Crafts and arts – no more simply for summer camp – happen to be growing in popularity. It’s paying down for retailers capable of checking up on Americans’ creative whims, though some that have stuck to some single niche have struggled.
A tiny table with a few 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 make up a $1.14 billion market, based on researching the market firm The NPD Group, which attributed the development to art and craft paper, paint and painting supplies. “The DIY (diy) movement took off during the recession, and because the economy recovered, people just continued with their Cheap Craft Supplies 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 rise in active sellers within the third quarter of 2015, to get a total of 1.5 million worldwide, along with a 25 percent 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 a lot of the industry for crafts and arts materials within the U.S. probably originates from enthusiasts, not professionals, based on Macke. Although 45 percent of Americans in their 30s surveyed by Mintel said they sold a handmade craft via an online shop inside the twelve months that ended October 2015, it’s not clear how many sell regularly. In last year’s Mintel survey, just about 10 % of people said they crafted to supplement their income, Macke said.
Although there has been some consolidation among retailers serving creative types, including Blick Art Materials’ purchase of Utrecht Art Supplies in 2013, specialty arts and crafts chains appear more insulated from e-commerce pressure than some segments in the retail sector, industry analysts said.
Specialty chains are the most common craft supply source among women, in accordance with Mintel’s research. Of females who made crafts during the last year, 68 percent purchased from specialty chains, 53 percent from Wal-Mart and 32 percent from Amazon, based on Mintel research. Only 36 percent of males who had made an art or craft project within the last year shopped with a specialty store, instead choosing Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target.
As well as paints and canvases the Artist & Craftsman shop within the South Loop carries all types 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 pursuing the online marketplace, however the category “doesn’t work well that well online,” said Michael Baker, a Deutsche Bank analyst covering crafts and arts retailer Michaels. People like to see what they’re buying and browsing to locate inspiration, he said.
Michael’s only has sold products through its website for around two years, and CEO Chuck Rubin estimated online sales would only make up a single-digit percentage of sales within the crafts category even over time. “I do believe it’s a great add-on, but I don’t think it will probably be this game changer here it’s experienced other retail industries,” Rubin said. When Hobby Lobby Stores surveyed its customers, no more than 2 percent said they preferred online shopping, in contrast to 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 in the South Loop April 28, 2016. But the Internet – as well as a flood of craft-related blogs, websites and tutorials – is providing them with a lift, Broadfoot and Rubin said. “Pinterest and YouTube are among the greatest stuff that could have happened for the industry,” Rubin said.
In a Mintel survey, just under 40 percent of adults who did an arts or crafts project in the past year said that they had looked to YouTube for inspiration, and one in three cited social network website Pinterest. YouTube mpzzzq greater 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 recently been watching YouTube how-to videos on elaborately frosted American-style cakes.
Its not all craft retailers have been capable of 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 would close its remaining 185 stores nationwide.
Sewing and quilting have a fairly steady following, unlike scrapbooking, which is declining in popularity, but haven’t been growing like other crafts either, Macke said. Retailers carrying a wide range of goods are likely better-equipped to help from new business who may dabble in making a variety of handmade goods as trends shift, she said.