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Puzzle business is booming amid coronavirus pandemic

Seattle-based puzzle company Ravensburger says it's seeing an "unprecedented" demand for its puzzles while people are staying home during the coronavirus pandemic.

SEATTLE — How are you passing the time during the stay-at-home order? Many, it seems, are turning to puzzles.

Business for Seattle based-Ravensburger was already pretty good before the coronavirus pandemic. The puzzle and game company, founded in Germany, sold 21 million puzzles in 2019. 

Filip Francke is CEO of Ravensburger North America. 

"This is not a new trend, so I think that's important to point out," said Francke. "Games and puzzles have been growing, you know, double digits for four or five years here. So, um, we saw puzzle sales go up 20% in 2019 in the market that was at best flat." 

But Francke said the demand right now is through the roof. 

The company even has a message on its website that reads, "Due to unexpected demand, we are unable to fulfill orders at this time." 

To put the surge in perspective, last year the puzzle company sold about seven puzzles every minute. This year, they're on track to sell 20 puzzles a minute.

"Based on what we've seen, which is unprecedented demand over the last four weeks here, it's clear that both families and individuals see puzzles as something that's an important need for them, something that can help them out through this crisis," said Francke,

It begs the questions, why now? And why puzzles? 

Ravensburger surveyed customers recently and the top three answers were: to relax, to have fun, and relieve stress. 

Which are, arguably, things we all need now more than ever.

"We're trying to make sure we're doing this in a way that's appropriate to the situation. We know we're very fortunate, we know we're not a necessity, we're not trying to sell more puzzles at this point, we're trying to fill the demand," said Francke. "Any good story at this time is great, too." 

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