You'd be forgiven for thinking it was all doom and gloom in the news: from the struggling high street to the issues facing the manufacturing sector, but there is a glimmer of hope for the crafts industry.
This ray of light comes in the form of Etsy, the online crafts marketplace, which allows artists, crafters and makers to sell their handmade goods direct to the consumer.
Open to all makers, whether hobbyists or professionals, Etsy has democratized access to the craft market and opened up opportunities for smaller makers to reach buyers.
Etsy have had a challenging time, particularly with Amazon’s introduction of a handmade gifts division, but they have bounced back, stronger than ever before.
Recent figures show that Etsy experienced strong growth over the festive period resulting in these impressive year-on-year comparison stats from quarter 4 of 2018:
- Revenue – up 47%
- Buyers – up 18%
- Active sellers – up 9%
Etsy sold over 4 billion USD of products in 2018, 20% up on 2017. International growth has been strong and the great news is that the UK saw particularly good sales towards the latter end of the year.
Could this be a sign that British consumers are beginning to put more value on handmade goods, particularly for gifts?
Etsy expects the growth to continue steadily through 2019 and predict to continue to gain market share in the e-commerce market.
So what does this mean for craftspeople?
It is difficult to know exactly how the uncertain political environment will impact on different industries, but this report on Etsy's success from BBC News, along with many other online arts and crafts markets like Not On The High Street and Folksy becoming household names, show encouraging signs for the crafts sector.
It demonstrates that the demand for hand crafted items is increasing. This could be as a result of many factors; from the desire to reduce plastic waste and carbon footprint, to put back into the local community, to support and preserve important crafts, to give and own something unique in a mass market, to invest in quality and so on.
Whatever the reason, it is really positive to see a platform that supports craftspeople doing so well, going from strength to strength and holding a very important place in the ecommerce marketplace.
We are especially encouraged by this: Etsy provide an amazing service for crafters and artists to promote their handcrafted, custom and unique creations to the world, just as we hope to provide a great service in the sharing and passing on of those skills. So it is brilliant to see the fruits of crafting being so desirable.
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