Etsy has long served as an on-ramp to entrepreneurship for creators, designers, and makers all over the world, allowing them the freedom and flexibility to work and build a business on their own terms. The importance of being able to build and grow a small business on Etsy was abundantly clear over the last year, amidst a global pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. Nearly two million new sellers turned to Etsy last year—bringing the total number of active sellers on Etsy at the end of 2020 to 4.4 million—looking for economic opportunity as well as personal fulfillment during challenging times.
Today, Etsy is releasing our 2020 Global Seller Census, including new data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our seller community. We found that the pandemic drove many to start creative businesses in a time of economic upheaval:
- 44% of sellers who started their business in the past year did so due to COVID-19.
- Half cite financial challenges as prompting them to start their creative businesses, with loss of employment driving many (11% job loss, 10% unable to find work, and 8% unable to work to care for a family member).
- 9 in 10 sellers say the importance of Etsy income has stayed the same or increased.
- And the economic impact extends beyond our marketplace as the vast majority of sellers support local vendors and suppliers, if not in their own state or province (39%), then in their own country (54%).
Despite the challenges of 2020, Etsy offered stability (and even growth!) for new and existing sellers:
- 2 in 3 sellers say their Etsy income has held steady, if not grown, since the start of the pandemic.
- Approximately 40% of sellers with a sale had double the number of sales in 2020 vs. 2019, and nearly three quarters of these sellers actually had quadruple the number of sales.
- On average, new sellers in 2020 received over 2x more orders in the first 30 days after opening a shop than new sellers in 2019.
The report also highlights who our sellers are, how they operate their businesses, and the impact they have on their communities and the broader economy, showing that:
- Etsy offers an on-ramp to creative entrepreneurship for millions of sellers around the world:
- 81% of sellers identify as women
- 92% of sellers are sole owners and 97% operate their businesses from their homes
- 1 in 4 live in rural areas
- Average age is 39 (33 years old for those who began selling in the last year)
- For 48% of sellers, Etsy was the first place they sold their goods
- Sellers’ businesses help build resilience for themselves and their families:
- 41% use income from their creative business to cover household expenses like bills, rent, and food.
- For 30%, their creative business is their sole occupation.
- For the rest, it provides an important source of supplemental income–12% of household income, on average.
- 4 in 10 have financial dependents, including 24% who have children at home.
Beyond the data, the poignant stories of sellers’ journeys highlight just how much Etsy meant to them during this time. For baker and chef Jean Jenner, Etsy was a “lifesaver” as he began selling artisanal flour and yeast online after his bakery temporarily shut down at the start of the pandemic. For mom-of-two Melissa Paden, sales of her educational posters on Etsy skyrocketed due to at-home learning, helping her family pay for groceries and put money towards the rent. And for jewelry-maker Healther Challberg, her sales on Etsy became her family’s full-time income source due to the challenges of 2020.
2020 reinforced the notion that creative entrepreneurship can be a powerful force for good, providing income and jobs, driving local economic development, and helping to revitalize and bring hope to communities around the world. During 2021 and beyond, Etsy remains committed to supporting our community around the world.