So back in 2009, I wished the LEGO Group "And here's to TLG, may you have the wisdom to make better products and resist the temptation of corporate greed -- that have plagued so many other companies and brought us to the brink of economic ruin in the first place!" -- I added the emphasis.
So "better products" in 2012? I my mind, the clear winner was Friends. The number of licensed products is staggering -- Star Wars, SpongeBob Squarepants, DC Comics/Marvel Comics, Disney Cars 2/Princesses, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, & Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. The price-per-piece is growing across the board... It's more noticeable in licensed sets, but compare price-per-piece of a parts bucket from now to about 10 years ago -- I spotted the #10662 LEGO Creative Bucket at the LEGO Imagination Center last weekend, it's $0.0494/pieces, compared to $0.02/piece -- not a terrible deal, but the Basic Bricks and More sets are around $0.16/part now (if it includes a minifig), compared to $0.06/part a few years earlier.
Grab bags are no longer a option at a LEGO store. Damage set discounts are around 10% instead of 20%. Christmas clearance was abysmal; didn't find many sets on sale, just products that LEGO licensed their brand out to, like containers. And the release of this article doesn't help AFOLs; it just drives up after-market prices.
Speaking of which, I've been the admin to Facebook group, called Bricklink Worldwide Buyers and Sellers... I don't mind talking about buying/selling of LEGO talk, just don't like Shoe spam!
But the thought that the LEGO Group "(we) don't closely follow after market activity," is silly. Considering LEGO has decided to re-release sets at the current (after) market value, instead of the original price (see: 3451 @ $50 vs. 10226 @ $100; 10152 @ $75 vs 10155 @ $120)... I have a theory that the only people willing to buy the high-priced LEGO sets will eventually all be market speculators, not fans.
The last few years have been the most profitable years for The LEGO Group, but it's in the process of cutting back on (AFOL) community out-reach. Instead of thanking those that help pushed LEGO into the main-stream, it is cutting back in support.
So with 2013, as far as the hobby is concerned, I think my focus will shift to not put money into TLG's pockets and focus more on building with the parts I have on hand and becoming more organized... I know, an empty New Year's resolution, but I can try. :)