The English craft market has quadrupled into a £3bn industry in just 16 years with younger people fuelling the boom, a major study by MHM for the Crafts Council has revealed. The report, launched in May 2020 includes recommendations to further develop the market.
The 2020 study – the third we’ve undertaken for the Crafts Council – found craft has entered the mainstream with nearly three quarters of the population in England now in the market.
Comparing findings on the size and nature of the craft market with two previous reports in 2006 and 2010, our research shows that the number of people buying craft in England has grown from 6.9m in 2004 to 31.6m in 2020 while the value of the sector has grown from £883m to £3bn.
This growth has been driven by social trends that mean many people these days value experiences and authenticity over mass consumption, and prioritise wellness, ethical consumption and sustainability over throwaway culture.
This has fuelled an expansion of craft markets and fairs. Meanwhile the development of ecommerce has enabled more makers to enter the market, raise awareness and reach more people.
This expansion in the market has chiefly taken place amongst younger age groups, buying lower value items than was found in the previous studies: the average purchase price has dropped from £157 to £124.
The report, which the Crafts Council launched on 26 May 2020, includes recommendations to further develop the market through initiatives that encourage deeper engagement and greater risk-taking; investing in continuing professional development of makers and intermediaries; and growing international sales.