Exclusive: Feature – Games & Puzzles

Published on: 12th April 2022

Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to a selection of leaders in the Games & Puzzles space to find out how they’re approaching the category this year and what new opportunities lie ahead.

The Games & Puzzles category was one that fared exceptionally well during the pandemic, and now that particular fog is lifting, it’s clear that a return to normality doesn’t mean a slump in sales. In the February issue of Toy World, putting paid to the notion that fatigue might be setting in amongst consumers, The NPD Group’s Melissa Symonds reported that Games & Puzzles was the second fastest growing category in the last two years, up +16% (an additional +£36m) and representing 12% of total toy market sales. The data showed the category had retained an impressive 85% of the 2020 gains in 2021, with trading card games – particularly Pokémon, which this year benefits from the launch of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet on Nintendo – and family board and action games holding their own particularly well, alongside adult puzzles.

As a category, Games & Puzzles benefitted from the impacts of Covid-19, as billions of consumers sought ways to stave off cabin fever at home during the long months of lockdown. Of course (rightly or wrongly), restrictions have now all but vanished across much of the UK & Ireland, with only mask mandates to go in some areas. There’s always been a slight concern that, once life returned to something more closely resembling normality, sales in this category could decrease – but it seems many people are planning a year of get-togethers and celebrations.

There’s input from Beth Motherwell, UK marketing manager at Big Potato, Anil Boodhoo, a director at Asmodee, Mark Jones, sales director at University Games and The Lagoon Group, Kelly Philp, Mattel’s marketing director, Rob Wolf, head of Marketing for Boys + Games at Moose, Rebecca Hersee, marketing executive at Gibsons Games, Joeri Hoste, general manager at Exploding Kittens, and more.

Asmodee’s Anil Boodhoo summed up working in the Games & Puzzles category when he said: “We all feel tremendously lucky that we get to wake up and play games each day. I don’t think that any of us will ever forget what a privileged position that is.”

To find out about all the latest product introductions and developments in areas such as sustainabilty, check out the full article, which appeared in the April edition of Toy World here.


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