Lego a ‘better investment than shares and gold’ – Telegraph

Average Lego set has increased in value 12 per cent each year since the turn of the Millennium, providing a better return than mainstream investments

Source: Lego a ‘better investment than shares and gold’ – Telegraph

The Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon is the most expensive, having gone from a retail price of £342.49 in 2007 to £2,712 today

The Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon is the most expensive, having gone from a retail price of £342.49 in 2007 to £2,712 today

It may appear as no more than a popular children’s toy, but investors were able to secure a better return buying Lego sets over the past 15 years than from the stock market, gold or bank accounts, a Telegraph analysis found.

The value of the FTSE 100 is no higher than it was in February 2000, meaning the average annual return to savers over the past decade and half is just 4.1 per cent once dividend payouts are included.

By contrast, Lego sets kept in pristine condition have increased in value 12 per cent each year since the turn of the Millennium, with second-hand prices rising for specific sets as soon as they go out of production. Modern sets are performing even more strongly, with those released last year already selling on eBay for 36 per cent more than their original price.

The analysis found none of the main investments favoured by savers matched returns on the plastic building bricks.

Savers who invested in gold received a 9.6 per cent annual gain over the past decade and a half, while those who went with a savings account or Isa generated 2.8 per cent, according to investment company Hargreaves Lansdown.

Some Lego sets that once sold for less than £100 now fetch thousands on the secondary market.

Lego can only reach a top price if it has been kept in it's box, according to Ed Maciorowski, founder of BrickPicker.comLego can only reach a top price if it has been kept in it’s box, according to Ed Maciorowski, founder of BrickPicker.com

Many of the highest prices are for old sets based around films such as Star Wars or landmarks or brands such as the Taj Mahal in India or the Volkswagen Beetle. But data from investing website BrickPicker.comshowed even sets based on everyday scenes such as police stations and town roads are soaring in value.

The largest percentage rise in price for any Lego set has been on “Cafe Corner”, a model of a hotel which went on sale in 2007. The set, which has 2,056 pieces, originally sold for £89.99 but the price has risen to £2,096 since it went out of production – a return for investors of 2,230 per cent.

Ed Maciorowski, founder of BrickPicker.com, said the top price would be fetched only if the Lego had been kept in its box, in perfect condition. Used Lego is less valuable, but can still be worth hundreds of pounds more than its original price.

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“The neat thing is that all sets are retired at some point, and several hundred are retired each year a movie run ends, a licence expires or the Lego company wants to refresh its range,” he said.

“That means anyone with a set at home – large or small, it doesn’t matter – could have quite an investment on their hands if it’s in good condition, as this stuff appreciates very well in value.”

Most second-hand Lego is traded and bought on eBay. BrickPicker pays eBay for a breakdown of sales and compiles its own database of values and growth rates.

Mr Maciorowski said tens of thousands of investors across the world were pushing up prices of rarer sets.

He said the growth rates would continue. “Lego investing is not hitting bubble-like status,” he said. “That is partly because the Lego company doesn’t promote the secondary market, it wants to sell direct to customers.”

deathstarDeath Star II sold for £249.99 in shops, but is now worth £1,524, according to BrickPicker

Price rises can be disrupted if Lego restarts production of sets it had previously retired – but usually the effect is temporary as investors snap up the new stock, Mr Maciorowski said.

The most popular type of Lego is Star Wars themed, accounting for 10 of the 20 most expensive sets.

The Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon is the most expensive, having gone from a retail price of £342.49 in 2007 to £2,712 today.

Two slightly earlier models, the Death Star II and Imperial Star Destroyer, which were released in 2005 and 2002 respectively, also fetch more than £1,000.

Mr Maciorowski said the new Star Wars film, Episode VII – The Force Awakens will give the old sets a “new life” in secondary market.

“Demand is going to be off the hook,” he said. “Sometimes when the next instalment of a film comes out it boosts interest: the new Fantastic Beasts films, for example, should also see demand pick up for some of the recently retired Harry Potter Lego.”

Laith Khalaf, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The returns from Lego look pretty awesome, but investors need to beware that the value of collectables can be vulnerable to fads.

“There’s absolutely no harm in buying some pieces as a hobby, and you may well make some money, but as a main building clock for your retirement I would suggest sticking to more traditional shares and bonds.”

Seven Lego investing tips from a pro

Ed Maciorowski from BrickPicker.com says:

1 If you are interested in a particular Lego set, buy one to build and one to save for a rainy day. Even used Lego sets can appreciate to values higher than the retail price. Putting away a few large and exclusive sets to resell in years down the road can be very profitable.

2 Limited edition and seasonal sets do very well in the Lego secondary markets. Any sets with short production runs usually appreciate well. The rarer, the better.

3 Invest in Lego sets that were released after 1999. Pre-2000 sets were not really great investments. Many sets were basic and uninspiring. There are a handful of vintage sets that are viable collectables, but most have plateaued in value and many are in poor condition.

4 Keep the Lego boxes, pieces and instructions in excellent condition. Save all the components of a Lego set. Keep them in a dry and dark storage space. No sun … no moisture. The better the condition, the more the set will sell for in future.

5 Stack Lego boxes vertically like books. Horizontal stacking causes boxes to crush and seals to break.

6 Size doesn’t matter. Both small and large sets can appreciate very well percentage wise.

7 Lego mini figures are very valuable.

Most expensive Lego sets

Set – release date – pieces (mini figs) – retail price – current value

1 Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon – 2007 – 5,195 (5) – £342.49 – £2,712

2 Cafe Corner – 2007 – 2,056 (3) – £89.99 – £2,096

3 Taj Mahal – 2008 – 5,922 (0) – £199.99 – £1,848

4 Death Star II – 2005 – 3,441 (0) – £249.99 – £1,524

5 Imperial Star Destroyer – 2002 – 3,096 (0) – £249.99 – £1,467

Lego sets with biggest rises in value

Set – release date – pieces (mini figs) – retail price – current value – growth

1 Cafe Corner – 2007 – 2,056 (3) – £89.99 – £2,096 – 2,230%

2 Market Street – 2007 – 1,248 (3) – £59.99 – £698 – 1,064%

3 Holiday Train – 2006 – 965 (7) – £49.99 – £574 – 1,048%

4 Rescue from the Merpeople – 2005 – 175 (5) – £14.99 – £168 – 1,018%

5 The Batboat: Hunt for Killer Croc – 2006 – 188 (2) – £14.99 – £167 – 1,011%

If Carlsberg Did Cases…

Waiting for your cases at the end of a long flight is a sad end to any holiday, so we decided to bring a bit of joy to London City Airport passengers one grey afternoon, watch and see what happens…

Because If Carlsberg did cases, they’d probably be the best cases in the world.

Passengers waiting to collect their bags were surprised by the arrival of crates of Carlsberg on the carousel, carrying the invitation ‘Take Me, I’m Yours’. The brewer secretly filmed the giveaway and posted it on social media to mark the return of the Carlsberg advertising strapline, ‘If Carlsberg did…’.

Passengers also shared the stunt on social media, claimed Carlsberg, which said Instagram user Garfla posted an image and the caption ‘If Carlsberg did Air Travel’, while @sarahthemachine tweeted ‘London City Airport: home of a mythical baggage claim giving people free cases of Carlsberg! Many happy travellers!’

“Waiting for your luggage when you get home from holiday is that defining moment when you know that your holiday is over, so that’s why we decided to cheer up returning holidaymakers with a crate of ice-cold Carlsberg,” said senior brand manager Dharmesh Rana.

The activity follows a series of ‘If Carlsberg Did’ stunts including a beer dispensing poster and drone delivery service.

How banks can improve finance management tools and apps | Econsultancy

How banks can improve finance management tools and apps | Econsultancy.

Consumers’ digital experiences, including banking, are becoming more and more visual. Within the retail banking sector much is still to be done.

Most importantly banks should not judge Personal Finance Management (PFM) tools as isolated investments: rather a piece of the puzzle to build a great overall digital customer experience.

In this article I will talk about how PFM has developed within retail banking (from a customer perspective) over the years, how we see things evolving and what banks can learn from new players.

PFM developments in short over the last three years:   

2011

  1. PFM tools were primarily introduced within internet banking. Mobile developments were close to non-existent among banks, and tablet banking did not even exist!
  2. The tools implemented were pure add-ons to existing platforms and rarely fitted in with the overall experience; they also lacked engagement.
  3. Much of the debate back then was centered on monetising the cost of the deployment.

2012

  1. A gradual change in implementation strategies started appearing: PFM was no longer just about launching something with a big bang. Instead, rather lighter and more subtle approaches were what caught our attention.
  2. It was also becoming evident that embracing new technologies was key to deliver a positive PFM experience.
  3. A number of banks were investing in new services, taking advantage of the capabilities available in smartphone and tablet devices, hence providing an experience that we had not seen before.

2013

  1. What was picked up in 2012 has been reinforced with new developments: visuals have been largely improved and are becoming more intuitive.
  2. Developments are taking place across all three channels and are in several cases pleasantly integrated as part of the overall experience.
  3. The dominating approach is still to offer PFM within internet banking only, so this would suggest there is room for expansion across devices.

Types of offerings, how they add value to customers and where we are 

In the last three years, it has become clear that PFM offerings have expanded and become more diverse, both in terms of channels and of specific features and approaches adopted.

One theme evident in reviewing the market is that each component offered naturally sits in one of three levels of progressive user sophistication. Starting at a basic level, progressing to an analytical level, and ending with an action-taking level.

I have used these three levels as a way of better showing what is happening where in the market place and also for understanding how banks are trying to engage customers.

  1. Basic visualisations. These make customers think about what is happening with their day to day finances, and build awareness and understanding with thw aim of encouraging deeper interaction with the bank.
  2. Analysis. Features which help customers analyse their personal finance: where, how, and how much they spend in relations with peers.
  3. Take-action tools. Provide engaging tools to help customers improve their personal finance situation.

Considering the these levels, the majority of available features in place aim to entice and educate, and still this is where banks’ main emphasis lies. Take-action tools (to a large extent) are something further down the road.

For example, it is hard to get an individual to take action without providing a visual and intuitive overview that can be analysed with little effort. The exception to this is savings goals. During the past 12 months we have seen a significant increase in savings goals features – some more advanced than others.

In several cases these have been implemented across channels putting them front of mind to customers. Not only is this tool easy to set up and grasp, it also works as a psychological reminder that you are on your way to achieve something. In some cases you can set up a recurring transfer in order to regular fund your goal, hence ongoing progress and making users more likely to achieve something.

The challenge for banks in relation to new players

We no longer think of providing PFM features as a matter of yes or no. Making transactional data visual and enabling customers to get a deeper understanding of their finances, including take-action type features should be a given in any digital banking road map.

When looking at most new market entrants they have applied this thinking from the onset. Below we highlight three appealing initiatives in Hello Bank!Moven and Knab which all include PFM features and most importantly they are central to, and fit naturally into, the experience.

This is an area where banks, being on existing platforms, face a major challenge.

Mapa Research screenshot

Looking at the current PFM experiences within banking, Danske Bank in Denmark is one of our top picks. It has created an interesting journey that can be summarised as follows:

  • An extensive range of PFM features was introduced within internet banking several years ago. Characteristics: cumbersome to use, tucked away from the pages visited the most by customers after login and poor visuals.
  • For the last two to three years Danske Bank’s developments have been largely focused on mobile and tablet. Basic, intuitive and relevant visualisations have been implemented. Characteristics: prominently positioned, great visuals adding value to customers by giving them a better understanding of incomings and outgoings as well as net balance developments.
  • Recently, after having revealed a new, more, customer centric strategy in 2012 Danske Bank has implemented a refreshed, simplified and prominently positioned PFM features across desktop, tablet and mobile banking channels (in case of mobile and tablet it has been a matter of extending the number of features).

The key element of the tool that is a visualisation of recent spend per category (see screenshots below).

Mapa research PFM Report Analysis slide

A major challenge for banks as of today is to deliver consistent user experiences across the digital banking channels. In Danske Bank’s case they have managed to deliver just that with the seamless feel as illustrated above.

Noticeably, Danske Bank has chosen to focus on refreshing only key features, hence more advanced features have been saved for later. A humble approach we quite like!

In summary…

As I mentioned above much of the discussion a couple of years back was centered around how to make money from an investment, and even today we often get asked what is their business model when highlighting PFM initiatives.

PFM tools should not be judged by their immediate ROI, it should be considered as an investment in the overall user experience helping to build long term digital success by improving loyalty, customer satisfaction and engagement.

Today it is more important than to stand out with your service deliveries in a commoditized market.

A final observation is also that some banks still put PFM as optional features whereas our message is certainly to do the opposite.

Below are five central points to consider when it comes to developing PFM:

  1. Make PFM a default part of the overall banking experience.
  2. Position features on the pages that customers visit the most.
  3. Keep things simple to start with in order to get customers onboard (e.g. basic -> take action).
  4. Communicate to customers what you are doing and why.
  5. Be relevant by focusing on your existing customer base and the ones you want to attract .

The Post-it Note Goes Digital on Evernote – Digits – WSJ

The Post-it Note Goes Digital on Evernote – Digits – WSJ.

Rather than fight the digital revolution, the time-tested Post-it note is joining it.

3M Co.MMM +0.10%, which makes about 50 billion of the sticky paper notepads each year, is set to announce a partnership on Thursday with personal-organization app Evernote Corp. Together, they’ve made software that will allow people with smartphones to photograph, store and organize pictures of their Post-its.

Evernote’s software will be able to recognize the sticky notes’ distinctive colors and help organize them within the app. In other words, Evernote’s 75 million users may soon say goodbye to the legions of Post-its hanging from bathroom mirrors, car dashboards and computer screens in favor of thumbnail photos of their scribblings.

3M says the app partnership is a natural evolution for people who prefer to jot things down — but are looking for more efficient ways to organize all those ideas. “Paper really is still the easiest way to write a thought down and remember it,” said Jesse Singh, vice president of 3M’s stationery and office supplies division. “This partnership seemed an obvious choice for us for the brand.”

Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin said he had long coveted the Post-it for its simplicity and ease of use, even as he has spawned a generation of digital-first obsessives. “The Post-it is something we aspire to be,” said Mr. Libin. “They have been a hero product for us.”

It remains to be seen if the new camera function will fully replace Evernote’s digital note-taking functions. It’s not Evernote’s first foray into the physical realm – last year it teamed up with Moleskine SpA to create a line of branded leather notebooks with pages designed to be easily photographed for uploads to the app.

St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M plans to begin selling packs of Post-it notes featuring Evernote’s elephant head logo and, for a short time, offers for a free upgrade to a premium Evernote subscription for 30 days, a $5 value. 3M doesn’t disclose annual Post-it sales.

Users can designate the Post-it notes’ unique colors for different tasks; pink can represent, say, grocery lists. Mr. Libin said that off-brand sticky notes would also likely work with the app.

Other old-line industries have tried to adapt to the digital age, for fear of falling victim to it. A slew of digital writing pads and pens that converted handwriting to bytes were unreliable and failed to catch on. Paperless Inc.’s Paperless Post sought to replace the greeting card with emailed digital versions. Though, conceding that old habits are hard to break, Paperless Post last year began selling printed cards.

“Paperless as a concept is stupid,” said Mr. Libin. “The goal is to get rid of stupid uses of paper.”

3M’s Mr. Singh said he hoped the company would benefit by selling more Post-its and appealing to a broader demographic than its core of working mothers.

As for Evernote, based in Redwood City, Calif., Mr. Libin said he hopes to see a jump in downloads. Both companies will share revenue from app downloads and Post-it sales as part of the partnership.

Companies that have been slow to adapt to the digital age, like wristwatch makers and point-and-shoot camera manufacturers have seen their sales slide. Just this month, Samsung Electronics Co. introduced a computerized wristwatch that, you guessed it, also takes photographs.

Unilever systématise la co-création

Unilever systématise la co-création.

Unilever systématise la co-création

Les clients n’ont pas qu’un avis, ils ont aussi des idées. Unilever est bien décidé à en systématiser la collecte pour l’aider à innover. Pour ce faire, il a signé un accord-cadre avec la plate-forme en ligne d’Eyeka, une start-up française qui fédère, dans 150 pays, quelque 250 000 membres prêts à participer à des concours de créativité. Les services marketing du groupe américain, en Asie-Pacifique (Chine, Japon, Australie), au Moyen-Orient, en Russie et en Afrique, pourront ainsi remonter plus facilement des idées de packaging, d’usages, voire de nouveaux produits, via la plate-forme. Les participants au concours envoient leurs créations sous forme visuelle (dessin, vidéo, animation…).

Les meilleurs projets sont récompensés. Une méthode éprouvée. Unilever a déjà mené une trentaine de projets de co-création avec Eyeka, pour 16 marques, dont Clear, CloseUp, Comfort, Lipton, Lux ou Pond’s. “Le rôle des marketeurs s’apparente à celui des magiciens : surprendre les consommateurs avec des idées innovantes et des produits qui les enthousiasment. Le fait d’inviter les consommateurs les plus créatifs à contribuer à cette démarche force Unilever à se réinventer constamment”, explique Rahul Welde, le vice-président média d’Unilever pour l’Asie, l’Afrique, le Moyen-Orient et la Turquie. C’est lui qui a décidé de systématiser l’usage de la plate-forme. Une première dans ce domaine. Et une consécration pour Eyeka, une entreprise de 35 personnes qui revendique plus de 500 concours pour 40 des 100 plus grandes marques mondiales.

Schweppes, une saga maitrisée depuis 230 ans, Actualités

Schweppes, une saga maitrisée depuis 230 ans, Actualités.


DR

DR

Quel est le point commun entre un horloger allemand installé en Suisse et des noctambules cannois ? Schweppes ! C’est Johann Jacob Schweppe – sans s – qui a donné son nom à la célèbre boisson. Et c’est La Villa Schweppes, un concept ultrabranché sur l’univers de la nuit, qui a invité cette année les festivaliers à danser électro, rock ou folk sur la Croisette lors du Festival. What did you expect ? Vous vous attendiez à quoi ?. Entre l’univers réglé comme un coucou du premier et le côté déjanté du second, il est vrai qu’on pourrait s’attendre à une certaine incompatibilité d’humeur. Il n’en est rien, et si grand écart il y a, il n’est que temporel. Car Schweppes est originellement révolutionnaire à plus d’un titre. Un : c’est en 1783 que Johann Jacob brevette un procédé innovant pour dissoudre du dioxyde de carbone dans l’eau. Bref, pour fabriquer de l’eau gazeuse artificielle. Deux : c’est pour échapper à une Europe troublée qu’il émigre à Londres, en 1790. Trois : ce sont des aristocrates ayant fui la Révolution qui lancent ce « soda water » à la conquête de la Grande-Bretagne et en façonnent l’image. Au passage, Johann Jacob Schweppe aura réussi là où John Pemberton, l’inventeur du Coca-Cola aura échoué : faire de son nom la marque d’une boisson gazeuse vendue dans le monde entier et en grands volumes sans galvauder ses codes initiaux.

L’Indian Tonic, dopé à la quinine, est né aux Indes

Positionnée dès l’origine comme la boisson de la gentry anglaise, Schweppes a acquis ses lettres de noblesse, au sens strict, en s’imposant comme fournisseur officiel des altesses royales britanniques. Boisson des clubs anglais, elle conquiert les Indes avec eux, s’adaptant à ce marché en créant son fameux Indian Tonic, dopé à l’écorce de quinquina (dont on tire la quinine) pour lutter contre les fièvres ! Schweppes va cultiver sans relâche cet ADN de soft drink premium pour adultes, synonyme d’ambiance, de rencontres et de cocktails, en ciblant sa communication sur les 25-35 ans. Aujourd’hui, le site villa-schweppes.com, dédié aux noctambules, recense les soirées du tout-Paris, relaie des concerts, propose sa playlist… Même lorsqu’au début des années 80 apparaît une gamme de saveurs fruitées, sans amertume, il s’agit seulement de rajeunir la cible, sans en changer. Plus récemment, avec les très glamour actrices Nicole Kidman puis Uma Thurman, c’est carrément la sophistication du luxe et de la cosmétique qui est exploitée dans les spots publicitaires. Et ça cartonne ! En France, plus de 100 millions de litres ont été vendus en 2012 dont 75%… dans la grande distribution, assure Stanislas de Parcevaux, le directeur marketing d’Orangina-Schweppes, filiale du géant japonais Suntory. Le breuvage est classé troisième soft drink derrière Coca-Cola Regular et Oasis dans l’Hexagone. Et annonce une croissance de 6,1% fin mars, dans un marché en baisse de 3%.

 

LES RAISONS DU SUCCES
– Une marque forte développée depuis 230 ans
– Une image premium constamment réaffirmée
– Une cible « jeunes adultes branchés »
– Une innovation qui épouse l’évolution des goûts

Les Belges sont moins fidèles aux marques – lavenir.net

Les Belges sont moins fidèles aux marques – lavenir.net.

Les Belges changent souvent de marques. Seules quelques grandes marques nationales demeurent populaires avec les années, a-t-on appris mercredi dans les résultats de l’enquête European Trusted Brands 2013 menée par Reader’s Digest dans 12 pays européens dont la Belgique.

Dans le cadre de cette étude, 1.384 consommateurs belges ont été interrogés.

En Belgique, des marques nationales bien ancrées gardent toutefois la confiance des consommateurs. «Une grande partie de la population belge confie son argent à BNP Paribas Fortis (21,2%) depuis des années, fait ses courses chez Colruyt (30,9%) et boit de la bière Jupiler (37,6%)», explique Marco van Hierden, chercheur pour Reader’s Digest.

Dans la catégorie des assurances, la compagnie belge Ethias reste la plus populaire (23%). Nokia (51,5%) et Samsung (26,3%) donnent le ton pour ce qui concerne les téléphones mobiles. «Je suis étonné que Nokia soit toujours la marque de téléphone portable le plus populaire», dit Steven Van Belleghem, chasseur de tendances en marketing. «Nokia prend du retard dans la révolution qui mène du téléphone portable au smartphone. Samsung, en revanche, a prouvé qu’il évolue avec son temps en proposant rapidement des produits nouveaux, plaisants et de qualité, qui de plus sont abordables».

Dans la catégorie des tours-operators, Jetair occupe la première place avec 23,7%. Neckermann perd son leadership et suit avec 23,5%. Pour les meubles, Ikea arrive largement en tête (45%) en terme de popularité. La chaîne belge Weba est très loin à 4% de popularité.

Les grands perdants sont Shell (de 17% en 2012 à 9,1% en 2013), dépassé par la chaîne DATS en 2013 et Telenet (de 38 à 33,8%) devancé cette année par Belgacom (43%). Dans la catégorie automobile, Volkswagen prend la tête devant Citroën et Toyota.