Four charts showing how Lego became the biggest toymaker in the world

Emma Haslett
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Lego has become the largest toymaker in the world (Source: Getty)

Lego has snatched the "world's biggest toymaker" crown from atop Mattel's blonde, Barbie-shaped head, after The Lego Movie helped propel revenues to DK 11.5bn (£1.2bn).

Operating profit rose 12 per cent to DK 3.6bn in the six months to the end of June, while China became its most significant market, with sales up more than 50 per cent. The company has now sold 86 bricks for every person on earth - which, given its margin, is impressive. It costs just $1 (61p) to manufacture each kilo of its plastic bricks, which it then sells for $75.

The figures were confirmation of what everyone in toyland already knew - that Lego has spent the last few years quietly building the popularity of its brightly-coloured empire. With some of the best-loved video games, theme parks and (of course) toys - not to mention that ever-awesome movie - the company has gone from obscure Danish educational brand to toy empire in a matter of years.

Back in 2004, Lego's revenues were a fifth of what they are today.

But then, in 2005, it sold its theme parks for €375m (£259m then), and decided to move its focus back to what it did best: making plastic bricks.

Momentum behind the brand began to build, as interest in some rivals dropped and it warded off younger, more high-tech pretenders.

This year, it released its first movie - which became the third-highest grossing movie of the year.

And then sales just kept on rising: in the first half of last year, sales were muted compared to Mattel's - but while Lego's net sales leaped in the first half of 2014 (in part, thanks to the movie), Mattel missed expectations as interest in Barbie waned.

These days - well, we'll let the bricks do the talking.

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