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Lego has the right pieces for growth, but digital challenges loom

1 month ago by Jon Marino in Retail

Lego ($LEGO), the Danish maker of plastic blocks that make joyous memories for children's formative years, and painful memories for barefoot adults cleaning up after their kids, continues to grow and rival the biggest American toymakers - but its social buzz leave more to be desired by its marketing team. 

Lego doesn't have to report earnings since it's a privately-held company - so the holidays are as good a time as any to take inventory of the toymaker's performance, and how it reflects on competition as well. 

The good news is that Lego's LinkedIn ($NASDAQ:MSFT) Employee Headcount continues to rise and to do so steadily. So far in 2019, headcount at Lego is up a little under 10%. 

The bad news about Lego's Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) Talking About Count is that it's been relatively stagnant. The upside is, from a branding perspective, Lego's ubiquitous naming has given the product a huge advantage over competitors like Hasbro, which may make toys - but make toys that are in no means eponymous.

As a result, Lego has a big advantage on social media - every product it sells is branded right back to the parent company. Hasbro has for its most popular Facebook account, less than 3.4 million Likes, just a fraction of Lego's engagement (Lego has more than 13 million Likes). 

Still, all toymakers are seeming struggling against screen time to maintain their long-term viability. Retailer bankruptcies are chipping into toy sales - but more recent forecasts have hitched hopes to a resurgence in sales. Part of the challenge here may simply be that as smartphones proliferate globally, they're making their way to younger and younger consumers - and that's creating an attention deficit for Lego's products. 

Lego's Facebook Likes Count (not shown) has leveled off, signaling that some users of the social network may be hitting peak engagement. But, that's not the case on Twitter ($NYSE:TWTR): so far in 2019, Lego's Twitter Follower Count has risen to nearly 650,000, and added about 15% new followers this year alone. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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