Since there has been a slight decrease in Etsy sales during 2019, which now bleeds into 2020, Etsy sellers are wondering whether they should continue to offer their services on Etsy or to go elsewhere.
While there are plenty of amazing platforms out there, do they warrant making the switch from Etsy? Or are there things Etsy sellers can do in order to try to keep their business going strong?
We’ve dissected this topic over the past few articles we’ve written, discussing drops in Etsy views, the demographics, and sales of the site as well as whether or not sellers should close their Etsy stores completely.
In this article, we hope to compile that information into something that will help new sellers and veteran sellers alike decide for themselves.
Is Etsy doing well or dying?
Etsy is still one of the biggest eCommerce sites in the world – especially for the craft and vintage market that they boast. However, due to recent changes, site algorithms, and search engine optimization of the site, many sellers are looking to quit.
Etsy isn’t dying, but new eCommerce platforms are offering different ways for sellers to thrive outside of Etsy’s sphere.
Is Etsy Still the Place to Go for Selling Crafts and Vintage?
Etsy is still the go-to-market for selling crafts, vintage items, handmade goods, and crafting supplies.
This means that they have still cornered that market in the eCommerce sphere – a large one at that – but they do have their shortcomings.
Many other sites like Shopify and eBay host shops that sell crafts as well, but the household name in this industry is still Etsy.com.
There are many opportunities you can have as a seller when you sell your handmade or vintage crafts with Etsy.
The community is a large one online, and there are millions of shops and sellers who are willing to give their advice, discuss changes to the site, and help new and older sellers alike to figure out what they’re doing with their business.
If you are looking to sell handmade crafts or vintage items, Etsy is still the place to go.
Recent Changes on Etsy You Should Know About:
Etsy has created many changes that help sellers with their business. From helping with shipping to auto-renewing listings, Etsy has taken a lot of measures to make sure their sellers are getting top-notch service from their site.
In the past two years, there have been a few major changes you should know about.
Etsy now offers Etsy Plus, Etsy Ads, and Pattern – a way to buy your own domain for your site to exist off the Etsy search engine system. These changes are paid subscriptions that supposedly help sites grow and make more sales.
There are a lot of reasons to get or not to get these subscriptions, as illustrated in our article here, “Does Etsy Plus Help Sales? Here’s What to Expect,”. However, these changes have also changed how sellers operate and how the competition grows on the site.
Etsy Ads & Etsy Plus
We’ve discussed these two paid options for Etsy extensively in other articles but here’s a refresher:
Etsy Ads allows you to set a certain amount of money you are willing to pay per day on ad space throughout the Etsy site and Google search results. Whether you cap it off at $2 or $10, Etsy will take your product and put it at the front of customer’s views during search results.
You can cancel Etsy Ads at any time, and it is not a monthly subscription.
Etsy Plus, on the other hand, is a paid monthly subscription that requires a monthly renewal of $10 in order to give you access to discounts, perks, ad & listing credits, as well as restock requests from your customers.
Note: This monthly subscription package is charged on top of your regular listings and transaction fees.
A Pattern website on Etsy is a way to help you turn your Etsy shop into a full-blown website.
This allows you to expand your sales outside of the marketplace limitations. Furthermore, it allows you to have your own domain, complete customization over your store, and create a blog about your products.
This is basically the all-in-one package for the Etsy seller looking to expand.
If you keep your normal Etsy shop as well as the Pattern site, on top of Etsy’s normal listing fees and transaction fees, you would be paying $15 per month for the Etsy Pattern subscription.
If all of your products go to the Pattern website, you will only be paying the $15 monthly fee, the $3 yearly fee for your domain, and 2.5% Deposit Currency Conversion for international sales and sellers.
Are Etsy Sellers Generally Happy or Leaving?
Even with the large community, huge customer base, and massive appeal that Etsy has to offer, many sellers were discussing leaving the platform in 2019.
Following its huge success in 2018 with billions of dollars in revenue, Etsy had a bit of a slump in 2019.
This terrified small business owners on the site who attributed the issue to Etsy’s “search-engine-like” quality, and that Etsy’s fees and in-site payments that sellers have to meet were killing their business.
As we’ve just now crossed into 2020 at the time of writing this article, it is unclear whether or not this slump is going to stay, or if Etsy will regain its footing and have another successful year like 2018.
If that is the case, many sellers are comfortable to stay. There isn’t a wish to leave based on the platform – merely sales.
However, if the site does continue to slump, many sellers who have large customer bases will probably look to purchase a domain and begin their own website – usually through Shopify.
How is Etsy Doing Financially – Are They Still Profitable?
According to an article written on January 8th, 2020 by Nicholas Rossolillo at Fool.com, Etsy stocks were down in 2019 by 40%, but the site is still profitable.
(see reference link below for the full article by Nicholas Rossolillo)
In fact, Nicholas suggests that buying stock in Etsy is still a good idea next year in 2021 because the site is constantly growing its seller and buyer base. Shareholders are still experiencing high returns on their investment in Etsy, and high-rated sellers are still keeping themselves comfortable from Etsy sales.
However, for newer sellers, making a splash in Etsy’s huge ocean of shops is a difficult task. It’s not impossible but requires a lot of dedication and hard work to getting your product out there and making it the best that it can be.
In 2019, Etsy saw nearly $550 million in revenue and was expected to exceed that in 2020. However, whether or not it makes that goal is yet to be seen.
Is it Getting Easier or Harder to Start a New Etsy Store?
Etsy’s store creation programming is sleeker and faster than ever, requiring very little from the seller besides an email, a bank account, and something to sell.
Starting a store is almost too easy, and doesn’t take much time for sellers to begin. They can see their product immediately on their storefront and know that it will be out there in search results as soon as it can be.
However, it is important to note that setting up your store, and making your first sale, don’t always go hand in hand right away.
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, it can take weeks before your product is found by customers who are searching through a seemingly endless ocean of products on Etsy.com.
This means that while your store may be up, running, and functional, it may not see sales for a long time.
If you have a large online social media following, this may not be the case! In fact, many stores that started getting popular somewhere else online (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) are much more successful in the first month than unknown artists and creators.
So while it isn’t difficult to create a store, it is harder to get sales than ever before.
Is Etsy Growing?
Etsy is still a growing business and is a huge household name all around the world for small businesses, eCommerce, and handmade or vintage goods.
With billions of dollars in revenue and sales, to millions in fees and transactions that go directly into Etsy’s pockets, it would be hard to imagine this company going anywhere any time soon.
However, if you are interested in trying new places, we’ve listed a few below:
What Are Some Alternatives to Etsy to Consider?
One of the oldest sites out there, eBay, has been used to sell whatever you want whenever you want for whatever price for twenty-four years.
While it isn’t the best place to search solely for handmade items, eBay is a popular place for people to try and get rid of the household items they no longer want – though it is becoming a small business site these days.
You can put nearly whatever you like on eBay (as long as it meets their rules and restrictions) and sell those items all over the world.
If you have something to sell, why not on eBay?
Shopify is quickly becoming another household name in the eCommerce industry.
Etsy Pattern is starting to try to emulate Shopify, which allows its users to have their own domains, websites, and full control over their products and customization of their site.
Shopify is a huge industry today, and has a lot of different options for selling nearly anything – you just have to find what works best for you!
Furthermore, many Etsy sellers who grow too big for Etsy’s platform tend to start their own sites through Shopify to sell their products.
Unlike the other sites, Squarespace is more of a build-your-own-website than a shop-builder.
However, with their templates, award-winning designers, and many options to choose from, you can basically make it anything you want.
This is a site that’s used by professionals in the industry and is incredibly easy to use.
While there are hefty subscription fees – depending on what you need – $26/month for the Basic Business Package – it may be worth it in the end for a professional-looking store.
Wix is like SquareSpace in that it provides you with the tools to create your own website for whatever you want, whether that be blogging, photography, portfolios, or your own eCommerce store.
Using their customization tools that follow the same sort of design elements as Canva.com, Wix is a great website for beginners with roughly the same subscription fees as SquareSpace.
Amazon Handmade is basically Amazon’s attempt at being Etsy.
Their online superstore normally sells anything and everything, but with Amazon handmade, you’d better believe there are rules. After your product is approved by the Amazon Handmade team, you can start to try and sell.
This site follows the same sort of code of conduct that Etsy does, but boasts that Amazon has an arsenal of professional team members, marketers, designers and plans for sellers to use in order to make their shops huge.
The setup is free, but you are provided with a professional selling plan to start. Once you make your first sale, Amazon takes a 15% referral fee for using their site.
The rest of their fees are a little confusing (see reference link below), but it seems that if you have more than 40 listings, you will be charged the 15% fee for every product sold on their site.
Sort of like Etsy’s smaller, less-known cousin, sites like ArtFire is handmade marketplaces that let customers post “Wanted” ads for specific, strange, or unique things that they are looking for or want to be made.
ArtFire only has a few categories and not nearly as many shops as Etsy, but it is always interesting to see how other sites and companies are operating.