In potentially limited availability due to the global shipping crisis, UDC’s new video games Sky Riders and Nitro Speed will be at the top of many attendee lists for an early preview at this year’s ACOS, with sales director Jonathan Lauder emphasising the great feedback they have received from operators so far.
Coinslot: It was a truncated, albeit frenetic season. How has business been for UDC this summer?
Jonathan Lauder, sales director, UDC: Extremely hectic! In readiness for reopening we refurbished our showroom in 2020 for 2021, stocked up with brand new games. Ready for the lead up to 2021 summer season we had more shipments of equipment delivered early this year.
Even so, due to the high demand for our games the fully restocked showroom soon looked bare and our warehouse was virtually empty, conveniently making room for the huge number of redemption tickets we bought in for summer.
Given how well arcades did during the limited 2020 summer we anticipated a strong summer for 2021 and ordered accordingly. Whilst ticket stocks ran low, we managed to keep going and even managed to help out customers who were let down elsewhere.
CS: What products proved the big hits this season? And what trends – product, pricing or popularity – are you predicting looking further ahead?
JL: Pearl Fishery has been outstanding for everyone who’s had one, the feedback has been phenomenal.
The new Sky Riders and Nitro Speed have been sold in small quantities to those who saw it early and grabbed them, once again excellent feedback, we’re expecting them to be big hits for 2022.
The Toy Box Crane has also been a stand out product for us, with people ringing up asking what’s the soonest they can get one.
Due to limited availability as a result of many factories closing down during the pandemic and shipping being problematic, there were limited quantities of some of the new games we introduced. Shipping costs have sky rocketed, no doubt all suppliers will be increasing prices to cover this.
CS: We cannot avoid the subject of transportation costs and delays – it’s a national crisis which people like you were warning about over six months ago. Talk us through the key timings now compared to pre-pandemic for getting your machines and parts from overseas?
JL: Absolutely. Shipping and transportation costs are driving up prices and causing inflationary pressure across the entire economy.
It’s a crisis for all sectors who rely upon goods to be imported from overseas. We work hard with the supply chain to locate containers, then to secure a slot on a ship, to get them loaded at the factory, to secure a truck to get from here to the port, then an unloading spot at the docks and then to get the container from the docks to us. Each and every stage can be a struggle and the costs and delays just continue to increase.
UDC pulled out the stops to make sure that no one ran out of tickets this summer, which meant taking whatever sailing we could get to bring in new stock.
We’ve had to add a surcharge on boxes of redemption tickets where necessary to cover the additional costs since the shipping prices have shot up.
We’re doing everything we can to keep costs low and only pass on the charges that have been incurred so far. We’re not looking to profit from this, but we couldn’t continue to take a hit on every sale, just like everyone else.