With a growing number of consumers quarantined at home, some old pastimes are getting a fresh look. Jigsaw puzzles, for both adults and children, are one activity of choice that has marketers scrambling to meet the unexpected demand.
“There has been a resurgence in jigsaw puzzles,” says Chris Byrne, a toy industry expert known as “The Toy Guy.” He notes that improvements in manufacturing, such as laser cutting, have made it both easier and cheaper to produce puzzles, making them one of the most profitable items in the toy aisle for brands and retailers.
The uptick began in early March, as many schools started announcing indefinite closures as a result of the growing threat of coronavirus. The majority of toy sales increases came from the games and puzzles category for the week ending March 14, according to research firm NPD Group Inc. “Consumers turned to toys that offer social interaction in the home at a time of social distancing,” says Juli Lennett, NPD Group’s toy industry analyst.