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Latest Issue: Nov/Dec 2018

Artisan SME retailers see an increase in sales

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) 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 per cent increase in sales in the last year.

The next twelve months

Over eight in ten (81 per cent) 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 per cent), look for space in another physical store (26 per cent) and use social media (22 per cent). Over half (52 per cent) are also planning to increase their marketing spend and 34 per cent 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 per cent) of UK SME craft and design retailers sell via their own website, 69 per cent sell via a marketplace and 41 per cent through social media. Eight in ten (80 per cent) of these retailers state that selling their products via online channels and marketplaces has helped to increase their sales and 85 per cent feel the design industry is increasingly attracting entrepreneurs.

Beyond the UK

Almost half (49 per cent) of UK SME craft and design retailers export goods, with 50 per cent importing goods. 57 per cent of these retailers sell to overseas customers: three-quarters (74 per cent) are based in Europe, 45 per cent in USA and 35 per cent in Asia. The majority (63 per cent) 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."