Summary of our market study

The global board game market has proved remarkably resilient, booming particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In Italy, the market was estimated at around 100 million euros, and witnessed a steady influx of new titles, around 800 a year. Online interest in board games surged, with idealo's Italian portal recording +48.9% growth in purchase intentions and even higher peaks in the first months of containment (March and April 2020) with increases of +481.6% and +224.5%, respectively.

Despite pandemic-related restrictions and retail store closures resulting in significant losses, the board game market remained buoyant, with e-commerce platforms such as Amazon recording substantial sales, including during promotional events such as Prime Day.

The Italian board game market, resilient and thriving

The Italian board game market is remarkably resilient, and continues to thrive despite the challenges posed by technological advances and the digitization of leisure activities. Rooted in a millennia-old tradition, board games, or "Giochi da Tavolo", have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, with the global market set to grow from around 8.5 billion USD to some 12 billion USD between 2019 and 2023. Forced social distancing during the COVID-19 lockdowns has propelled demand for board games, as families seek interactive ways to spend time together at home, resulting in an 11% increase in sales in 2020 over the previous year.

In Italy, during the peak lockdown months of March and April 2020, cooperative games and pandemic-themed games were particularly popular. Despite a temporary slowdown due to retail store closures, the Italian board game market recovered and continued its growth trajectory, with an increase in online purchases and a share of consumer behavior during Christmas shopping. The Italian audience for these games is mainly made up of Millennials, aged between 25 and 39, a demographic group which, despite a slight drop in the overall percentage of the population, remains an important part of the market. This generation is looking for quick, easy-to-learn games that offer a fun and unique social experience, and board games meet this need with offerings ranging from classic strategy and family fun to new cooperative and atmospheric games. Prices on the market vary considerably, with editions ranging from simple travel versions to elaborate special editions.

The key factors contributing to the success of board games in Italy are their ability to offer fast, entertaining play, their unique thematic character and the social interaction they foster. The regulatory landscape for board games in Italy is aligned with European legislation on toy safety and market surveillance. Manufacturers, importers and distributors must comply with various directives, ensuring compliance with essential safety requirements, appropriate labeling and documentation processes. The distribution channels for board games are varied, ranging from supermarkets and specialist stores to online platforms such as Amazon, which is playing an increasingly vital role in the market.role, particularly during promotional events that generate significant sales of books, DVDs and board games.

Dominant players in the Italian board game market

The board game landscape is colored by a diverse range of publishers, manufacturers and retailers, each making a significant contribution to the resurgence of traditional gaming in the digital age. Here's a look at some of the major players who have carved out a place for themselves in this thriving segment of Italian entertainment.

  • Giochi Uniti: At the forefront of the Italian board game market, Giochi Uniti is a publisher and distributor that has preserved the spirit of tabletop gaming through its innovative offerings. Headed by Stefano De Carolis, Giochi Uniti has become a household name, transforming the board game into a social and immersive experience that transcends the depersonalization prevalent in today's virtual interactions.
  • Asmodee Italia: Another major player is Asmodee Italia, a publishing house that has not only distributed but also localized numerous board games and role-playing games for the Italian public. It attributes the increase in interest in these games to its understanding of market dynamics and the trend towards games that offer fast, intuitive and engaging play experiences.
  • Hasbro: An international giant known for its timeless classics, Hasbro maintains a strong presence in the Italian market with games such as Monopoly and Tabou. Innovating in familiar paradigms, they satisfy the nostalgia of older generations while appealing to the fast-paced preferences of modern gamers.
  • Mattel: Mattel is not far behind, with its worldwide success UNO. Mattel's strategy focuses on broad accessibility and the talent to create games that become an essential part of every family's collection.
  • Z-Man Games: Although originally an American company, Z-Man Games has infiltrated international markets with games such as Pandemie (Pandemic), which became particularly relevant and popular during the confinement of COVID-19. Their cooperative game model fosters a sense of camaraderie and strategic team play that resonates with Italian gamers.

The Italian board game market is also supported by countless small publishers and independent authors who bring new and inventive designs to the table. Events like Play Modena serve as both celebration and incubator, propelling the growth of the sector by bringing to light new and exciting games that could become next-generation classics. In addition, e-commerce platforms such as Amazon have revolutionized the distribution channel for these games, making them more accessible than ever. Prime Day sales in Italy revealed a growing trend for consumers to go online to buy board games, consolidating the growth of the board game sector.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market summary

1.1 Definition and presentation

Board games have an ancient tradition, they have indeed been a pastime for a long time; the first mentions of these games date back to 5000 years ago. Board games, "Giochi da Tavolo" in Italian, are part of a broader category, which identifies any recreational activity that requires the participation of more individuals. Board games, as the name suggests, group together all those activities that require a table to be played.

Difficult to define in absolute terms, board games are generally characterized by :

  • A more or less complex rule of the game;
  • A minimum of 2 participants;
  • The need for one or more material supports (game board, counters, pen, dice, cards).

The market for board games, against all expectations, is booming, despite the development of countless alternatives based on rapid technological expansion. Board games continue indeed to survive and are actually experiencing a period of growth worldwide (valued at 8.5 billion USD in 2019, they are expected to reach 12 billion USD by 2023) [Arizton].

Board game sales exploded by 11% over 2020 compared to 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the periods of lockdown put in place by the world's governments. People around the globe, having to spend more time at home, started occupying their free time with social board games.

The sector is also experiencing a prosperous period in Italy thanks to the many events, fairs and shows such as Play Modena organized in their honor, which increase visibility and help boost innovative offerings. 

 

1.2 The Global Market for Board Games

A **** study by Arizton estimated the value of the global board game market at approx *.* billion in **** and that this market is expected to reach a value of ** billion by ****.

Global board game market value World, ****-****, in billions of dollars Source: ****

The major players in the global board game market, ...

1.3 The Incredible Performance of the Italian Market

Looking only at Italy, the trend is equally positive. The market of board games in our country, in fact, has an estimated value of *** million euros and is constantly growing with a proposal of *** new titles per year, a symptom of a great liveliness of the sector. "The depersonalization of relationships, ...

1.4 COVID-19 Impact

In ****, especially during the lockdown months, interest in board games increased dramatically compared to the previous year, with +**.*% in terms of purchase intentions on idealo's Italian portal (***). In ****, the long time spent indoors due to the Covid-** pandemic and necessary restrictions thus led to a huge boom in demand for board ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Characteristics of the Demand for Board Games

According to data collected by Asmodee Italia, a publishing house that localizes, publishes and distributes board games and role-playing games, the interest of Italians towards board games has increased between **% and **% only in the last year, probably as a reaction to too many hours spent online between smart working, social and ...

2.2 Top Games Sold Online in 2020

What games did Italians spend their time with during ****? Based on purchase intentions on its Italian portal, idealo determined the top ** in the Board Games category:

Monopoly Classic: This board game from Hasbro is aimed at a wide audience and is suitable for both children and adults. This makes it an ...

2.3 Italian Families Expenditure on Games and Hobbies

One of the most important demand drivers for board games is the expenditure of Italian families on games and hobbies. 

Using the data provided by the Italian Statistics Institute, ISTAT, we can have a look at the evolution of the average monthly expenditure of Italian families on games and hobbies between ...

2.4 Consumer Profile

As already mentioned, a series of basic analysis of the target of board games confirms that the vast majority of buyers today are aged between ** and ** years, then the generation of Millennials, i.e. those born between **** and ****. 

To have an idea of the potential demand for board games, it is ...

2.5 Key Success Factors of a Board Game

What characteristics must a boxed game have to keep youngsters glued to it? Forget endless games of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit: now the secret is speed.

The most popular games are structured in such a way as to accommodate quick games of ** or ** minutes maximum.

Space is also given to simplicity: ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Value Chain and Dynamism of the Market

To have an idea of the dynamism of the board games sector in Italy, it is useful to mention a small but important fair on a national level, held in April every year in Modena. It's called Play - Festival del Gioco and the first edition took place in ****, growing continuously ...

3.2 Distribution Channels

The sale of board games, which are aimed at different types of consumers, passes through various channels: supermarkets, specialized stores, small retailers. Sales data from large retailers, i.e., supermarket chains and large toy retailers, are in the possession of the NPD research group, which does not make them public, but ...

3.3 Revenues of the Main Players

The growth of the board game market, in Italy, can be observed through the sales figures of individual companies: DV Giochi, for example, is an Italian company that exports to ** countries around the world, founded in ****. Contacted by Il Post, the company's head of marketing, Barbara Rol, said that turnover has ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Typology of the Offer

Given up for dead a few years ago because of the video games that would have phagocytized them, board games are enjoying an unexpected springtime.

Even in Italy. The market is growing, players are growing, associations are growing and creativity is growing too: there is a ferment of authors and publishers. ...

4.2 Pricing

To have an idea of the pricing of board games, it might be useful to look at and compare the prices of the most popular games in Italy.

Source: ****

Overall, most of the represented games can be found on very broad price ranges. As a general rule, the lower side of ...

4.3 Hasbro Italia - an Innovation Leader

The Website Ilgiocointavolo.it interviewed Viola Modugno, Brand Manager Hasbro Gaming and Monopoly in Italy. She answered to the website's questions about new initiatives and innovation at Hasbro Italia.

In Modugno's opinion, the year **** has been a bit ''different'' and challenging for everyone, but still full of news and surprises about ...

5 Rules and regulations

5.1 Rules and Regulations that Apply to Board Games

For board games there is no specific protection, on the contrary they are apparently devoid of any kind of protection. The copyright law does not include them among the protected works, and the patent law expressly excludes them among the objects that can be protected. In general the manufacturing, import and ...

5.2 Manufacturer Obligations

A toys and games manufacturer is defined as a natural or legal person who manufactures a toy or has a toy designed and manufactured and markets it under its own name or trademark. 

The obligations the toys and games manufacturer must comply with are:

Carry out or have carried out the ...

5.3 Importer and Distributor Obligations

An importer of toys and games is defined as a natural or legal person established in the Community who places a toy from a third country on the Community market.

The obligations the importer must comply with are:

Ensure that the manufacturer has: carried out the appropriate conformity assessment procedure; and ...

6 Positioning of the actors

6.1 Segmentation

  • Hasbro Italy
  • Rocco Giocattoli
  • Mattel
  • Grandi Giochi
  • Asmodee Italia
  • Editrice Giochi
  • Raven Distribution
  • dV Giochi
  • Giochi Uniti
  • Clementoni
  • MacDue
  • Asmodee Group

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Valeur du marché mondial des jeux de société
  • Valeur du marché italien des jeux de société
  • Jeux de société - Recherche sur internet
  • Jeux de société - Google Trends index
  • Les dépenses moyennes des familles - Jeux de société
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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 Italy
Rocco Giocattoli
Mattel
Grandi Giochi
Asmodee Italia
Editrice Giochi
Raven Distribution
dV Giochi
Giochi Uniti
Clementoni
MacDue
Asmodee Group

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