Puzzle manufacturers see jump in sales due to Covid-19

Orders for puzzles have surged as adults and children face spending more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic, according to manufacturers.

Firms are reporting sales increases of over 150% since many people are now staying at home and self-isolating.

At the Malmesbury-based Wentworth Wooden Jigsaw Company, sales have rocketed in both the US and UK in recent days.

Managing director Sarah Watson said: “Sales have gone through the roof. In the UK they have gone up 150% and in the last seven days, four times.

“Really since Boris Johnson’s speech things have noticeably kicked in. The massive increase in sales kind of caught us out.

“What we’ve noticed is that the puzzles that are being purchased more are the larger ones – the 1,000-piece puzzles. Mostly this time of the year we would be selling 250-piece puzzles.

“We are struggling to keep up with demand without anyone off ill. Where we might struggle is if our production staff or dispatch staff are off ill or self-isolating.”

Devon-based Map Marketing has seen a 210% rise in orders during March compared to last year.

The firm, which trades online as All Jigsaw Puzzles, said it had also seen a rise in engagement on social media because of the Covid-19 crisis.

“Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to entertain yourself at home without screens and other digital distractions,” said marketing director Cynthia Yeoh.

“It is an activity which can be done on your own or with your family and loved ones.”

But she warned that the increased demand was putting extra pressure on staff to meet the orders and there would be delays.

She added: “To be completely honest, we were not prepared for this.

“I hope that our customers understand. We are currently fulfilling orders in a timely manner across all our channels, but we are currently only able to deliver to the UK, USA and Ireland as our carriers are still operating there.

“It is possible that there will be a small delay of a few days as we try and keep up.

“We are aware that at some point we may have to close our doors, but in the meantime, our team is working so hard to meet our customers’ wishes and keep our little business going.”

But not all puzzle manufacturers are continuing to trade.

The Alize Group, which operates in the UK as JigsawPuzzle.co.uk, has temporarily closed its logistics service with staff now at home.

“Despite all of our efforts, the coronavirus has reached our region and we cannot guarantee our team’s safety any more,” said company president Eric Lathiere-Lavergne in a statement.

“We will get the better of this virus – and we will be back stronger than ever, to give you a chance to enjoy jigsaw puzzles from all over the world.”