Artisan Britain: two-thirds of SME craft and design retailers see an increase in sales

Almost two-thirds (65%) of the UK SME craft and design retailers spoken to have seen an increase in their sales over the last twelve months, according to a study commissioned by Royal Mail. On average, these retailers have seen a 19% increase in sales in the last year.

The next 12 months

Over eight in ten (81%) of these retailers are confident that their sales will continue to increase in the next year. To grow sales, UK SME craft and design retailers intend to list their products on more marketplace sites (41%), look for space in another physical store (26%) and use social media (22%). Over half (52%) are also planning to increase their marketing spend and 34% intend to take advantage of the increased interest in UK exports.

Popular products and online channels

Gifts, artwork and jewellery are the most common products sold by UK SME craft and design retailers. Stationery, children’s clothing and adults’ clothing are also popular products to make and sell in the UK. Almost three-quarters (72%) of UK SME craft and design retailers sell via their own website, 69% sell via a marketplace and 41% through social media. Eight in ten (80%) of these retailers state that selling their products via online channels and marketplaces has helped to increase their sales and 85% feel the design industry is increasingly attracting entrepreneurs.

Beyond the UK

Almost half (49%) of UK SME craft and design retailers export goods, with 50% importing goods. 57% of these retailers sell to overseas customers: three-quarters (74%) are based in Europe, 45% in USA and 35% in Asia. The majority (63%) of UK SME craft and design retailers are aiming to increase their international sales revenue over the next 12 months.

A spokesperson for Royal Mail Parcels said “The craft and design sector is booming in the UK and it’s promising to see the level of confidence from SMEs in this space. At Royal Mail, we support many retailers across a variety of sectors and we’re also helping to make exporting simpler through our easy to use Click & Drop system. We look forward to supporting more craft and design retailers in the future”.

A spokesperson for arts and crafts channel Hochanda TV said “We have seen the craft sector go from strength to strength with crafting having become a popular hobby across all age groups. With Hochanda being a relative newcomer to the sector, we have enjoyed unprecedented growth as a result of bringing some of the most popular crafting brands, demonstrations and entertainment to UK TV.”