Kids and adults go nuts for those snappy plastic bricks, but it appears the limit for LEGO bricks does, in fact, exist. LEGO’s annual sales dropped for the first time in 13 years because it had a surplus of stock, the brick maker announced today.
LEGO had “too much” merchandise both in stores and in its distribution centres last year, a spokesperson told the BBC. “There wasn’t enough room to get 2017 toys into the stores, and the toy trade is driven by newness,” the spokesperson added.
LEGO saw an eight per cent drop in its revenue last year, with sales especially bleak in North America and Europe last year, falling 17 per cent. While the company bragged about launching hundreds of new products in 2016, there may simply be a limit to just how many plastic bricks a kid (or adult) might need. “Households can have too many LEGO products and not want more each year,” Euromonitor toy analyst Matthew Hudak told CNN.
A LEGO spokesperson, however, told Gizmodo in an email that while annual revenue dropped, consumer sales “remained steady”.
LEGO also attributed the decline to essentially trying to do too much. The company has expanded beyond just toys and into areas such as film and video games, of which some were a total bust. So rather than watch tangible toys collect dust in warehouses, CEO Niels B. Christiansen told the Los Angeles Times that the company is going to focus on digital efforts – toys that live inside kids’ screens.
“We need to get LEGO focused on the right things,” Christiansen said. “We must have strong and innovative products.”
It’s hard to imagine a world in which kids no longer excitedly splay bricks across their bedroom floor to create tangible worlds. It may just be that they don’t need a crap-ton of them any more.