I've been looking at all the new sets in Ace's gallery, and while they look great the prices seem a bit on the high side. Sets have shifted south of the long standing "golden rule" of LEGO - meaning that most of the time sets would average around 10¢ per part. The easy way to approximate it was shift the piece count on the box over a decimal to get the rough price. If that matched up to the set's true price, or was higher, it was a deal. If it was lower, well, not so much of a deal. This has worked out as a sort of standard for a long time now, and only recently has it been consistently slipping.
Here's a glimpse into late this year:
- 10195 Republic Dropship with AT-OT Walker, 1,758 pcs, $249.99 USD = 14.22 ¢/b
- 8039 Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser - 1,170 pcs, $119.99 USD = 10.25 ¢/b
- 7749 Echo Base - 155 pcs, $24.99 USD = 16.12 ¢/b
- 8038 Battle of Endor - 890 pcs, $99.99 USD = 11.23 ¢/b
- 8036 Separatist Shuttle - 259 pcs, $29.99 USD = 11.60 ¢/b
- 7748 Corporate Alliance Tank Droid - 216 pcs, $24.99 USD = 11.57 ¢/b
- 8964 Titanium Command Rig - 706 pcs, $99.99 USD = 14.16 ¢/b
- 8963 Rock Wrecker - 225 pcs, $34.99 USD = 15.55 ¢/b
- 8962 Crystal King - 168 pcs, $19.99 USD = 11.90 ¢/b
- 5973 Hyperspeed Pursuit - 456 pcs, $49.99 USD = 10.96 ¢/b
- 5974 Galactic Enforcer - 825 pcs, $99.99 USD = 12.12 ¢/n
- 5972 Container Heist - 282 pcs, $29.99 USD = 10.63 ¢/b
- 5971 Gold Heist - 205 pcs, $19.99 USD = 9.75 ¢/b
Now, this is only a few sets and lines I'm interested in of course, and it's not all of them even... but as a test group it works. Space Police is about what we're used to, averaging just over the 10 ¢/b mark... but PowerMiners is really stepping over (Thanks to the new large rock monsters I assume). Star Wars is almost as bad: a few sets are holding the current trend, but others push it beyond. I understand the high cost for the Taun Tauns so I can forgive that bleak 16.12 ¢/b for Hoth, but nothing about the ATOT and Drop Ship seems to justify such a difference - aside from it's size and exclusivity. In comparison, the UCS Falcon managed a 9.62 ¢/b ratio, and the Death Star was just 10.51. And they had exclusive figures added in... this seems to just have a couple battle packs worth.
Keeping in mind what Steve has mentioned elsewhere about last years oil prices impacting this years set prices, it all paints a pretty clear picture. We're in for a pricey year, and I'd wager it'll stick around beyond '09 even with gas prices easing off a bit (since we all know that's not the only factor in set prices, and the economy isn't all that pleasant right now).
My question to you is have you noticed this too, and will the upped prices effect your buying habits very much? Or maybe you think I'm exaggerating things, since sets like Creator and Town still work out to better ratios? Personally, I've always been the sort to wait for sales... so I probably won't be buying any less that I have been. It just sucks to realize that the times are a changin.