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What Were Kids (and Adults) Doing During Pandemic? Building LEGOs, Of Course!

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(iStock/meskolo)

It’s no fun stepping on a LEGO (ouch!), but it sure is fun playing with them.

The latter is evident by the LEGO Group’s 13% increase in revenue for 2020 when compared to 2019, topping nearly $7 billion. Net profits rose 19% to $1.6 billion for the Billund, Denmark-based privately held company, which said its market share grew globally.

LEGO’s 2020 numbers aren’t surprising, given that children were playing with more toys while being quarantined during the pandemic. In the U.S., retail sales of toys were $25.1 billion in 2020, an increase of 16% or $3.5 billion from 2019, according to market researcher The NPD Group.

“We are very pleased with these results. They show the timeless relevance of the LEGO brick and learning through play,” said Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group. “This performance is also a testament to the passion, creativity and resilience of our people. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, they worked tirelessly to keep the world playing.”

Consumer sales in all market groups grew double digits, with especially strong growth in China, the Americas, Western Europe and Asia-Pacific, the company said.

“For the past two years we’ve made large-scale investments in initiatives designed to support long-term growth,” Christiansen added. “In 2020, we began to see the benefits of these, especially in e-commerce and product innovation. We will further increase investments during the coming year with a continued focus on innovating play, our brand, digitalization and developing an omnichannel retail network.”

It wasn’t just kids who playing with the building blocks. The company said 2020 sales were driven by more people of all ages building with LEGO bricks. Top themes in no particular order were LEGO City, LEGO Technic, LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Friends and LEGO Classic.

LEGO Super Mario, which blends digital and physical play, was released in August and became one of the company’s most successful theme launches. The company said investments in products that blend physical and digital play will continue in 2021.

The company said its investment in its omnichannel retail ecosystem supported growth in its partners’ and its own channels as physical stores were forced to temporarily close to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The number of visits to LEGO.com doubled compared with the prior year, while the company continued its global store expansion. During 2020, it opened 134 new retail stores, including 91 stores in China. This brings the total number of LEGO branded stores globally at the end of 2020 to 678. The company plans to open a further 120 stores in 2021, 80 of those in China.

“People are looking for unique and memorable physical brand experiences, so we will continue to invest to expand our global retail footprint, as well as elevate our in-store shopping experiences,” Christiansen said. “This approach strengthens our brand, creating a positive impact across all channels. We will also further build our e-commerce capabilities to support online shopping on our own and our partners’ platforms.”

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