Why The Outlook For The Board Games Business Looks Great!
The consumer and trade media tend to report on the board games business with a short-term outlook i.e. what is happening this Christmas, what is happening with retail this year or reporting on quarterly results from the major stock market listed companies who have board games in their portfolios.
But bearing in mind that most games companies are not reporting sales on a quarterly basis and are typically owner managed or owned by investment companies who typically have a 2-5 year timeframe of reference, this short termism can sometimes allow us to lose sight of the woods for the trees.
The reality at the time of writing this article is that by most measures the board games business has never been in a better position. Here are several factors to justify this bold statement:
- Market size (as per reported public domain data) suggests the market is up and has been nearly continuously up for a decade or more. This is not true for every product category.
- Breadth of product has never been greater – going back about 10 or 15 years the board games category was a bit staid with many different versions of more or less the same thing in the market. The issue was that there weren’t as many places to sell games as now, and there wasn’t as much strength and critical mass behind online retail. But today, retailers like Amazon can support a massively broader range vs years gone by when we would be trying to shoehorn an extra game or two onto an already packed planogam in physical retail.
- Routes to market have become far broader and easier to access and barriers to entry have come down – crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter allow nearly anyone with good ideas and execution to bring a product to market. Importantly this is direct to consumer selling, so instead of gatekeepers like publishers and retailers whittling out anything creative, new or ‘out there’ now anything goes…if you can persuade a couple of hundred other people to buy. Plus, manufacturing is easier than ever with more choices and options to manufacture in smaller quantities.
- People are playing games – it’s weird that this is only point 4, but in the end board games offer a social connectivity play experience. As humankind become more and more addicted to tech devices and screens, board games can offer the antidote to this and allow people to enjoy each other’s company face to face. At the time of writing, the coronavirus pandemic is still rocking the world, and making face to gameplay less do-able in some countries, but families are definitely playing more, which bodes well for the future, as game playing is a habit which once picked up can be harder to quit than narcotics!
- Sustainability – much of the toy business faces a major risk right now from consumer plastic rejection. The board games market does not need to see this as a threat. Whilst there are some kids games which are all plastic (i.e. Connect 4), the majority of games can be primarily and mostly manufactured from sustainable and recyclable materials. Some companies are going to need to raise their game in terms of FSC certification and other environmental considerations, but the board games factory is well set to deal with a new business and consumer perspective on sustainability.
The future then for the board games business looks good, even if there are some major short-term disruptive factors in play.
We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.boardgamebiz.com/index.php/board-game-business-consultancy-services/
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