Due to the staggering popularity of The Queen’s Gambit, Netflix’s most-watched scripted limited series of all time, chess sets are flying off shelves like never before. Several toy and game industry professionals have recently disclosed how the series’ captivating depiction of chess has impacted their industry.
The Netflix drama, which documents the rise of fictional chess savant Beth Harmon as played by Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split), has been praised by chess players around the world. “The chess community fell in love with the series because it successfully portrays different aspects of chess in all its richness” David Llada of The Chess Federation told the New York Times. Sales of chess sets prove that the “word-of-mouth” show may be birthing a whole new generation of Beth Harmons, via Vanity Fair.
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“Ever since The Queen’s Gambit launched, our chess sales have increased triple digits,” Vice President of Marketing at the toy company Spin Master, Elizabeth LoVecchio, reported to NPR. The onset of a global pandemic has harmed many industries, but LoVecchio says that quarantine has been great for the sales of toys and games. The marketing vice president told NPR that, while chess sales saw a spike in March at the beginning of quarantine, the sales her industry has seen with The Queen’s Gambit are “unprecedented.”
Other companies who spoke to NPR reiterated LoVecchio’s comments about the show’s impact. Goliath Games reported a whopping one-thousand percent increase in sales of chess sets since the show’s October release on Netflix.
NPR notes that third-party retailers, such as eBay, are cashing in on the show’s success alongside toy and game companies. “eBay registered a 215% increase in chess set and accessory sales since The Queen’s Gambit hit Netflix,” NPR reports “with shoppers seeking out wooden chess sets nine times more than plastic, electronic or glass ones.”
— The Queen’s Gambit (@NetflixTheQG) November 21, 2020
Toy analyst, Gerrick Johnson, warned NPR’s readers the demand may soon outweigh supply, as the toy and game industry was not quite ready for something like The Queen’s Gambit to come along and rock the industry. “Good luck finding a chess set this holiday” the analyst warns plainly, via NPR.
Whether a chess set is on your holiday wish list or not, all seven episodes of The Queen’s Gambit can be enjoyed on Netflix now.