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Exclusive: Games & Puzzles – The next move

Published on: 19th April 2021

As lockdown restrictions are eased, Rachael Simpson-Jones investigates whether the Games & Puzzles category can maintain last year’s stellar performance.

Will staycations and get-togethers fuel demand for family gaming?

In the weeks and months ahead, options for how to spend our free time are going to increase dramatically. Sports clubs and beer gardens are open once more, kids can meet their friends in the park for a kickabout, and leisure travel will be back on the cards too. After 12 months of being stuck at home, it’ll be interesting to see how the Games & Puzzles category fares as we all start to enjoy our newfound freedom (sensibly, of course) – will the end of lockdown spell the end of games nights and puzzling sessions? Our contributors don’t think so.

Games manufacturers are confident that the trend will continue. “We believe the pandemic has reignited a love for playing games, and we expect to see a spike in sales as households are allowed to mix and start looking for entertainment to enjoy together,” says Emma Weber, marketing and licensing director, Vivid Goliath Group. Roger Martin, Hobby & Independent Channel director for Asmodee UK, agrees. “It’s always been our experience that, once people discover or rediscover the joys of modern board games, it doesn’t take any convincing for them to keep playing,” he says.

It’ll also be interesting to see if new trends emerge this year that reflect what the end of lockdown means to us all in the same way that the trends of 2020 reflected being locked down, with demand for two-player games increasing, as well as for family and educational games. Lockdown viewing habits resulted in an influx of games based on TV quiz and game shows and viral social media challenges, as well as escape rooms and detective or murder mystery games, and games that got players up and moving.

Classic and traditional games have entered 2021 on strong footing, with many special editions of evergreen favourites, such as Asmodee’s Catan and Ticket to Ride, Ravensburger’s Labyrinth and Mattel’s Uno all celebrating milestone anniversaries.

Kids’ licences have played a big part in promoting sales of kids’ puzzle ranges, with both Ravensburger and Kidicraft enjoying great success, while traditional puzzles have been recognised for their mental health and mindfulness benefits, as well as simply a fun hobby.

Leading games and puzzle suppliers tell us more about their upcoming introductions and the marketing support that has been put in place, and share what support is on offer for retailers to maximise sales in-store.

With comment from Emma Weber of Vivid Goliath Group, Roger Martin of Asmodee UK, Mary Wood of Tomy, Kelly Philp of Mattel UK, Katy Fletcher, of Ravensburger, Roy Greenwood of Kidicraft and more, read the full article plus extensive product listings, which appeared in the April edition of Toy World, here.

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