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Brick by Brick: LEGO's Growing Toy Empire

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Felix Richter

Even though LEGO (a combination of the Danish words “Leg Godt”, i.e. “Play Well”) was founded in 1935, the foundation for the toy company we all know today was laid in 1958, when Godtfred Kirk Christiansen submitted a patent application for a “toy building element” using the iconic studs and tubes that would eventually turn hundreds of millions of children around the world into budding architects.

More than 60 years later, January 28, the day the patent application was filed, marks International Lego Day in celebration of a toy that has bridged generations, sparking creativity in kids and adults alike. With theme parks and movies dedicated to the colorful building blocks and minifigures, LEGO has long evolved into a cultural phenomenon, turning the LEGO Group into one of the largest toy companies in the world.

As the following chart shows, the LEGO Group’s revenue has grown more than fivefold over the past two decades, reaching $5.8 billion in 2019. The company employs 18,800 people worldwide and operates more than 600 LEGO stores as well as several Legoland theme parks. Interestingly, the “toy building element” business has also proven largely immune to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first half of 2020, the Billund-based LEGO Group achieved double-digit profit growth while revenue grew 7 percent compared to the previous year.

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