Exclusive: Play to win – indie retailers on Games and Puzzles

Published on: 9th September 2020

Indie retailers spoke to Toy World about being on the front line of advising customers about the latest games and puzzles on offer.

Becky, Joseph and Ian

In what has been a unique and difficult year to date, the toy industry as a whole as proved resilient and games and puzzles has been one of the top selling categories supporting the industry during a challenging retail period. For many indie retailers and games specialists trading during lockdown, games and puzzles were flying out the door and continue to be a popular choice among kids and adults.

Known for their specialist knowledge of the category and vast selection of games and puzzles on offer, Eclectic Games, in Reading, has experienced huge demand across its product portfolio. Manager, Becky Ottery, adds: “Over lockdown, sales in our puzzles category went absolutely mad, which was an industry wide trend. Since reopening, sales have levelled off, although the category continues to tick over comfortably. There has been a lot of activity across the two-player and family games section; two player editions from Kosmos Games, the Disney Villainous range from Ravensburger and Escape Games have all been top sellers.”

For QT Toys and Games in Wandsworth, its the classic titles that have proved popular over recent months, with Monopoly and Cluedo sitting comfortably at the top as best-sellers, among others. With demand remaining steady year-on-year, manager Joseph Yap, tells us why classic games and puzzles remain such a strong contender in today’s society.

“I think a lot of parents encourage their children to incorporate games and puzzles into their play routine as an antidote to excessive to screen time. Games and puzzles will always be a popular alternative activity that offers interaction, stimulation and enrichment.”

Amid an uncertain year, Ian Davis of Rules of Play, Cardiff, looks ahead to the rest of 2020 and what it could have in store for the category. “It is difficult to say how the games and puzzles category will fare moving forward. A fair chunk of that business moved online during lockdown, with big hitters like Amazon picking up a fair percentage of sales. It’s too early to tell how much will revert back to bricks and mortar stores like ours, or whether shopping habits will change. We are here to offer personal advice and assistance to those customers who do come out, and either way I think the boardgame industry will remain buoyant; it is a dependable category that will never shrink.”

Read the full Talking Shop feature in the September Games and Puzzles supplement, here.


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