Puzzle boom: UK jigsaw sales rise 38% to £100m in 2020

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
A woman does a jigsaw puzzle at her home in Manchester, England. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters
A woman does a jigsaw puzzle at her home in Manchester, England. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

While the outlook for other parts of the UK economy was gloomy in January, sales of jigsaw puzzles in Britain ballooned by 48% in 2020, as COVID-19 restrictions led people to turn to different forms of entertainment.

The boom was driven by adults, rather than by children, with 15 million sold over the course of the year, according to a report in The Guardian.

Sales totalled £100m ($137.2m) for the full year, with the best selling format coming in at 1,000 pieces and costing around £12, the report said.

Analysts said puzzles depicting cosy sheds and animals were in high demand, as people sought comforting imagery.

The puzzle boom was evident early on in the pandemic, when retailers and Amazon (AMZN) saw them fly out of their warehouses and off the shelves.

READ MORE: Pandemic Necessities: Guns, Jigsaw Puzzles, Yeast Among Items Flying Off The Shelves

And it wasn’t just contained within the UK; the New York Times reported in April that North American puzzle sales for one maker jumped 370% in late March over the same period last year. Google searches for puzzles were also up more than 600%.

Similarly, other games saw a boost. Games Workshop (GAW.L), best known for its Warhammer games, said it has seen a surge in revenue and profit for the six months to 29 November 2020, as the games sector saw an increase in popularity thanks to people stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

German toymaker Ravensburger also said its sales were boosted by more than a fifth in 2020, with the UK singled out as a particular growth sector. It said it sold a third more puzzles than in 2019 — a total of 28 million.

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