Arts and crafts – no longer just for summer camp – have already been growing in popularity. It’s paying off for retailers able to checking up on Americans’ creative whims, though some that have stuck to some single niche have struggled.
A tiny table with a couple of chairs welcomes patrons in the lower level at Artist & Craftsman shop inside the South Loop on April 28, 2016. Sales of coloring and art supplies grew about 7 percent in 2015 now constitute a $1.14 billion market, based on consumer research firm The NPD Group, which attributed the expansion to art and craft paper, paint and painting supplies. “The DIY (do-it-yourself) movement took off through the recession, and as the economy recovered, people just continued making use of their Crafts Supplies habits,” said Dana Macke, lifestyles and leisure analyst at market research firm Mintel.
Online handmade goods marketplace Etsy reported a 19.4 percent year-over-year increase in active sellers inside the third quarter of 2015, for any total of 1.5 million worldwide, in addition to a 25 % increase in active buyers. According to a 2014 survey of U.S. Etsy sellers, 76 percent considered their shop on the website a business, and 30 percent considered it their primary occupation, the company said.
But most of the marketplace for arts and crafts materials inside the U.S. probably originates from enthusiasts, not professionals, in accordance with Macke. Although 45 percent of Americans in their 30s surveyed by Mintel said they sold a handmade craft through an ecommerce site within the twelve months that ended October 2015, it’s not clear the number of sell on a regular basis. In last year’s Mintel survey, no more than 10 % of individuals said they crafted to supplement their income, Macke said.
Although we have seen some consolidation among retailers catering to creative types, including Blick Art Materials’ acquisition of Utrecht Art Supplies in 2013, specialty crafts and arts chains appear more insulated from e-commerce pressure than some segments of the retail sector, industry analysts said.
Specialty chains are the most common craft supply source among women, according to Mintel’s research. Of women who made crafts in the last year, 68 percent purchased from specialty chains, 53 percent from Wal-Mart and 32 percent from Amazon, in accordance with Mintel research. Only 36 percent of men who had made an art or craft project during the last year shopped in a specialty store, instead choosing Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target.
Along with paints and canvases the Artist & Craftsman shop in the South Loop carries all sorts of other materials including yarn on April 28, 2016. In contrast, 18 percent of females and 21 percent of males shopped at local independent stores, according to Mintel research.
Specialty craft chains generally haven’t been that aggressive in going after the online marketplace, however the category “doesn’t actually work that well online,” said Michael Baker, a Deutsche Bank analyst covering arts and crafts retailer Michaels. People want to see what they’re buying and browsing to find inspiration, he stated.
Michael’s has only sold products through its website for around a couple of years, and CEO Chuck Rubin estimated online sales would only account for one particular-digit percentage of sales in the crafts category even over time. “I believe it’s a good add-on, however i don’t think it will probably be this game changer here it’s been in other retail industries,” Rubin said. When Hobby Lobby Stores surveyed its customers, only about 2 percent said they preferred shopping on the web, in comparison with 71 percent preferring to shop in-store, said spokeswoman Mandi Broadfoot.
Columbia College student Alsu Andova, 26, gathers materials for screen printing at Artist & Craftsman shop in the South Loop April 28, 2016. Nevertheless the Internet – along with a flood of craft-related blogs, websites and tutorials – is giving them a boost, Broadfoot and Rubin said. “Pinterest and YouTube are the greatest stuff that might have happened towards the industry,” Rubin said.
In a Mintel survey, just below 40 percent of adults who did an arts or crafts project before year said they had considered YouTube for inspiration, then one in three cited social networking website Pinterest. YouTube mpzzzq more than 139,000 crafts-related video channels. Lynn Cagayat, 49, enjoys creating decorative flower arrangements, but on Thursday she browsed Michaels’ dessert decoration aisle. She loves baking the Filipino sweets her mom and grandmother taught her to make but has been watching YouTube how-to videos on elaborately frosted American-style cakes.
Not every craft retailers have been in a position to capitalize on the growing interest. Mississippi-based fabric and sewing retailer Hancock Fabrics declared bankruptcy in February as well as in early April announced it might close its remaining 185 stores nationwide.
Sewing and quilting use a fairly steady following, unlike scrapbooking, that is declining in popularity, but haven’t been growing like other crafts either, Macke said. Retailers carrying an array of items are likely better-equipped to help from new business who may dabble to make a number of handmade goods as trends shift, she said.