For decades, the arts and crafts industry has been dominated by a few major retailers, namely Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann Stores. In total, these three companies boast more than 2,700 brick and mortar store locations throughout the US.

In February 2017, Etsy, a peer-to-peer e-commerce website focused on handmade and vintage items and supplies, officially announced its foray into the craft supply market with the unveiling of its Etsy Studio. Set to launch in April 2017, Etsy Studio will be a new online marketplace dedicated to the selling of craft supplies.

Unique product offerings will help Etsy stand out

In the digital era where content is king, Etsy Studio aims to bring joy to the crafting process through inspirational tutorial videos within its new craft supply marketplace. At the same time, it aims to make the craft supply purchase easier, without sacrificing supply selection.

92% of crafters believe its important to have a wide selection of supplies across a variety of craft project types

When determining where to shop for craft projects supplies, 92% of crafters believe its important to have a wide selection of supplies across a variety of craft project types, according to Mintel’s The Arts and Crafts Consumer US 2017 report. While traditional craft supply retailers already offer the ability to purchase supplies online, Etsy may be able to differentiate itself by the types and quantity of supplies they make available.

At launch, Etsy plans to have more than eight million craft supplies ready for purchase from its sellers. As Etsy Studio will only allow the selling and buying of original merchandise through its marketplace, craft supplies will truly be unique and hard to find at traditional craft retailers. Purchases made through the marketplace will also be used to promote small businesses as sellers, not Etsy, own and run their own shops.

Tutorials accompanying supply searches may help inspire

Etsy Studio also aims to makes the craft supply purchase process easier. Consumers today are looking for services to help cut down the time required to make decisions, particularly as consumers are feeling overwhelmed with the quantity of products and options they have to choose from, as discussed in Mintel Trend Guiding Choice.

As with traditional craft retailers, users will be able to search for specific products and supplies, as well as search by project type online. However, on Etsy Studio, users will also find inspiration for their next craft endeavor through supply searches that are accompanied by tutorials. Instructions and how-to videos showcasing the various projects that supplies can be used for, such as for quilting or knitting, will likely help inspire crafters of all levels to either try a new type of project or introduce crafters to a wider variety of projects, ultimately leading to the potential purchase of new supplies. Indeed, half of US crafters have watched online videos to learn how to create something.

What we think

Of all of the activities Americans do at home in their leisure time, 70% agree that watching videos online, live TV, or movies is the one of the most enjoyable. At the same time, three in five US adults say they have made an arts and crafts project in the last year. Through Etsy Studio’s online videos and tutorials, Etsy may be able to merge consumers’ already avid interest in watching videos with the widely-participated in arts and crafts market. With inspirational content, Etsy Studio may become not only a craft supply marketplace but a content creator, piquing the interest of crafters of all levels to dive into new projects.

Gina Cavato is a Research Analyst at Mintel. Her extensive knowledge from working in the advertising industry provides a solid foundation for writing varied consumer reports across several categories, including lifestyles and leisure activities.

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