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Notes From Chad

Nov 13, 2012

by Chad Dickerson handmade and vintage goods

This time of year is usually when I write about the quickly-approaching peak holiday season and I will get to that in a moment. First, I wanted to acknowledge some of the effects of one of the biggest storms in memory to hit the East Coast of the United States: Sandy. While the storm didn’t affect Etsy’s website operations (see this Forums post for more details), a number of businesses in our neighborhood were severely affected, and some of our employees were without power and basic services for days. In times of crisis, you get to see the true character of a company, and I’m proud to report that the Etsy staff responded in the aftermath by helping their coworkers with food, lodging, and transportation, and then by continuing to volunteer to help others in our local communities across the area. I am proud of the team and glad we were able to rally together, while ensuring that most of your businesses were not disrupted.

We understand that the storm affected the ability of some of our sellers on the East Coast of the United States to run their shops, so we emailed 22,000 sellers in the most heavily affected areas to let them know that we are aware of these challenges. We put special policies in place on non-deliveries and feedback, as well as offered billing relief to sellers in storm-affected areas who may need more time to pay their bills. Some eastern shipping hubs remain affected, so we ask buyers all over the world with packages that may be delayed to be patient. We know that recovery is a long-term effort for some, so our thoughts and our efforts continue to be with those in our community who were or are still being affected. If you need to get in touch about storm-related disruptions or have other questions, please contact us.

Despite these recent challenges, the Etsy marketplace has never been stronger as we look towards the peak holiday season. Here are a few numbers:

  • In late October, the Etsy community hit the 20 million member mark, representing a worldwide force of independent businesses and supporters in nearly 200 countries;
  • In the first week of November, we passed the $700M mark for sales so far in 2012 (compared to $525M for all of 2011);
  • The direct checkout system has now processed and deposited over $100M in transactions into seller accounts (double what we reported in September);
  • By the end of the year, over 100M items will have been sold in Etsy’s history.

We enter what will surely be the most successful holiday season in Etsy history with increasing momentum. Last year, the Etsy community blew away all past records, with Cyber Monday sales increasing by more than 80 percent over the prior year and growth rates for the entire month of December exceeding the prior year’s for the first time in Etsy’s history. We are expecting new records to be created in 2012, too.

To help achieve even greater heights this year, we are focusing on bringing new buyers to Etsy and have added a number of new ways to help people shop. We launched the long-awaited Etsy Gift Cards, introduced Holidays and Gift Ideas sections (made possible by our new browse experience), and we continue to curate exceptional gift ideas in the weekly Etsy Gifts email newsletter. Today, one in four visits to Etsy comes from a mobile device, and we know our buyers and sellers are incredibly busy, so we’ve improved our offerings for those on-the-go. The updated Etsy iPhone app supports buying and selling in more languages and gives sellers more mobile shop management tools.

To raise awareness of Etsy in the offline retail environment, we’re launching our first-ever Etsy Holiday Shop in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood from November 29 through December 8. The shop — in one of the most famous shopping districts in the world, next door to Dior, down the street from the Apple Store, with furniture boutiques and coffee shops nearby — will introduce holiday shoppers to hundreds of Etsy sellers, showcase gift selections from well-known curators, and raise awareness of the one-of-a-kind treasures to be found on Etsy, along with a few fun surprises.

To drive traffic to Etsy this holiday season, we will be running a multi-million-dollar online advertising campaign, including search, display, and video advertising. Whether it’s the Etsy Holiday Shop in SoHo or Etsy-sponsored ads online, we want shoppers to know that they don’t have to buy the same old gifts this year; Etsy sellers offer a better choice. And with Etsy Gift Cards, we are expecting more people to learn about Etsy from their friends and family, creating new Etsy fans in 2013.

Etsy is the ultimate place to find unique gifts for the people you are shopping for and we are looking forward to helping all of you — buyers and sellers — have the best season possible. Happy holidays!