Summary of our market study

The global board game market has been experiencing substantial growth, with an anticipated increase of 13% per year from 2020 to 2026, likely to value it at $30 billion. The sector's acceleration can be credited in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, which drove a surge in consumer interest as people sought out engaging activities during lockdowns, leading to a particularly stark 21% market growth in 2020 for board games and puzzles. During this period, family and adult games saw the most significant spike in demand at 37%, along with notable climbs in children's games at 11% and card games at approximately 17%. Puzzles, especially for adults, also saw tremendous growth of nearly 50%. Moreover, e-commerce has become a dominant distribution channel, capturing 52% of sales by 2018, a figure that's likely inflated further due to pandemic-influenced shopping habits. Despite these trends, Germany's board game market has shown slower growth compared to the global pace, although the pandemic revitalized interest in the field, indicating a potential continuation of these trends going forward.

### Revival and Trends in the German Board Game Market

The German board game market, a longstanding cultural institution, has experienced a renaissance in consumer interest, particularly following the Covid-19 pandemic. Known for their devotion to family gatherings centered around board games, Germans have maintained a robust demand in this sector. Large multinational publishers like Mattel and Hasbro, German SMEs such as Amigo and Haba, and successful foreign publishers like Asmodee and Jumbo play significant roles in the market. It is important to note that board games are not only a form of entertainment but also serve as a bridge for social interactions and cooperative play. The market dynamics in Germany showed a slower pace of growth, while the global board game market expanded at an impressive rate of around 13% annually. However, the situation in Germany shifted with the onset of the pandemic, which brought a substantial upsurge in turnover due to the renewed interest in board games as a home-based recreational activity. This surge translated into a market growth rate of over 20%, notably higher than that of gaming products in general, which was close to 10%. Sales of board games across various categories in Germany observed significant growth in 2018 with strategy and dice games rising by about 10%, card games, which make up around 10 to 15% of the market, by about 12%, and atmosphere and games for adults, capturing about 20 to 30% of the market, by about 18%. The preschool segment saw an increase as well, by around 5%, while children's games, despite a slight downturn, still accounted for about 15 to 25% of all games sold. The pandemic saw a shift in demand, with family and adult games gaining a remarkable increase in demand by around 35 to 40%, underscoring the vital role of board games in connecting people during restricting times. Children's games and card games also saw a hike in sales by around 10 to 12% and about 15 to 20% respectively, whereas travel games enjoyed marginal growth. Puzzles for adults became exceptionally popular, registering growth close to 50%. Given this context, board games continue to hold a special place among German consumers. They emerge as the fourth most wished-for Christmas gift among children and maintain strong popularity among young parents and students.

### Pivotal Players in the German Board Game Arena

The German board game market is a vibrant and eclectic landscape, teeming with a variety of players ranging from behemoth multinational corporations to passionate local SMEs and niche publishers from abroad. Each of these entities plays a crucial role in shaping the face of the board gaming industry in Germany.

  • Multinational Heavyweights in Board Gaming

Mattel and Hasbro are the towering giants in the global board game sphere with a substantial footprint in the German market. Their far-reaching influence stems from their broad portfolio of iconic brands and strategic distribution networks that allow them to dominate the shelves across the country.

  • Home-Grown German Titans of Tabletop

Amidst the presence of these global giants, Germany boasts its own formidable entities. Ravensburger is a prominent name ingrained in the German cultural fabric, while Amigo and Haba proudly stand as smaller, yet significant, representatives of German craftsmanship and ingenuity in board gaming. These companies continue to carve their legacies, building upon deeply rooted domestic affinities for board games.

  • Dynamic Small Foreign Publishers

The German market does not shy away from embracing international diversity, evidenced by the successful penetration of foreign publishers like Asmodee and Jumbo. These players, despite their smaller scale, manage to capture the hearts of German board game enthusiasts through innovative gaming experiences and captivating themes that resonate well within the local gaming community.

  • Retail Revolutionaries in Board Gaming

In the retail segment, Vedes and Smyths Toys Superstores have emerged as key players. They act as gatekeepers to the consumer base, curating and delivering a selection of games from various publishers to ensure board game aficionados have access to both the latest hits and timeless classics.

  • Closing Thoughts on the German Board Game Vanguard

Each player, from the strategic juggernauts to the specialty crafters and savvy retailers, contributes to the dynamic ecosystem of board gaming in Germany. As guardians of tradition and innovation alike, they ensure that the spirit of communal play and strategic competition thrives in the heart of Europe. 

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Summary and extracts

1 Market summary

1.1 The board game, an institution in Germany

Board games are generally characterized by:

  • A regulation - the rules of the game - more or less complex;
  • A minimum of 2 participants as opposed to solitary games or puzzles, which are played alone;
  • The need for one or more material supports (game board, pawns, pen, dice, cards).

In contrast to other European countries, such as France, where the popularity of board games has varied over the decades, Germany has always been a country with a high consumption of board games and participates in their renewal from the 1990s onwards. Indeed, family gatherings around a board game are very frequent, so that German board game publishers have been very successful economically.

The famous British weekly magazine The Economist even went so far as to declare that "Germany was to board games what Belgium was to chocolate" (The Economist, German recreation: An affinity for rules, 08/2018).

Today, however, the German market seems to be growing at a slower pace, whereas the world market is growing by 13% per year. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked new interest in the German market, with a strong increase in turnover and new consumer trends that could last for years to come.

The main players on the German market are multinational publishers and distributors of games and toys such as Mattel or Hasbro, German human-sized board game companies such as Amigo or Haba, small, highly successful foreign publishers such as Asmodee or Jumbo, or board game resellers such as Vedes and Smyths.

1.2 A dynamic global market

Market dynamism is confirmed

Revenues from the board game market World, ****-****, in billions of USD Source: ****

The board game market is expected to grow significantly by **% per year between **** and **** to reach a value of $** billion.

This development benefits from a favourable context with a great popularity among the days ...

1.3 A growing segment in a relatively stable industry

The broader games and toys industry, registered by the Statistisches Bundesamt (***) under code EH**-**** "Spielwaren", has been relatively stable since ****. Indeed, the sector's turnover has remained around EUR *.* billion since that year. There is even a slight decrease of *% between **** and ****.

Sales in the games and toys market Germany, ****-****, ...

1.4 Strong market growth following the Covid-19 pandemic

Admittedly, the Covid-** pandemic had a slightly recessive impact on the production of board games. This was due to problems in the supply chain due to restrictions imposed around the world. In addition, cafés that are also good places to play board games have had to close down, resulting in ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Children: an important market for manufacturers

Top ** Christmas wishes Germany, ****, in % Source: ****

This study involved the responses of *** children aged * to ** years as to their preference in terms of Christmas gifts.

Board games are the fourth most popular gift for children at Christmas. More than one in ten German children want a board game for Christmas. Board ...

2.2 Yearly events witnessing an attractive market

International gaming fairs

Germany is known for its major game and toy fairs, which further proves that games are an important market for Germans.

International Spieltage SPIEL, often called the Essen Game Fair after the name of the city where it is held, is an annual four-day fair held in October ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Value chain

The distribution chain for a board game is relatively clear: game publishers sell their goods to distributors, who in turn supply the resellers (***). At each stage of distribution a margin is taken, which inflates the price of the game for the consumer.

Nevertheless, some companies may be both publishers and distributors ...

3.2 The structure of the German board game market

The toy sector is listed by the Statistisches Bundesamt (***) under the code EH**-**** "Spielwaren". However, board games are not the only product category registered under this code as it concerns games and toys in the broadest sense. However, this gives a macroeconomic view of the market.

Number of companies in ...

3.3 A production mainly Made in Asia

As in the toy industry, to which the board game industry is closely related, products are mainly manufactured in Asia, and in particular in China, in order to keep production costs as low as possible, as labour is cheaper in Asia.

With regard to producer prices, as competition is increasingly fierce ...

3.4 Main distribution channels

As with toys in general, there are several places to buy board games:

Toy/game stores (***) are always in demand for their wide variety of items. Specialist shops are present in the form of many small shops specialising in board games, especially in the big cities. Supermarkets are also important places ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Categories of board games

Although it is difficult to classify all board games, as there is so much diversity in terms of rules or ways of playing, it is possible to make broad categories of games.

Card games: as their name suggests, card games are played with cards. Long practised only with traditional card games ...

4.2 A constantly renewed range

Although the classics remain an important part of sales: Monopoly, Risk, Cluedo, Uno, etc., the share of innovation is very important in order to constantly renew the pleasure and curiosity of consumers. According to Hermann Hutter, more than *,*** titles appear each year in Germany, and are presented at trade fairs such ...

4.3 Prices

According to the game information site Tric Trac, a board game in Germany costs on average from ** to ** euros. In general, the prices of board games are in the price range €* - €**.

Germany, however, seems to be experiencing a phenomenon of downward price pressure, resulting mainly from a fierce struggle between ...

4.4 Additional costs to be taken into account

In addition to the actual manufacturing of the sets, many additional costs have to be taken into account.

Research: especially for large companies (***), it is important to know the demand of families, children, etc., in order to produce games that correspond perfectly to expectations. Game development: often with the help of ...

5 Rules and regulations

5.1 Regulations

Board games are mainly composed of material elements, which are likely to represent a danger for a public that is too young, and therefore comply with strict regulations both on prevention and on the composition of the elements.

While the controversy over the supposed dangerousness of games and toys made in ...

6 Positioning of the actors

6.1 Segmentation of players

  • Hasbro
  • Kosmos
  • Schmidt Spiele
  • Haba Familygroup
  • Pegasus
  • Asmodee Group
  • Jumbo
  • Vedes
  • Ravensburger
  • Mattel

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Board game industry revenues
  • Chiffre d'affaires du marché des jeux et jouets
  • Taux de croissance des différents segments de l'industrie des jeux de société
  • Top 20 des voeux de Noël
  • Nombre d'entreprises du marché des jeux et jouets
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Latest news

Hasbro sells its film and entertainment business to Lionsgate - 04/08/2023
  • Hasbro's eOne Film & TV division has been sold to Lionsgate for $500 million (458 million euros).
  • Hasbro had acquired eOne in 2019 for $4 billion.
  • In 2021, Hasbro sold the music business to Blackstone for $385 million.
  • In 2021, eOne generated sales of $829 million, representing around 14% of Hasbro's sales.
Barbie: The Billion Dollar Movie - 01/08/2023
  • The "Barbie" film generated $775 million in worldwide box-office receipts, including $351 million in the USA and Canada alone.
  • It will be the third highest-grossing film at the global box office in 2023.
  • The Mattel Group has announced fourteen other film projects.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Hasbro
Kosmos
Schmidt Spiele
Haba Familygroup
Pegasus
Asmodee Group
Jumbo
Vedes
Ravensburger
Mattel

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