial LEGO Technic sets was that they contain a 'warning' from LEGO that says 'Suggested for builders 9 years and older.'
Today, LEGO Technic sets range from supercars such as the CAT Bulldozer, cars like the Ferrari 488 GTE, all the way to Gotham City with the Batmobile. LEGO Technic models can also be more expensive compared to other LEGO series.
Why is LEGO Technic So Expensive?
LEGO Technique is expensive due to brand recognition, licensing, quality, research, and development costs. LEGO Technic sets are becoming investable assets. Hence the secondary market can command higher prices.
Many factors make LEGO Technic expensive compared to competitors such as Cobi, Kre-O, or Mega Construx.
You may think LEGO is nothing but plastic blocks, but many more things are happening inside them. The plastic used for LEGO blocks is not standard but acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
ABS is a hard, durable plastic well suited to how LEGO bricks are used - snapped in, pulled out, and stacked. As a result, LEGO bricks can stand up to 950 pounds (432KG) of pressure.
LEGO Technic uses high-impact polystyrene for the baseplates and thermoplastic polyester for transparent parts. Some accessories also use polypropylene. All in all, there are 12 types of plastic being used in LEGO's models.
Aside from the materials used, LEGO also has a stringent manufacturing process with high precision. LEGO's molds and presses have tolerances as small as 10 micrometers (0.39 inch, 0.01M) only.
As a result, you see LEGO bricks fit well with each other. Coupled with the high-quality plastics, you can fit and remove the blocks multiple times and still get a good fit.
LEGO is definitely one of the world's most recognizable toy brands and the world's largest toy company. LEGO has been around long enough that almost all adults today have some memory of playing with it.
LEGO is also known for producing very well-crafted models and pieces that challenge its builder well. LEGO also does not seem to have many product recalls, with the last recall in 2009.
All this means that when you purchase a LEGO Technic set, you are not just buying some plastic bricks but years of quality, experience, and reputation.
On top of that, you are also buying piece of mind. You know that your effort of assembling your Technic model would not fail due to stupid things outside of your control, such as missing pieces, poor fitting, or pieces that break.
LEGO models are potential investable assets, as some LEGO models have appreciated in price over the years. Buyers in the secondary market are searching for LEGO models to either invest in, complete their collection or simply just want a fully assembled model.
LEGO Technic models seem to show great appreciation, as it is one of the most challenging series within LEGO. This means there are likely more people out there looking for assembled LEGO Technic sets than other LEGO series.
To top that off, many LEGO Technic sets are produced in collaboration with other brands, such as Star Wars, Land Rover, Porsche, etc. This also resulted in these specific models being hunted down by their fans, further driving up their resale value.
For this reason, the secondary market can drive those prices up.
Many LEGO Technic's models are released in partnership with other brands and organizations. For example, you may see many LEGO Technic sets such as the Porshe 911 Car or the Mercedes Benz Zetros Truck.
This means LEGO has to pay to acquire rights to do so. LEGO has not publicly shared the figures exactly. Still, we could deduce that such deals would likely involve a flat fee and a royalty payment for every licensed model sold.
However, LEGO revealed in their 2020 shareholders' annual report that they spend over $500 million on 'license and royalty expenses.', a significant sum. This cost is likely passed down to you as a higher price for their sets.
Research and Development
To remain competitive in the market, LEGO must constantly come out with new models, sets and series. Looking at the quality and the difficulty of LEGO Technic sets, these are no easy feat to achieve.
On top of that, LEGO releases many new sets every year. Their 2020 team annual report indicates that new products are 55% of their portfolio yearly. As a result, LEGO has to spend over $138 million per year on research and development.
These costs contributed to higher prices of LEGO products, with more complicated series such as LEGO Technic likely much more expensive.