I guess I should have known this but, for some reason, the US has lower Lego prices than anywhere else in the world.
Our selling costs in Europe and Asia are higher than in the US because of the size of US market and retailers (economies of scale). Furthermore, the US market is by far the most price competitive in the world. These factors combined mean that we have for years priced our products higher in eg Europe than the US. In recent years, the difference has been increased due to the weakening US dollar – but we have consciously decided not to let this (hopefully short term) weakening of the dollar hurt the US consumer. And in order to stay profitable as a company, we cannot decrease our European prices – especially seen in the light of increasing cost pressure on oil, labor etc. Finally, final pricing in the market place is obviously determined by retailers, which is something we cannot and will not influence.
Guess what? That makes no sense. For starters, the US has had lower prices even when the US dollar was high. Second, on its own Lego on-line store it charges more for Lego in Europe, Asia and Australia than it does in the US (even for on-line exclusive items). Third, it could have something to do with bargaining power of retailers but that doesn’t quite add up with the notion of competitiveness at the retail sector.
If I were to guess, it would be to look at the total stock of Lego in an economy with second-hand market pressure keeping new Lego prices down. But I have no actual data, anecdotal or otherwise, to back that up.