Deloitte analysis finds LEGO to be among most sought after collectibles

28 December 2023 3 min. read
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A report from consultancy firm Deloitte and eBay found LEGO sets to be among Australian collectors most sought after items – just another reason to avoid stepping on the expensive plastic blocks. 

With many grandparents and relatives likely having balked at the price of a box of LEGO while doing this year’s Christmas shopping, a recent survey report from professional service firm Deloitte and online retailer eBay confirms that the tiny Danish plastic blocks are indeed one of the go-to items for collectors in Australia, ranking only behind coins, but roughly on par with snakes as a barefoot household hazard over summer.

According to the survey of almost 4,000 Australians, more than a quarter – or an estimated five million people across the country – identify as ‘collectors’, with a third of those citing LEGO sets as among their most sought after collectibles.

Most common collectibles collected by Australians

LEGO’s figure was eclipsed by coins at 36 percent, but easily sat ahead of the 26 percent of the 1,500 collectors who pointed to toys in general. Sneakers edged ‘art’ as the next most collected item, attracting 22 percent.

Among collectors, those who stated a financial objective as compared to being hobbyists was split down the middle, with almost half of the Aussies out to make a buck expecting gains ranging from 50 percent to more than double. While the highest valued collectibles of those surveyed included watches and luxury handbags (with average collections ranging from $6,000 to $7,000), LEGO also featured among the top items for people of higher incomes.

Digging into eBay sales data from 2019 – 2022 – which notably coincides with the launch of the reality TV ratings bonanza Lego Masters – the report examines five selected sets, with a Grand Carousel last year going for an average of $2,100, up 20 percent on 2019. Meanwhile, a Kings Castle box is up by 200 percent on pre-pandemic figures, rising from $200 to $600, with Darth Maul figures also showing healthy gains of 85 percent.

“There is a strong passion for LEGO across generations,” says Alaister Low, eBay Australia’s head of sneakers & collectibles. “We see everything from vintage sets to the latest trending must-haves trading on the site. This includes those who enjoy building and displaying them, as well as fans of popular culture movements such as Star Wars, as seen by the growth of the iconic Star Wars Cloud City.” (which is up by 50 percent to $1,900 since 2019).

Average prices and price growth for selected handbags

For ‘investors’, collecting is an attractive prospect compared to other asset classes due its perceived simplicity and low administrative costs (behind only a savings account in both categories).

One potential drawback of collectibles is in terms of liquidity, being the most difficult class to cash in after bonds, while the risk and potential returns were both seen as mid-level as compared to traditional investment opportunities such as property and shares.

And it seems that Australia’s criminal networks have also cottoned on to the laundering potential, with 1,130 boxes of Lego valued at more than $200,000 discovered during the raid of an alleged suburban drug lab in Melbourne last month, a haul described by Victoria police as so large that a truck had to be specially called in.

Meanwhile, a 1995 Deloitte Australian Corporate Team Challenge key-ring, also made from plastic, is currently going for $9.95 on eBay.