Arts and crafts – no longer just for summer camp – have been growing in popularity. It’s paying back for retailers capable of checking up on Americans’ creative whims, though some that have stuck to a single niche have struggled.
A small table with several chairs welcomes patrons in the lower level at Artist & Craftsman shop in the South Loop on April 28, 2016. Sales of coloring and art supplies grew about 7 percent in 2015 now form a $1.14 billion market, in accordance with market research firm The NPD Group, which attributed the development 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 using their Craft Stores Online habits,” said Dana Macke, lifestyles and leisure analyst at consumer 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, to get a total of 1.5 million worldwide, plus a 25 % rise in active buyers. Based on 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 a lot of the market for arts and crafts materials in the U.S. probably comes from enthusiasts, not professionals, based on Macke. Although 45 percent of Americans inside their 30s surveyed by Mintel said they sold a handmade craft through an online store within the 12 months that ended October 2015, it’s not clear the number of sell regularly. In last year’s Mintel survey, only about 10 percent of men and women said they crafted to supplement their income, Macke said.
Although we have seen some consolidation among retailers serving creative types, including Blick Art Materials’ buying of Utrecht Art Supplies in 2013, specialty crafts and arts chains appear more insulated from e-commerce pressure than some segments from the retail sector, industry analysts said.
Specialty chains are the most popular craft supply source among women, according to Mintel’s research. Of females 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.
As well as paints and canvases the Artist & Craftsman shop in the South Loop carries all types of other materials including yarn on April 28, 2016. By comparison, 18 percent of women and 21 percent of males shopped at local independent stores, according to Mintel research.
Specialty craft chains generally haven’t been that aggressive in pursuing the internet marketplace, however the category “doesn’t actually work that well online,” said Michael Baker, a Deutsche Bank analyst covering crafts and arts retailer Michaels. People want to see what they’re buying and browsing to locate inspiration, he explained.
Michael’s has only sold products through its website for around two years, and CEO Chuck Rubin estimated online sales would only account for a single-digit portion of sales in the crafts category even in the long run. “I believe it’s an excellent add-on, however i don’t think it will be the video game changer here it’s been in other retail industries,” Rubin said. When Hobby Lobby Stores surveyed its customers, no more than 2 percent said they preferred shopping on the web, in comparison with 71 percent preferring to purchase in-store, said spokeswoman Mandi Broadfoot.
Columbia University student Alsu Andova, 26, gathers materials for screen printing at Artist & Craftsman shop inside the South Loop April 28, 2016. Nevertheless the Internet – as well as a flood of craft-related blogs, websites and tutorials – is providing them with a boost, Broadfoot and Rubin said. “Pinterest and YouTube are among the greatest things which could have happened for the industry,” Rubin said.
In a Mintel survey, just below 40 % of adults who did an arts or crafts project in the past year said they had turned to YouTube for inspiration, and something in three cited social media website Pinterest. YouTube mpzzzq a lot 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 create but has recently been watching YouTube how-to videos on elaborately frosted American-style cakes.
Not all craft retailers have been in a position to capitalize on the growing interest. Mississippi-based fabric and sewing retailer Hancock Fabrics filed for bankruptcy in February and in early April announced it might close its remaining 185 stores nationwide.
Sewing and quilting have a fairly steady following, unlike scrapbooking, which can be declining in popularity, but haven’t been growing like other crafts either, Macke said. Retailers carrying an array of goods are likely better-equipped to help from new customers who may dabble for making a number of handmade goods as trends shift, she said.