Consumers’ fascination with adult coloring books is only one example of the many developments within the handmade movement that’s helping to boost sales of coloring, art, and writing supplies. According to NPD data, retail sales of coloring and art supplies reached $1.1 billion in 2015 after growing over $125 million in the past two years. The fourth quarter makes up nearly half of unit and dollar sales online for these supplies, with consumers shopping for holiday gift ideas or using these supplies for craft-related projects. At retail stores, over 30 percent of yearly dollar sales occur during the fourth quarter, with consumers purchasing gifts like art kits or even self-gifting items like adult coloring books*. For adult coloring books, approximately 1-in-10 adults currently own one, and 1-in-5 are still interested in buying one**.
Over the last 10 years, the handmade movement as a whole has nearly doubled. Millennials are driving the growth within this movement, making up half of crafters and spending twice as much as any other demographic***. The handmade movement is attractive to Millennials aligning with important values such as authenticity, self-expression, and empowerment through a do-it-yourself approach, all while promoting the spirit of education, good health, and entrepreneurship. Millennials are frequenting wine and paint nights, art classes, and crafting events, and their affinity for working with their hands and sharing their creativity is not exclusive. Other generations are participating and contributing to this movement as well. On Etsy, for example, 63 percent of sellers are 35 years of age or older.
The handmade movement is estimated to be a $29 billion industry and it’s expected to continue to grow***. With the widespread availability and adoption of visual social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, new ideas, projects, or activities which were once done at home alone or with a small circle of friends are now being shared with millions. Social networking websites like Coursehorse.com and Meetup.com provide crafters, artists, and makers with an opportunity to connect with likeminded individuals, exchange ideas, and meet-up at common ‘makerspaces.’ Strangers become project buddies, teachers, and even friends. In addition to the social element of crafting, marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy provide the crafter with a platform to not only share ideas, but start and grow a business as well.
In the U.S., craft stores are expanding their footprint to meet the needs of this growing movement, and mass merchandisers are also responding by expanding their craft department presence both inside the store and online. As old trends fade out and new ones pick up, it will be important to pay attention and maintain a pulse on the market potential and permeation of popular trends.
*The NPD Group, Inc. / Weekly Retail Tracking Service, 52 weeks ending January 02, 2016
***“Etsy and Pinterest Allow Millennials to Leave Their ‘Maker’s Mark,’” Millennial Marketing, 2016