Britons spent £100million on jigsaws in 2020, as demand soars

Puzzle mania sweeps UK as lockdown Britons spent £100 MILLION on jigsaws in 2020 – with manufacturers struggling to keep up with demand

  • Demand for puzzles has skyrocketed by 38 per cent in last year during lockdown
  • The huge sales increase has left some jigsaw makers struggling to meet demand
  • Global industry analyst Frédérique Tutt told the Guardian boost is ‘unheard of’

Bored Britons searching for a new hobby during lockdown have turned to jigsaw puzzles, sparking a huge increase in sales.

Britons spent a whopping £100million on puzzles in 2020, with sales rocketing sales by 38 per cent.

The huge increase has left some manufacturers struggling to keep up with the soaring demand, according to the Guardian. 

Frédérique Tutt, global industry analyst at the market researchers NPD, told the paper that such a sales boost is ‘totally unheard of’.

He said: ‘Manufacturers have said to us, you could sell anything, even a white image.

Britain has been hit by puzzle mania with more than £100million spent on jigsaws across 2020. Pictured: Library image of a couple completing a puzzle

Britons looking for a new hobby in lockdown have turned to puzzles – skyrocketing demand by 38 per cent. Pictured: A library image of a father and child completing a puzzle

Frédérique Tutt, global industry analyst at the market researchers NPD, told the paper that such a sales boost is ‘totally unheard of’. Pictured: A library image of a couple completing a jigsaw

‘They ran out of stock in the spring and again just before Christmas.’

Other indoor activities have also seen a boost. Video games have soared in popularity in 2020 due to people spending more time staying at home.

Families and flatmates have also beguiled themselves with more real-world forms of recreation, such as the board game Articulate!, where players have to describe as many words as possible written on cards in 30 seconds to their teammates. 

For every word they answer correctly, their team moves one place around a board, and the winner is the team that manages to get the whole way round.

A virtual version also exists and has been accessed half a million times according to Claire McCool, whose firm Drumond Park designed the game. She nonetheless believes its the game’s face-to-face aspects that make it so popular.

Ms McCool said: ‘What is so great about playing the likes of Articulate is you’re actually chatting with people, you’re communicating with them, you’re looking them in the eye, you’re not looking at the screen.’

Drumond Park also makes Rapidough, a sort of playdough mixed with charades, and The Logo Game, whose second edition launched in August and which is expected by them to sell more than 120,000 units in 2020.

This booming business has been reflected across the wider industry, where there have been substantial sales of old-time favourites such as Monopoly, Scrabble and UNO. 

Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit sent sales of chess sets escalating as viewers became enthralled by the tale of an orphaned prodigy conquering the chess world while wrestling with the demons of addiction. 

In the world of puzzles, German toymaker Ravensburger said its overall sales increased by more than a fifth to £546m in 2020.

The company reportedly saw demand for puzzles rise by a third, selling a total of 28million last year. Growth of sales in the UK was singled out as a major factor.

Meanwhile, Julie Wilkins, of Dorset-based JHG Puzzles, told the Guardian its sales in 2020 had quadrupled, making it the company’s biggest year since it started in 1997. 

The British tabletop games industry was on a boom before the pandemic. Games publisher Asmodee estimates its worth rose by £100million to £350million between 2014 and 2018. 

No retailer in the sector has done better than Games Workshop, whose share price has climbed by over 26 times in value during the 2010s, the second-highest increase of any FTSE 250 enterprise.

The British tabletop games industry was on a boom before the pandemic. Pictured: Games Workshop has posted record profits

That dominance has continued into this year despite the impact by store closures, and according to reports in December, its six-month trading update, sales and pre-tax profits were estimated at £185million and at least £90million respectively, all significant rises on the same time in 2019.

Consumer data firm Statista estimates the worldwide tabletop games sector will be worth $12billion by 2023, up from $7.2billion in 2017.

Other stay-at-home hobbies which have seen sales increases in the pandemic include the DIY industry.  

Last year, B&Q’s owner, Kingfisher, which operates about 1,380 stores in the UK and Ireland, reported that like-for-like sales surged by 16.9 per cent between 1 November and 9 January, compared with a year earlier.

Shares of the group, which also runs Screwfix, climbed 2.7 per cent earlier this month, amid acceleration in fourth quarter like-for-like sales growth.

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