It is often said that you can both prove and disprove anything using the same set of statistics… and I guess that’s true. It all depends how they are presented.
For instance, my headline claims that I sold £3,729.40 worth of jigsaw puzzles last year… and that is true.
But because I have presented my figures with a positive spin, some people might be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that I actually earned that amount from selling jigsaws.
But when you stop to think for a moment, you quickly realise that there are costs which need to be deducted before arriving at my final net profit.
Nevertheless, looking beyond bold statistical claims, I find statistics an invaluable resource, not just as a record of past results, but as a wonderful tool for revealing current and future buying trends. Not only can these trends be relied upon, but the knowledge gleaned will definitely give you a competitive edge in the future.
I started seriously recording my cost and sales figures 18 months ago. I initially traded purely in second-hand puzzles, but more recently I buy both old and new puzzles.
Here are my statistics for costs and sales, along with some interesting facts and trends I have observed along the way:
Fascinating facts and figures about jigsaw puzzles:
- The first jigsaws (called ‘dissected maps’) were cut nearly two and a half centuries ago.
- In the late 19th century an average wooden jigsaw cost over £1.00 – more than most people earned in a week.
- Jigsaws lost popularity for a while but are now making a popular comeback – possibly as a real-world alternative to computer games, but essentially due to better production techniques, which have led to consistently well-made puzzles at affordable prices.
- Today you can buy brand new puzzles from about £8 upwards and second-hand ones for approximately £2.50.
- My experience has shown that quality puzzles can appreciate considerably in value. It is not uncommon for puzzles which are out of production to sell online for £25–£49!
- The fastest way to do a jigsaw is to sort all the different colours into groups before you begin, and the real ‘experts’ prefer to complete their puzzles standing, as sitting cramps their style.
- It will take you four times as long to do a 1,000 piece jigsaw as it will to do a 500 piece jigsaw. It is commonly accepted amongst ‘puzzlers’ that each time you double the number of pieces you quadruple the difficulty – so consider how long a 5,000 piece puzzle will take!
- Last year (2014) I sold 386 jigsaws, selling approximately one puzzle per day.
- The winter period, however, proved to be my busiest time of the year, when my average number of sales rose to 1.82 per day. Historically I tend to see a dramatic increase in sales in late November right through until April. Thereafter sales keep up a steady trickle, with regular spikes coinciding with public holidays, or special events, e.g. sport or other public events such as Wimbledon, Henley Regatta etc.
- My average puzzle sale price is just under £10 a piece; thus the profit margins are excellent, even after the deduction of all costs.
- A common misconception is that people don’t buy second-hand jigsaw puzzles online. This simply isn’t true, as my figures prove. Of all the puzzles sold last year only 17% of them were brand new.
I plan to continue to add brand new puzzles into stock-mix this year, as they appeal to the ‘gift buyer’- another market entirely, and quite different to the regular all-year-round puzzle enthusiast.
If you are interested to find out the best type of puzzles to buy, exactly where I buy both new and second-hand puzzles and at prices which guarantee a decent profit, please check out the two ‘jigsaw puzzle business blueprints’ (covering both second-hand and new puzzles) contained in my Profit Box website.
I will catch up with you again next week.