The next toilet paper? Puzzles flying off Canadian shelves faster than they can be stocked
CALGARY -- Once the elaborate meals have been cooked and the Netflix lists have been tackled, people coast to coast are turning to a new hobby — jigsaw puzzles.
Hundreds of toy stores are reporting an uptick in demand for puzzles in the last two months.
Assembling them has been an increasingly popular hobby since COVID-19 forced millions into isolation.
In Calgary, Castle Toys said it has been selling roughly ten times more puzzles than usual. Mastermind Toys has seen a triple-digit increase in sales.
That’s left the stores with a new problem: keeping their shelves stocked for curbside pickup.
"We’ve had lots of demand for them, but our problem is actually receiving orders for them," said Castle Toys owner Nicholas Mason. "We’ve had orders submitted months ago and nothing has been coming in."
Even when they do come in, Mason said the orders aren’t spending much time inside the store.
"In less than 24 hours, 95 per cent of it was gone," he said.
Ravensburger, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of jigsaw puzzles, has seen an astronomical rise in the number of kids and adult puzzles sold over the past two weeks.
In North America alone, the company reported a 370 per cent increase in organic sales year over year. Demand is so high that the company is no longer taking Canadian orders on its website.
"Puzzles are kind of like the toilet paper of the pandemic for something to do at home," Mason said.
In fact, demand is so high, Calgarians wanting their jigsaw fix have started to try new avenues.
"I found a Facebook exchange group and I’ve actually had someone come and pick up a puzzle and she’s dropped one off," enthusiast Sidsel Pedersen said.
Hundreds are heading to online forums for puzzle swaps. Pedersen, who wasn’t a huge fan until the pandemic, said it’s the result of one thing.
"It’s very addictive. Once you do 500 (pieces), those get too easy. Then you do 1000, and they get too easy. So now I did my first 1500 (pieces), and you get this rush again.”