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Terapeak Trends: How Has “The Lego Movie” Affected Lego Sales?

By Aron Hsiao  on March 06, 2014

The Lego Movie is hot stuff right now.

IMDb users have given it a rating of 8.4 of 10. It's doing even better on Rotten Tomatoes, where it has a score of 96 percent. As of March 5th it had done nearly $213 million in box office sales. And all of this is ultimately about a venerable kids toy.

Lego minifigures are in demand following the release of The Lego Move. (Image: Sevenking / Public Domain)

If you're an online seller, this would seem to be a golden opportunity for Lego merchandise sales. In fact, when it comes to catching trends for online selling, it's easy to imagine that this is about as good an opportunity as is likely to come along.

In the spirit of all things Lego, therefore, we decided to take a look at the Lego market on eBay and see how things are shaping up since the release of the movie. What do recent trends look like in comparison to historical sales data?

Lego Performance Overall

Since Terapeak for eBay indicates that virtually all Lego items on eBay are listed appropriately in the Lego category, the two-year chart of the category's sales volume and number of listings sold gives us a good picture of how Lego products have performed overall—both over time and since the movie was released.

Slight gains can be seen across all Lego categories combined

Lego sales are characteristically flat throughout the year, apart from significant holiday-season peaks. This year, we see a slight variation from this pattern following the release of the movie (represented by the aqua-colored line), most notably in number of listings sold. There is a slight upward movement in dollar volume, as compared to a slight downward trend in previous years over the same period, but the difference is fairly small.

Even so, these differences and the strength of the film, taken together, suggest that a closer look is in order. If there are a few additional dollars flowing into Lego on eBay right now, what are shoppers spending more money on this year than they have in the past?

To answer this question, we went over the two-year category trends for each of the Lego subcategories on eBay, looking to see whether particular kinds of Lego products have benefitted disproportionately from the film's release, or whether there has merely been a slight uptick in activity across all Lego goods.

Lego Bulk Bricks & Lots

Working across Lego subcategories, one stands out from the group—the "Bulk Bricks & Lots" subcategory. This category shows gains in both dollar volume and listings sold following the release of the movie, in ways that differ significantly from trends seen in previous years.

The strongest effects are seen in Lego Bulk Bricks & Lots

With the data bunched against the right side of the chart like this, though, it's difficult to get a feel for what's really going on—so we extracted the data for the period from later October—just before the holiday shopping season—through the beginning of March. We overlaid the data from both years, to make the difference in category performance, year-over-year, more clear.

Charting year-over-year trends highlights the difference

The green lines in this chart represent the current year (2013-2014 performance), while the red lines represent last year (2012-2013 performance over the same period). Once again, the release of The Lego Movie is indicated by the aqua-colored line.

What we see is a sharp increase in both dollar volume and sold listings as audiences made their way to see the film, with both dollar volume and listings sold far closer to two-year maximums.

Other Subcategories and Most Sought Items

Across the other Lego subcategories on eBay, differences were either less pronounced or were absent. In particular, Lego Duplo and Primo blocks—which might have been expected to do well following a massively successful Lego film targeted at children—show essentially no deviation from past years' trends. The same holds true for Lego Mindstorms and Lego Bionicle.

In the wake of this film, at least, it's traditional assortments of Lego blocks for for play—rather than Lego goods for collecting or hobbyist purposes—that have been the winners. What does this mean in terms of keywords? Here are the top searched-for keywords associated with "bulk lego," "lego lot," and "lego assortment" on eBay right now:

bricks castle
bulk pounds
lot 1000
minifigures sets
technic train
10 lbs ninjago
5 lbs city
base plates dragons
pirate base
star wars

If as a seller you have access to piles and piles of lego, it may not be too late to profit in the wake of The Lego Movie. Bulk lots of 1,000 pieces, weighing 5 or 10 pounds, or containing lots of Lego minifigures are amongst the best bets.

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