Buffalo Games: Using Market Research to Make Sense of a Puzzling Time

Client Spotlight

Richard Spears

3 Minute Read

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live our everyday lives. Dinner and a movie became takeout and binge streaming. Business casual was redefined as a decent shirt and a pair of sweatpants. The unit of measure for the commute to work changed from miles to feet. Rows of desks in the classroom were replaced by solitary chairs in front of laptops.

Day by day and week by week, we found ways to adapt. And we looked for the bright spots. Travel back in time to one of those two-hour meetings sitting in a conference room. What would you have given to have been able to go on mute and turn off your camera?

The Pandemic Has Been a Puzzling Time. Literally.

As people across the country and around the world hunkered down, many turned to an old favorite pastime: jigsaw puzzles. When you think about it, puzzles are the perfect pandemic elixir. They can be done alone or with family and friends of any age. They can be simple or challenging. You can carry on a conversation, listen to music, and yes, even binge that series you never got around to watching. And when the puzzle is done, you have a sense of accomplishment and a visual image of something you’ve really missed: the outside world.

From humble beginnings as a small start-up in a North Buffalo office in 1986, our client Buffalo Games has grown to become the premier jigsaw puzzle and games manufacturer in North America, with distribution through all major retailers across the United States and Canada. Their extensive variety of puzzles and games for all ages and interests is available at more than 3,000 retailers and through online sales around the world.

In the midst of a pandemic-fueled boom in puzzling, Buffalo Games turned to FARM’s market research team to gain a better understanding of who was puzzling, what they were looking for in puzzles, and perhaps most importantly, what will happen when the world returns to “normal.”

Piecing Together the Pandemic Puzzler

Back in 2013, Buffalo Games commissioned our team of market researchers to execute a benchmark study of the jigsaw puzzle market in America. In 2020, FARM fielded a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 adults, blending a re-measurement of findings from the past research with a battery of new questions delving into the world of “pandemic puzzling”:

  • Who is puzzling?
  • Why do they like jigsaw puzzles?
  • Where do they buy their puzzles?
  • What images and piece counts do they like most?
  • Do they particularly like any types of “specialty” puzzles?
  • How much do they think they will puzzle in the future?
  • What do they do with their puzzles when they’re done?
  • How does Buffalo Games stack up against other puzzle makers?

The findings were both eye-opening and encouraging, and are being used by Buffalo Games to keep their business growing and adapting to a changing marketplace. While we can’t give away any trade secrets, let’s just say that the pieces are really coming together to create a very attractive picture for Buffalo Games in the post-pandemic world.

If something is puzzling you and your business, contact us about our capabilities in research, business intelligence, and marketing strategy.

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