Crafts never more popular with £3bn sales

The appetite for British craft has never been higher, according to a new report from the Crafts Council, with 73% of the UK buying handcrafted objects in 2019 and sales exceeding £3bn, and the lockdown adding to it.

And at 10.3m three times as many are buying craft online as did ten years ago, and the export potential highlighted by the report which shows 2.5m New Yorkers and 1.7m in Los Angeles buying British-made craft work indicates a rising trend.

Image shows the crafts boom in more hands-on times

The Market for Craft Report, commissioned by the Crafts Council with eight national partners, is the first to explore the consumer market for British craft in over a decade.

The coronavirus pandemic has also shown to be a major influence, with BBC TV’s Great British Sewing Bee moved to prime time and attracting 5m viewers being accompanied by a surge in sales of craft supplies.

“The report provides valuable evidence to understand more about how best to stimulate, support and grow the craft market: who’s buying craft, what they’re buying and why, how big the market is, how routes to market are changing, and what kind of infrastructure can best support it” said Rosy Greenlees, the council’s executive director.

“Our first step will be translating the findings into actionable learnings for the craft sector, helping them build a richer picture of different consumers and their habits and interests in order to help grow sales.

“While the growth in the market is encouraging, the picture is not all positive” she added. “A quarter of makers are facing a negative impact from Brexit on their business, and many makers will be in a precarious situation in a post-pandemic world – losing not only their opportunities to sell their work, but also other sources of income – for example, teaching and hosting workshops.” 

Meanwhile Cluster Crafts, presenting itself as a progressive art fair, is being set up as an ecommerce platform to to support its database of more than 150 craft workers worldwide, working in multi-disciplines from ceramics to furniture to glass. The exhibition will launch in the autumn.

Cluster began in 2016 as an art fair that by-passed gallery representation when Cluster Crafts, part of Cluster London along with platforms for photography and jewellery, was established as a small showcase for 20 makers. 

“Our ecommerce platform was devised to help celebrate and promote the amazing work of our artists and make it easier than ever to connect them with end-consumers and interior designers” said Ema Marinova, founder and director of Cluster Crafts. We are giving artists the opportunity to expand their reach and generate sales outside of our physical exhibition later this year.”  

ecommerce platform



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