Arts and crafts – no longer simply 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 little table with a couple of chairs welcomes patrons inside 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 and now constitute a $1.14 billion market, according to researching the market 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 throughout the recession, and because the economy recovered, people just continued with 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 boost in active sellers inside the third quarter of 2015, for a total of 1.5 million worldwide, in addition to a 25 percent rise in active buyers. According to a 2014 survey of U.S. Etsy sellers, 76 percent considered their shop on the website an organization, and 30 percent considered it their primary occupation, the organization said.
But most of the market for crafts and arts materials within the U.S. probably comes from enthusiasts, not professionals, according to Macke. Although 45 percent of Americans inside their 30s surveyed by Mintel said they sold a handmade craft through an online store inside the 12 months that ended October 2015, it’s not clear how many sell on a regular basis. In last year’s Mintel survey, just about 10 percent 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’ acquisition 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 popular craft supply source among women, according to Mintel’s research. Of ladies who made crafts in the last year, 68 percent purchased from specialty chains, 53 percent from Wal-Mart and 32 percent from Amazon, according to Mintel research. Only 36 percent of males who had made a skill or craft project during the last year shopped with a specialty store, instead choosing Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target.
In addition to paints and canvases the Artist & Craftsman shop in the South Loop carries all types of many other materials including yarn on April 28, 2016. In comparison, 18 percent of ladies and 21 percent of men shopped at local independent stores, in accordance with Mintel research.
Specialty craft chains generally haven’t been that aggressive in going after the internet marketplace, nevertheless the category “doesn’t really 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 discover inspiration, he explained.
Michael’s just has sold products through its website for about 2 yrs, and CEO Chuck Rubin estimated online sales would only account for a single-digit percentage of sales in the crafts category even over time. “I think it’s a good add-on, having said that i don’t think it will be the video 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 shopping online, compared with 71 percent preferring to purchase 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. But the Internet – and a flood of craft-related blogs, websites and tutorials – is providing them with an enhancement, Broadfoot and Rubin said. “Pinterest and YouTube are the greatest things which could have happened to the industry,” Rubin said.
In a Mintel survey, just under 40 % of adults who did an arts or crafts project in the past year said that they had considered YouTube for inspiration, and one in three cited social media 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 make but recently been watching YouTube how-to videos on elaborately frosted American-style cakes.
Not all craft retailers have already been able to capitalize on the growing interest. Mississippi-based fabric and sewing retailer Hancock Fabrics filed for 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, that 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 profit from new business who may dabble in making many different handmade goods as trends shift, she said.