More and more Americans are getting crafty

Published: Friday, Feb. 10 2006 12:00 a.m. MST

Bead work falls into the general crafts category, which includes scrapbooking and jewelry-making.

Heather L. Tuttle, Deseret Morning News

LAS VEGAS — Just how big is the craft industry?

Consider a few statistics:

• Last year 75 percent of all American households had at least one person who had ever crafted, and 58 percent had someone who had participated in crafts during the past year.

• Those crafting consumers spent a record $30.6 billion on their projects.

Those figures represent a $3.2 billion increase over 2002 and an average 3.8 percent per year growth since 2002, according to Larry Anderson, vice president of analytics for Ipsos-Insight, a marketing research company that has just completed a comprehensive survey of the crafting community. Results of the survey were released at the Craft & Hobby Association convention held in Las Vegas last week.

"Not many other industries stack up to that," said Sandy Ghezzi, CHA's vice president for marketing, member services and education. "It's an enormous figure and represents growth in many areas."

Many credit scrapbooking with driving the booming numbers. And there's no doubt that it has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. But, surprisingly, it is not the No. 1 craft, said Anderson. In terms of participation, cross-stitch/embroidery and crocheting both still outrank it, with participation by 30 percent and 25 percent of crafting households respectively. Scrapbooking comes in third, with a 24 percent participation rate.

But, added Anderson, scrapbooking is among the fastest-growing crafts, so it could easily take over the top spot. "Everyone wonders if it has peaked, but we don't see it hitting any type of top yet."

The survey divided crafters into four super categories. General crafts, which includes scrapbooking and paper crafts, as well as such things as beading, cake decorating, jewelry-making, candle-making, doll-making, leather crafts, macrame and others, account for a 40-percent slice of the pie. Needle and sewing crafts come in at 25 percent; painting and finishing crafts at 24 percent; and floral crafts at 11 percent.

General crafters spend an average of $26 per project or an average of $272 per year. Needle and sewing crafters spend an average of $23 per project ($202 per year); painters and finishers spend, on average, $34 per project ($215 per year); and floral enthusiasts an average of $29 per project ($157 per year).

But within those categories, there is a lot of crossover as well as a lot of individuality. If you craft, you can see how you compare to the averages, said Anderson.

The survey further identified six cluster groups of crafters, based on attitudes and activities, that range from enthusiasts, who participate in all kinds of different crafts, to specialists who craft mainly to create gifts. These six cluster groups represent major segments of the industry and are also fun for comparison.

But what it really amounts to, said Anderson, is that "it adds up one crafter and one project at a time to become a $30.6 billion industry."

The survey reinforces what many in the industry already believed, said Ghezzi, "the craft industry remains vibrant and strong across all broad craft categories. It once again confirms our belief that the enormous breadth and appeal of crafts continues to grow as more and more consumers discover the personal benefits of crafting."

In fact, she says, with a 58 percent rate of household participation, "more individuals participate in crafting than many other leisure activities, including gardening (36 percent), playing computer games (13 percent), reading books (37 percent), surfing the Internet (27 percent) and dining out (48 percent).

That's not to say the industry has not undergone a lot of change in recent years.

CHA itself was created in 2004, growing out of a merger of two other large trade organizations, the Hobby Industry Association and the Association of Crafts & Creative Interests. That reflects other differences.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere