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Puzzling Business: Is it Time to Capitalize on the Low-Tech Game Trend?

Puzzle Game Feature Image

Regular readers of this blog will know that we always try to keep our fingers on the pulse of eCommerce trends. 

If you’d asked us a year ago the trends to expect in 2021, we might have pointed to drone delivery, expedited payments, and a greater reliance on online shopping over brick and mortar store. 

Surely, something no one was expecting was the massive resurgence in the popularity of board games and jigsaw puzzles. 

By some accounts, Covid-19 has contributed to a 25% growth in the board game industry, and since today is National Puzzle Day, we figured there was no better time to explore this low-tech industry as a possible business. 

A low-tech solution

There’s no denying that the Covid crisis has given a boost to plenty of new technologies, from Zoom and DoorDash to Netflix and Fortnite, but tons of consumers have also moved in the opposite direction towards classic puzzles and board games. 

In an attempt to stave on lockdown boredom, people have been turning to 1,000 to 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzles, as well as tabletop board games and card games, to kill time. 

Even without the opportunity to meet in big groups, exchange games, and play, the low-tech game business managed unprecedented growth through 2020, scaling up by a quarter through the year. 

Is there money to be made?

Board game

Ok, we know what you’re thinking: is it worth getting into the puzzle and board game business? As we see it, there are four main factors that really play in board games and puzzles’ favor. 

1. Low startup costs

The low unit costs of this kind of product (not to mention its long-term storability) make it ideal for aspiring online sellers without a huge amount of startup capital. 

It’s also worth mentioning that, although this is a growing industry, the average ad spend required for a high-impact campaign is relatively low. 

Moreover, this is the kind of business that lends itself well to a dropshipping model. This means you don’t even necessarily need to invest in inventory before making sales. 

With dropshipping, you can build a store with a huge selection of product, and you’ll only need to purchase those

2. High ROI

Just because starting this kind of business is relatively low, that doesn’t mean you’ll have thin margins. 

Games and puzzles can have a pretty significant markup from wholesale to retail, and if you market your business right, you could enjoy high volume sales too. 

Just make sure that you shop around for wholesalers willing to do you good deals, even on relatively low-volume orders. If you do opt for a dropshipping model, you should also shop around for a provider, and compare quotes and reviews. 

3. Growing market 

As mentioned before, this is a business that is on the rise. 

Why wouldn’t you want to cash in on a market that’s currently enjoying such accelerated growth?

One of the main benefits of having something specific to point to for attributing the cause of growth is that it makes marketing your products super easy. 

Imaging your messaging: “Stuck at home? Need something to do? Buy my games!”

This is not a hard-sell. 

4. Used is as good as new 

One of the absolutely beautiful things about the board game and puzzle business is that consumers have a much higher than average willingness to buy this kind of product second-hand. 

This opens up a whole new window of opportunity for sellers. If you play your cards right, you could pick up high-quality used sets for as little as $1 or $2 dollars, and flip them for up to 10 times more. 

While buying and selling second-hand throws up a new set of challenges as well (consider how your supply chain and inventory management will differ), the massive ROI would certainly make up for that. 

With this in mind, second-hand games and puzzles selling is a great option for super low budget sellers who want to break into a decent revenue stream. 

Is the puzzle and board game business resilient?

Playing puzzle

Sure, Covid has given the industry a little boost, but does that mean that there is longevity and long-term potential in the business?

You may be surprised to learn that, even without the impact of the pandemic, board games and jigsaw puzzles have been enjoying steady growth over the last decade. 

With the increasing mainstreaming of traditional ‘geek’ culture, a growing prevalence of ‘board game cafes’, and popular appreciation for board games of all kind on the rise, this was already a blossoming industry. 

While the impressive growth seen during this current crisis is unlikely to be sustained, its pretty much guaranteed that the industry will remain strong for years to come. 

Get yourself into the games game

Ready to try your luck in board games and puzzles? A Zyro website is the perfect place to start. 

Not only will you be able to set your entire online store in a matter of minutes, but you can instantly integrate your Zyro store with your Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram sellers accounts to reach a massive audience. 

Given that board games and puzzles are the perfect products to market and sell on social media and online marketplaces, this functionality can propel your business into speedy success. 

Written by

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Duncan is obsessed with making website building and eCommerce accessible to everyone. He explains the best tools and the latest digital marketing trends in ways that are clear and engaging. His focus is on supporting the sustainable growth of small to medium-sized enterprises. When not writing, he enjoys deep sea fishing and endurance cycling.

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