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Americans are spending more time and money on jigsaw puzzles as a fun family time activity, especially since more and more people try to unplug from electronics for a while.
As parents and families began to realize they were spending more and more time miles apart despite living in the same house, some families have flocked to tried and tested indoor activities like puzzles.
This has depleted puzzle inventories and has driven prices higher. But is that the only reason the puzzles are so expensive?
Puzzles are expensive because the cost of production, shipping, and marketing has continued to increase as has the demand for puzzles. All of those factors combine to make puzzles pretty expensive despite them just being cardboard pictures.
The last time interest in puzzles soared this high was during the Great Depression. There are historical precedents for using puzzles to amuse and distract oneself from major societal issues.
And I’m sure we can all agree that there are certainly problems in our society.
No matter what you think the solutions to the world’s problems are, sometimes we all just need to unplug from social media, the news, and other electronics and puzzles are a great way to do that.
There is also quite a bit of nostalgia to puzzles as many people (myself included) grew up working on them with my family. Now that I have a family of my own I also sometimes just want to unplug and spend an evening doing nothing but putting a nice picture together.
To see the most popular puzzles currently available that won’t break the bank just click here.
Why Are Puzzles In High Demand?
So, to understand why puzzles are expensive, we need to know why they are in such demand. As mentioned above many people are trying to get themselves or their family unplugged for a few hours but there are many other reasons puzzles are popular as well.
A Good Coping Technique
Staying at home and solving puzzles is a great way to pass the time for many individuals. One approach to avoid doom-scrolling amid the sadness, fear, and uncertainty caused by the world around us is to withdraw from technology and work on a puzzle.
You can listen to music or watch TV while you solve a puzzle, but you can not be on social media and do a puzzle at the same time.
Solving puzzles might help you relax, which is one of the primary reasons for their high demand and higher prices. In a recent survey, 59% of participants said that solving puzzles was soothing, and 47% said it reduced stress.
Increases Brain Activity
Puzzle-solving promotes brain activity and helps you boost brain functionality, critical thinking, and visual-spatial skills. In contrast to the purpose of meditation, which is to quiet the mind and be present in the body, solving puzzles requires active brain effort and even strategy at times.
When you are solving a puzzle, you are engaging yourself because you want to push yourself to the limit and complete a project to feel good about yourself.
Additionally, Dr. Susanne Jäggi’s team at the University of Michigan discovered that solving puzzles and riddles for 25 minutes a day raised people’s IQs by 4 points which is a significant benefit – contributing to the high prices of puzzles.
Since puzzles engage both the right and left sides of the brain, they can even be called a full-brain workout.
The right part of the brain handles creative, emotional, and intuitive thinking, while the left side handles rational, objective, and systematic thinking. By working together to solve a puzzle, you improve cognitive function.
This contributes to the higher prices of puzzles.
Triggers Pleasure Hormones
Assume you are working on a puzzle and you just realized you did not know the answer to a question. However, a split-second later, you go, “Aha!”. The thrill and reward system in your brain kicks in when you finally realize where a piece of the puzzle goes, and you feel accomplished every time you make the right move.
It’s the exact mechanism stimulated by eating and other fun activities and releases chemicals like dopamine that make us feel pleasure. People are likely to spend more on things that make them happy, why not puzzles!
However, not everyone who solves puzzles can feel the same pleasure as their rewards system gets activated in different ways. It is because some people are more receptive to rewards as compared to others. It appears that the aha moment is more pleasurable if you are a reward-sensitive person.
But your delight will be more subdued if your sensitivity is lower.
Encourages Teamwork & Collaboration
Another reason puzzles are in such great demand and more expensive than most people would expect is that they aid in developing teamwork and strong bonds between family members, friends, and colleagues.
Researchers from Yale University discovered that allowing people to solve puzzles together in the comfort of their own homes or offices improved interpersonal connections and the ability to cooperate and work in teams. Hence, even companies are looking into getting puzzles for employees, driving their prices up.
Solving puzzles improves brain connectivity and spurs the growth of new connections. This speeds up your thinking and your ability to concentrate. When you pick up a piece, you have to look among the others for the color or shape you have in mind and picture the image on a considerable scale to see which parts fit together.
When you exercise your brain, you help strengthen your short-term memory by activating the area of your brain responsible for retaining this knowledge.
Improves Focus to Details
When putting together a puzzle, people tend to pay close attention to the small details, especially if the parts look similar. To complete an image, you must train your eyes to look for subtle changes in colors or shapes.
A keen eye for the smallest of details can be quite beneficial in all areas of life and at work. The quality of our job improves when we pay attention to minor details.
If you have difficulties concentrating on your school or work, try doing a puzzle to refresh your mind. It allows you to take a break from your hectic work for a few minutes and return re-energized and ready to resume your tasks.
More people are using puzzles to boost focus and that increases the demand and prices.
Jigsaw puzzles are one of the easiest ways to relax, and if you are tired of wasting time at home watching TV or on social media, they can be just what you need!
Regardless of how expensive puzzles are, they are still in demand which shows they are worth each penny.
Although puzzles aren’t for everyone they are a great way to spend a quiet evening unwinding from work or school and not worrying about the world around you.