LEGO Ideas 90th anniversary survey: Bionicle wins 1st round, but nearly half the users want a castle

Update (January 26, 2021, 3:29 p.m.): Yesterday, the LEGO Ideas team closed the first round of voting and we have the final results for you! One day before, an interim result had already been sent out via email, summarizing the top ten choices at that time and inviting the users to participate in the poll if they had not done so, yet:

This intermediate result coincided almost perfectly with the one we had calculated three days earlier (see original post below), only Model Team had meanwhile pushed the Town series out of 10th place on the list (the gap had been 0.1% of the votes on January 21).

The LEGO Ideas team has not yet published an official overall result of the poll, but we have run our own analysis again and come up with the following final result of the first round of voting:

RankThemeVotesShare of total votesShare of total users
1Bionicle1874312,3%32%
2Classic Space135588,9%23,2%
3Pirates114617,5%19,6%
4Trains111187,3%19%
5Adventurers110317,2%18,9%
6Classic Castle92896,1%15,9%
7Forestmen61934,1%10,6%
8Imperials54183,6%9,3%
9Lion Knights52543,4%9%
10Model Team49443,2%8,4%
11Town49213,2%8,4%
12Black Knights47263,1%8,1%
13Dragon Knights45833%7,8%
14Space Police43542,9%7,4%
15Rock Raiders40942,7%7%
16Studios40762,7%7%
17Blacktron40162,6%6,9%
18Ice Planet34832,3%6%
19Black Falcons31492,1%5,4%
20Aquazone30242%5,2%
21M-Tron27671,8%4,7%
22Alpha Team22081,4%3,8%
23Paradisa20071,3%3,4%
24Time Cruisers17331,1%3%
25Wolfpack16871,1%2,9%
26Exploriens12440,8%2,1%
27Arctic11400,7%1,9%
28Divers10130,7%1,7%
29Spyrius5970,4%1%
30Xtreme Team5780,4%1%

In its email to the participants of the survey, the LEGO Ideas team once again made it unmistakably clear that only the top 3 themes of the first round would enter the second round. We already formulated our concerns that the strong fragmentation of the Space and especially the Castle theme could possibly distort the actual will of the Ideas users in an article on January 20 (English translation here). In our own survey in the German version of the article, 68 percent of the readers stated that they had confused the theme “Classic Castle” with an umbrella term meaning “old castles” in general at the time of voting at LEGO Ideas. Another 25 percent of the participating readers felt the same way about the “Classic Space” theme.

In the original post below, we therefore made a theoretical calculation of what the result of the Ideas survey would have looked like if only “Castle”, “Space” and “Pirates” had been available for selection in the first round instead of the various sub-themes – under the (presumably false) assumption that this would not have influenced the voting behavior in any other way.

We have now repeated this calculation for the final result: Aggregating all users who voted for at least one Castle, Space or Pirates theme, and then counting each as one vote for the theoretical “supercategory” without fragmentation, the top 5 of the Ideas poll would have been as follows:

RankThemeVotesShare of total users
1Castle2494942,6%
2Space2456342%
3Bionicle1874332%
4Pirates1483525,4%
5Trains1111819%

We hope that the LEGO Ideas team will take this fact into account in some way.

Finally, a note on data quality: During our evaluation, we noticed that a very small portion of users (only 22 out of nearly 60,000) were apparently able to vote twice, probably due to a bug. We did not take these votes into account in the evaluation. However, the proportion of these votes is so small that it has no significant impact, especially not on the top 3 choices.


Original post (January 21, 2021, 8:38 pm): A few days ago, on our German-language LEGO blog we reported about the currently running LEGO Ideas poll on The LEGO Groups upcoming anniversary set. Hardly any poll at LEGO has attracted such attention and discussions so far. A few days later, we then also voiced our concerns about the design of the poll. Today, we’re taking another look at the issue, as we have the interim results of the official LEGO Ideas poll for you.

This first poll was explicitly and intentionally designed transparent by LEGO and at LEGO Ideas the voting behavior of the over 55,000 users (status: January 20) can be viewed individually. We were able to aggregate the data for you with the help of our reader Abd El (thank you!) and enriched it with our own data to evaluate the current interim status of the poll. And we had already let it slip in previous posts as a first inkling: The international numbers and the results of our own survey only match to a very limited extent.

This article was originally written in German and later translated to English. Please exuse any mistranslations that might have happened and let us know in the comments if you don’t understand something or if you find an error!

Interim result of our own survey

Let’s first take a look at the interim result that came out of our own poll at the current time. We made this poll for our German readers the same day the official poll on LEGO Ideas started. The top 5 results, after exactly 3,333 votes cast, would be as follows:

  • Pirates (13%, 1,108 votes)
  • Classic Castle (11%, 926 votes)
  • Trains (10%, 886 votes)
  • Classic Space (8%, 673 votes)
  • Adventurers (6%, 548 votes)

As a German LEGO blog aimed primarily at adult readers, this survey probably represents a pretty good impression of the mood in the adult, German-speaking LEGO community. But of course our results are not representative for the international market. Because while in Europe the Castle theme is very important (probably thanks to the fact that castles are part of our culture and past) in the USA and Asia they play a somewhat less important role.

But even among our readers, the voting on the topic of “Castle” was not always perfect, as our comment on the survey shows.

Lack of clarity about what “Classic Castle” and “Classic Space” is

In our comment on the poll, more than 1,300 of our readers each voted on what they thought (at the moment when they took the poll at LEGO Ideas) was behind the terms “Classic Castle” and “Classic Space.”

In the “Classic Space” question it was clear to 75% of the participants that these are the gray-blue-yellow sets from the years 1978 to 1986. Only 25% of our readers thought of other Space sets from the 1980s or 1990s when they hear the term “Classic Space”. The situation is quite different for “Classic Castle”.

Here, 67% of our readers assumed that “Classic Castle” simply meant any knight’s castle from the 1980s or 1990s. Only 33% actually associate the term “Classic Castle” with The LEGO Groups first Castle series from 1978, whose most iconic set the LEGO 375 Castle made of yellow bricks is.

This shows that, at least in German-speaking countries, many LEGO Ideas users may have misinterpreted the term “Classic Castle” while casting their votes. Internationally (especially in English-speaking countries), however, the percentage might be lower, as here at least the language barrier is not a problem.

But enough about our numbers, let’s take a look at the current interim results.

The interim status of the official poll in absolute figures

We would like to mention once again: The numbers we are evaluating here are an interim result of the poll. We have evaluated the votes of all 55,159 LEGO Ideas users who voted until January 20th. The poll is still running until January 25 and therefore some things can still change.

And the numbers currently look like this. We have tabulated the whole thing so that you have an overview of the absolute number of votes as well as the percentage of the total votes and the percentage of the total users that voted.

RankThemeVotesShare of total votesShare of total users
1Bionicle17.11111,9%31%
2Classic Space13.0129%23,6%
3Pirates10.7607,5%19,5%
4Trains10.6467,4%19,3%
5Adventurers10.4777,3%19%
6Classic Castle8.8536,1%16%
7Forestmen5.9364,1%10,8%
8Imperials5.0543,5%9,2%
9Lion Knights5.0003,5%9,1%
10Town4.7803,3%8,7%
11Model Team4.7493,3%8,6%
12Black Knights4.4563,1%8,1%
13Dragon Knights4.3983%8%
14Space Police4.1272,9%7,5%
15Blacktron3.8222,6%6,9%
16Rock Raiders3.8202,6%6,9%
17Studios3.8162,6%6,9%
18Ice Planet3.3362,3%6%
19Black Falcons2.9592,1%5,4%
20Aquazone2.8822%5,2%
21M-Tron2.6161,8%4,7%
22Alpha Team2.0411,4%3,7%
23Paradisa1.9411,3%3,5%
24Time Cruisers1.6331,1%3%
25Wolfpack1.6141,1%2,9%
26Exploriens1.2060,8%2,2%
27Arctic1.0900,8%2%
28Divers9590,7%1,7%
29Spyrius5690,4%1%
30Xtreme Team5640,4%1%

Internationally, the Bionicle theme is clearly in the lead, which is traditionally met with astonishment and incomprehension in this country.

In the USA in particular, however, Bionicle is a theme that has great significance for almost an entire generation, not only because of the actual sets, but also because of the TV series and a lot of “trappings”. You could perhaps say that LEGO Bionicle was the LEGO Ninjago of the 2000s. But I’ll go into that more later.

Analysis of the users’ voting behavior

Now let’s take a look at exactly how users voted in the poll. Up to three votes could be cast, but it was also possible to select just one theme. And here, the different themes also show a very different voting behavior.

Many fans only want Bionicle

One thing is particularly striking: there are an extremely large number of users who cast only one vote instead of three, namely for Bionicle.

The three most casted vote combinations in total look like this:

  • Bionicle (6,586 users, equivalent to 11.9%).
  • Classic Castle, Classic Space, Pirates (648 users, equivalent to 1.2%)
  • Classic Space (575 users, corresponds to 1.0%)

So, of the 17,111 people who voted for Bionicle in total, 38.5% want only Bionicle and no other theme for the anniversary.

However, this can be explained, because LEGO Bionicle is very different from other themes and was quite “isolated” from the other themes in terms of construction, intensity of background story, and also the time period where it was available. So it is quite fitting that many users vote exclusively for Bionicle because the other themes are simply out of the question for them – they were not part of their childhood.

In the survey, it is by far the most current theme, which was on sale from 2001 to 2010 and again from 2015 to 2016. So it’s probably of interest to LEGO fans who are now around 18 to 30 years old – a generation that is very active on social media and organizes itself there.

What if there was only “Castle”?

Now let’s take a look at what would have happened if LEGO had not fragmented the survey so much and instead of the seven different Castle sub-themes, there had only been the “Castle” theme as one big overall theme. Of course, we can’t simply add up the percentages of the individual votes, because then, for example, the users who voted for three different Castle sub-themes would be counted three times, which would extremely distort the result.

So the relevant question is: How many users have voted for at least one Castle subtheme?

  • 23.738 users have voted for at least one Castle subtheme
  • 6.370 users have voted for Classic Castle, but no other castle theme
  • 2.557 users have voted for castle themes only

So out of the 23,738 Castle fans, 10.7% want nothing but any Castle set for the anniversary.

What if there were only “Space”?

With Space, the distinction between the themes is much clearer, but as a little thought experiment, we asked ourselves the same question for the Space subthemes: How many users voted for at least one Space theme?

  • 23.396 users voted for at least one Space subtheme
  • 2.457 users have voted exclusively for Space themes

So 10.5% of Space fans want nothing but an anniversary set of any Space theme.

What if there were only “Pirates”?

The Pirates theme is also divided into “Pirates” and “Imperials” in the voting. Even though this is by far not as strong a fragmentation as the other themes, for the sake of completeness we want to summarize them here as well.

  • 13,927 users have voted for at least one of the pirate subthemes
  • 311 users have voted exclusively for one or both pirate subthemes

So for the pirates, it’s like only 2.2% of users really want nothing but a pirate set for the 90th anniversary.

What does that mean?

In this section, we want to take a look at the overall result, which is based on the assumption that the “Castle”, “Space” and “Pirates” themes would have been combined into one large theme each, as described above. However, we would like to emphasize that these figures are based on a presumably faulty assumption that the voting behavior of the users would not have changed as well due to the changed answer options. So please consider this purely a thought experiment.

When we add up these aggregated numbers, we come up with a new Top 5. Again, we’ve created a table that this time only gives you the percentage of users, because in this case we can’t really estimate how many votes would have been cast in total.

RankThemeUsersShare of total users
1Castle23.73843%
2Space23.39642,4%
3Bionicle17.11131%
4Pirates13.92725,2%
5Trains10.64619,3%

Although Bionicle remains in the top 3 here, the Castle theme actually shows up in first place now. The Space theme remains in second place and the Pirates “disappear” to 4th place.

It remains, however, that this thought experiment will probably not be relevant. If the poll continues as it is, LEGO will be able to choose between Bionicle, Classic Space and Pirates when it comes to making the anniversary set a reality.

Interesting: The number of LEGO Ideas new registrations

It stands to reason that such a vote on LEGO Ideas will not only generate a lot of activity, but also a lot of new registrations. Certainly not every LEGO fan is registered at LEGO Ideas and every day new people come to the LEGO hobby, may it be for the first time or coming back after their “dark ages”.

We in the StoneWars team have been monitoring the number of new Ideas registrations for quite some time. In the last few days, the number of new registered users has exploded. While the number of new registrations from September 2020 to December 2020 averaged 1,076 users per day, a stunning number of 10,748 new users registered with LEGO Ideas on January 17 alone, the first day of the survey. In total, 28,666 new users registered on LEGO Ideas in the four days from January 17 to 20, which comes to an average of about 7,167 new users per day.

We have plotted the total number of users (orange) and the number of newly registered users (blue) over a period of the last 133 days.

LEGO Ideas New Users

To what extent these new users are actually all real people, we can not judge. In practice, it’s pretty quick to create a new LEGO Ideas account and cast a vote. All you need is an email address.

Presumably, at least some of the new accounts have been created solely to participate in the poll. However, we assume that LEGO will certainly have this in mind in some way. In the next few days, we will try to take a look at the voting behavior of the users who have only registered at Ideas since January 17, in order to be able to give a rough estimate of whether a disproportionately large share votes for a certain theme.

Conclusion

It is difficult to draw a finalized conclusion from the interim results, because our data analysis is of course fraught with uncertainties and in some places there are underlying assumptions that could well prove to be wrong.

Nevertheless, two things in particular are apparent: First, LEGO Bionicle has a large number of supporters internationally among LEGO Ideas users. In the social media, the first campaigns are already running among LEGO fans, some of which are also supported by LEGO designers, calling for votes for Bionicle and this plan definitely seems to be working.

Furthermore, the “Classic Castle”, which is popular in Germany, is much less relevant internationally and only comes in 6th place in the interim results of the survey. However, if all Castle sub-themes were aggregated into one, Castle would actually be in first place in the survey, followed by the combined Space theme. However, even here Bionicle would remain in the top 3 and thus remains a candidate for the anniversary set.

What do you think of the current interim results of the survey? Are you surprised about the results, or would you have expected that? Are there any points that are still unclear to you? We are looking forward to your feedback and questions about our little analysis!

About Lukas Kurth 1752 Articles
LEGO Liebhaber und Star Wars Fan seit der frühen Kindheit. Begeisterungsfähig und immer Kind geblieben. 30 Jahre alt, studierter Maschinenbauingenieur und der Mensch und Gründer hinter StoneWars.de

3 Comments

  1. It is also quite noteworthy that when lego’s sales were falling quite dramatically and they were steadily slipping into bankruptcy from the licenses for themes like starwars costing more than they were making, lego made bionicle as a kind of a last ditch effort to save the company, and amazingly it worked. Without bionicle 20 years ago, its likely that lego wouldn’t be celebrating its 90th year at all.

  2. Do you have a document detailing the users and the votes they have made in the 1st poll. Would be appreciated if that data could be made available, might be possible to predict the outcome of the 2nd poll with such information.

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