Aside from fearsome Vikings and master fairy tale writer Hans Christian Anderson, Denmark may be best known for the most recognizable toy concept ever created — Lego. However, as any parent or enthusiast can attest, they can be quite expensive.
Lego’s aren’t cheaper in Denmark, the country of their origin, when international shipping rates are considered. While certain Lego brick sets may retail for less in Denmark, consumers in Lego’s largest and most established markets are likely to get the best prices in the country where they live.
Known to children (and adults) all over the world, and fashioned from the Danish words leg godt meaning “play well,” Lego bricks are the top-selling toy brand on the planet. But how can a person find the best price for them? Keep reading to learn more.
Denmark is known in part for their fascinating history. See The Vikings in Denmark: Overview and Timeline to learn more.
Are Legos Cheaper Straight from the Source?
LEGO assortments are as diverse as the bricks themselves, ranging from simple collections of basic pieces to highly technical and specifically-themed sets with hundreds of specially molded pieces.
Whatever the theme or collection, due to their worldwide popularity and high demand, LEGO sets do not come cheap. Purchasing them at reasonable prices requires patience, savvy, and some creativity.
With an astonishing 75 billion bricks sold each year, LEGO is a global toy icon that enjoyed sales of 36.4 billion Danish Krone ($5.9 billion USD) in 2018, with revenue from Europe and the U.S. largely contributing to this staggering figure. LEGO’s popularity knows no boundaries, as evidenced by double-digit sales growth in China and a projected 140 LEGO stores in that country alone.
LEGO sets are currently manufactured in five countries :
- The Czech Republic
Although LEGO maintains international offices in key markets, it firmly remains a Danish enterprise with a strong presence throughout its home base of Denmark, including its headquarters and primary brick production facility.
This begs the question of whether Danish citizens or visitors to Denmark can purchase the world’s most famous toys for lower prices on the manufacturer’s home turf.
Denmark’s Vikings did more than raid and hunt. See Did the Vikings Play Chess? to learn more.
LEGOs are not Necessarily Cheaper in Denmark
The answer is not so simple. On the one hand, there is some evidence that certain LEGO sets are cheaper if purchased in Denmark than elsewhere. In fact, according to some sources, Denmark is on average the cheapest place in Europe to purchase LEGOs and the second cheapest anywhere in the world. 
However, the caveat is that LEGO is under constant pressure to introduce sets that appeal to the buying public’s interests on a year-to-year basis. As new themes and collections are launched, older ones are retired and discontinued.
It is possible that in an effort to clear inventory, prices are reduced for older products, thus skewing pricing models in favor of the Danish LEGO market versus other nations.
There is a widespread belief that the U.S., not Denmark, offers the most competitive prices for LEGO sets, the operative term being competitive.
The very nature of how LEGO goes to market in the United States pits one major retail chain against another, and this often leads to fierce competition to move higher volumes at lower margins. By some estimates, U.S. LEGO consumers pay 70% of what their European counterparts pay. 
It is also important to keep in mind that local taxes and tariffs may increase the final price, as will shipping costs (especially international parcels). One thing to note is that it is apparent that there are special LEGO sets that are sold exclusively in LEGO boutiques and theme parks located in Denmark.  
What are the Best Options for Buying LEGOs?
Recognizing the popularity and demand for its products, and undoubtedly in response to the understandable ire of consumers around the world asking the same questions “Why are LEGOs so expensive?” and “Why are there different prices for the same set?” LEGO’s corporate headquarters has attempted to address these concerns with a conciliatory statement (on its own website no less):
- LEGO sets a “suggested” retail price, but ultimately it is up to retailers to determine how much consumers will pay
- Factors such as currency exchange rates, transportation costs, local population, and other considerations all affect how much a LEGO set costs in a particular market
- The complexity of pieces (e.g., specialized molding) in a particular LEGO set, or any licensing fees that must be paid for specially themed sets (e.g., Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, to name but a few) significantly add to the cost of producing specialty LEGOs and thus increase the retail price 
In markets where LEGO is committed to expanding its sales and distribution network, consumers stand to benefit the most. In the United States, for instance, with the collapse of toy retail giant Toys “R” Us, LEGO has revamped its distributor base, adding over 20,000 retailers that include the likes of:
- Mainstream department store chains
- Arts & crafts and DIY stores
- Discount retailers (including so-called “dollar” stores)
These new retail outlets are in addition to LEGO’s boutique shops and various online sources. While LEGO itself is under no pressure to lower its prices to boost sales (as evidenced by its healthy sales figures), nothing prevents its retailers from promoting LEGO products with sales and discounts. And the savviest LEGO shoppers will be sure to pounce on any opportunities to save money. 
With the prevalence of online retailers carrying LEGO products, including the official LEGO company site, there are plenty of options for buyers to navigate through in pursuit of the best price to be found.
It may be necessary to break out the calculator and research currency exchange rates to find the best deal on LEGOs in some cases. It is important to keep in mind shipping costs and delivery times, however.
Thor is one of the most interesting figures in Norse mythology. See Who can lift Thor’s hammer? The secrets of Mjolnir to learn more.
The Proliferation of LEGO Fan Sites
One indicator of LEGO products’ popularity worldwide is the growing number of fan sites on the internet. This online phenomenon’s driving force is not children but rather a close-knit community of LEGO enthusiasts who refer to themselves as AFOLs – Adult Fans of LEGO.
Judging from the sheer number and popularity of brick-related fan sites, adults may outnumber children when it comes to sharing an interest in all things LEGO. These online communities provide a digital platform for LEGO fans to:
- Share LEGO project ideas, designs, and photos
- Provide product reviews and information (including sneak previews of new items)
- Post informative articles and tutorials related to LEGO products
- Organize and promote LEGO-related events
Another feature of LEGO fan sites operated by AFOLs is the posting of helpful tips, including how and where to purchase everyone’s favorite brick toy at the best prices. Here are a few pointers from seasoned LEGO experts:
- Major department store and grocery chains will occasionally offer special sales or promotions on select LEGO sets, so it is worth periodically checking these outlets
- Online retailers also offer LEGO products at discounted prices once in a while and at the very least are competitive with pricing found at brick and mortar establishments (be on the alert for special promo codes or coupons as well)
- Any place that offers frequent buyer points or has rewards programs that can be redeemed toward the purchase of LEGO sets may be worth purchasing from on a regular basis to earn redeemable points
- When it comes to purchasing LEGO sets, patience is not only a virtue; it is a surefire way to save money. But the trade-off is waiting for months, even years, after the initial release
- Fan sites are not only communal gathering places for enthusiasts to share their insights and experiences with LEGO; they can also serve as bulletin boards where members can post information relating to discounts or promotions on LEGO products (i.e., a center for crowd-sourced LEGO intelligence from all over the world). 
From a small workshop in Denmark, LEGO has grown into the world’s most recognizable toy brand, immensely popular with children and adults alike.
The Vikings of Denmark had many incredible beliefs. See What Dragons Meant to Vikings to learn more.