Just a decade ago, Lego was on the brink of bankruptcy.
The company was facing mounting competition from internet and video games, writes Jonathan Ringen at Fast Company.
The company was able to turn around business by exhaustively researching customers in its “Future Lab” run by scientific researchers.
Researchers found a big difference between American and European parents, according to Ringen.
“American parents don’t like play experiences where they have to step in and help their kids a lot. They want their kids to be able to play by themselves,” Future Lab leader Anne Flemmert-Jensen told Fast Company.
Meanwhile, European parents are more hands-on.
“We see among European parents, it’s OK to sit on the floor and spend time with the kids,” she said.
When Fast Company asked if its possible that American parents wanted their kids to be independent, she replied “that’s one of many possible interpretations.”
These insights influence the assortments Lego offers in the two regions. American Lego sets are theoretically less complicated, because kids probably need to assemble them on their own.
While Lego’s insight about American parents might be unflattering, it makes sense.
Europeans tend to have a longer transition into adulthood, with many young adults continuing to live with their parents until their late 20s.