Crafts Council publishes first industry report

The Crafts Council, alongside support from the Goldsmiths’ Company, has published the first major report that identifies the strength and popularity of the craft industry in Britain. 

Its findings will work to help drive market demand and “inform an action plan for the economic recovery of the craft sector, post Covid-19”.

The newly-published Market for Craft report found that 73% of UK adults bought craft in 2019, purchasing almost 25 million handcrafted objects. 

Over 10 million British customers bought craft items online, and jewellery was the most popular craft discipline to purchase by volume, with 7.3 million jewellery objects purchased.  

The purchase of glass and metal also saw a “sizeable growth”, with the market for each increasing more than five-fold since 2006. Meanwhile, British craft sales increased from £883m in 2006 to over £3 billion in 2020 

The report in question was carried out by the Crafts Council, the Goldsmiths’ Company and seven leading national partners among 5,000 UK residents, 1,500 US citizens and 1,700 professional makers.

Undertaken before the pandemic, the findings were “thrown into sharp relief” by a subsequent Crafts Council survey of nearly 600 UK-based makers, highlighting the challenges to businesses during lockdown. 

The Crafts Council said that the “maturing” of the craft market in the UK can be attributed to a number of wider trends that are “likely to accelerate” as a result of the pandemic. 

It noted that the rise of e-commerce, the favouring of investment purchases and an interest in sustainability and supporting small business all “underline the consumer appeal of craft and the making sector to brands and sectors of influence such as retail and property”.

The Goldsmiths’ Company said: “The research is a rich resource for the craft sector to deepen their understanding of consumers, what, how and why they buy craft. 

“With a quarter of makers already facing a negative impact of Brexit on their business, many makers will be in a precarious situation in a post-pandemic world – losing not only their opportunities to sell their work, but also on their other sources of income – be that teaching, workshops or hospitality jobs.”

It added: “The craft economy was growing at a significant rate. The joint findings will be utilised by the Crafts Council to lobby the government and industry bodies to support the recovery of the craft sector.”