I admit to crustiness. Haven't posted here in a while, but when I did, I composed a long entry, devoting some time and effort to it. Within minutes it seemed to have been trashed, with all my points being challenged. Then, I overreacted. Now I've come to my senses to realize that my original post was about price trends in the US market, where I source and sell, and the forum member disagreeing with all my points sources and sells in the UK. We weren't even arguing about the same markets!
Everything I wrote may have been true. Everything he wrote may have been true. Since I was talking about apples, and he was talking about oranges.
You can pick up a Grand Emporium, a Horizon Express, an Arkham Asylum, a Haunted House, a Town Hall, an Unexpected Gathering, a Friends Swimming Pool, and many, many other sets today for LESS than what they were going for this time 6 months ago. I'm generalizing and could be wrong about one or two of these, but I'm right about the trend downward. If you've some time on your hands, you could look at the charts at camelcamelcamel for these sets, and see that I'm correct. The charts are a lot more reliable than the bullish or bearish comments from strangers you meet on anonymous internet forums.
My take on this is that the holiday sales madness wasn't enough to clear the inventory out of thousands of resellers' closets. The vast number of resellers is killing the endeavor. But, that's not the worst news. Worse than that: the manufacturer's greed. Lego is selling a new City Fireboat, an unlicensed theme, 424 pieces, for $80. People are stupid, but there's a very small subset of shoppers who are stupid enough to pay above retail for what's wildly overpriced to begin with.
And, finally, worst of all, Amazon taking over the spoiler role that TRU used to play by continuing to sell sets that have been sold out everywhere else. Remember how TRU killed the aftermarket potential for Funhouse Escape, for Battle of Endor, and for almost any set they continued to offer as an exclusive, long after the sets were gone everywhere else? Well, consider that right now Amazon is quietly offering exclusive access to Minecraft the Mine, to several Architecture sets, to SW Ezra's Speeder Bike, to some Juniors and Friends sets that are available nowhere else, and have been sold out at Shop at Home for months. We're almost into mid-February now. Resellers better hope Amazon will run out of these sets soon, and stay out of them, or you'll know a game changer is in play. A game changer that could bring us many more Death Stars, Pet Shops, and Camper Vans; sets that will not die. And it will be resellers stocking up their closets that keep the sets in production.
In a few years, you can look at this forum and some diehard Lego reseller will be saying that a 5-10% annual profit is still really good, compared to many other investments. And shoeshine boys will be salivating over the stellar gains achieved by some rare set that retired early.
There's this story of Joseph Kennedy getting out of the stock market market just prior to the 1929 crash, when he received stock tips from a shoe- shine boy.
Actually, it was Kennedy overhearing shoeshine boys discuss stocks that led him to believe the market was in a bubble, and prompted him to get out. Shoeshine boys are like cab drivers; they don't know what they're doing; they're late to the party, they get in at the top and later sell at a loss. It would be the same as when unsophisticated resellers indiscriminately buy recently-released Lego sets and send them to Amazon FBA, just like they do now.