Jigsaw puzzle demand is skyrocketing because of the coronavirus pandemic. People are looking for things to do and puzzles are helping fill the void. But the CBC reports that they’ve become a little bit too popular and retailers are struggling to keep them on store shelves. Dave Manga is a part of Outset Media and told the publication that there’s just a new market opening up. ”[There's] a whole new type of customer coming in that doesn't fit the traditional demographic," Manga said, before adding "Hopefully some of them all enjoy it and keep doing it." He would also end up joking that “It’s almost like it’s the next toilet paper.”
Shirley Jacobs is just a few months shy of 90 years old, and she’s been doing puzzles for decades. The puzzle veteran told CBC of an 18,000 piece puzzle that her kids gave her, “It's a library and it's all different shelves and books and then there's all kinds of other little bits of stuff thrown in…I did the next [section] on top and I stacked them until I had the four pieces done. Then I moved all the furniture out of the center of the living room with my son's help. We put the boards on the floor and we pushed them together."
Puzzle Master has also seen record business as people have clustered inside. Leon Stein, the vice president of marketing for the company, said, “We've had a business for 30 years and we've never seen anything like this. We usually have you know six months, eight months supply. We ran out in five days. The suppliers are running out, the retailers like us are having trouble finding puzzles to order again. It seems like everybody who's staying home is ordering a jigsaw puzzle.” No one could have predicted how the virus would change day-to-day life, but this industry is now one of the most requested items on shelves.
Manga would explain, “We can't replenish the puzzles. So every day more and more puzzles are selling out and it's been something I just couldn't have predicted. It's comforting. It's something that takes a long time too. A puzzle could last you four or five days. So there's a challenge to it but there's a simplicity to it that's quite satisfying too."
A quick scan of Twitch has seen some people take up streaming puzzle completion on the platform. Now, streamers have used Twitch for a number of memorable tasks in the past, but it’s always fun to see something else spring up as a popular distraction for people looking for entertainment.
Have you taken to puzzles lately? Let us know in the comments!