There are plenty of ways we could measure how many crafters are out there today: the number of craft markets every weekend, the pages and pages of Etsy listings, and the amount of inspirational Pinterest DIYs speak for themselves. However, for a more concrete idea of who modern crafters really are, we're here with some hard data for you. (If you want to read the stories of real crafters too, check out The Maker Files on our website.)
So who are modern crafters, really? While there are always exceptions to the rule, we've gathered the most accurate crafter demographics we could find and picked out the most important bits for you.
Modern Crafter Demographics
Considering all the resources available today (read: tutorials and how tos, DIY kits, masterclasses and workshops, access to materials in-store and online, blogs, videos, and much more), anyone can become a crafter if they're willing to put in the research and practice. Additionally, while some crafters only make as a hobby from time to time, others work at their craft daily. Despite the wide range of crafters out there, however, the the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI, previously known as the Craft and Hobby Association) conducted a study in 2012 that gives us our most accurate picture of who the average crafter might be. Here are the most important findings in that study:
- At least 62.5 million people participated in one or more crafting activities between 2011-2012.
- 72% of crafters are women.
- On average, they live in homes with 2.94 people.
- 42% have children.
- The median age of crafters is between 35-44 (but this age is actually decreasing over time).
- Ethnically, they are fairly representative of the U.S. population.
- Nearly half of crafters report crafting for 10+ years.
In summary, if there is a so-called "average crafter," that person is likely to be a middle-aged woman with children. However, you should in no way count out outliers to these rules. As the craft industry continues to grow and diversify, so do the crafters that partake in creative activities. To get a feel of the scope of many craft industries, you can read the stories of real makers in our interview series The Maker Files.
Of course, we can continue to break those categories down even further. For example, here's an awesome infographic by Grace Dobush that represents the distribution of crafters by age within different industries.
Today's Craft Categories
Since there are numerous craft categories out there to consider, and often a lot of overlap of techniques, materials, and product preferences across categories, it's worthwhile to consider which are the most popular crafts today. For a detailed rundown of how modern craft activities are segmented, you can check out our recent blog post. For now, here's our list of some of the most popular craft categories today, including links to our individual research and discussions for each:
- Painting and Drawing
- Jewelry Making
- Needle Crafts
- Knitting and Crochet
- Kids Crafts
- Ceramics and Pottery
- Edible Arts
- Paper Crafts
The Evolution of Modern Crafters
Quartz Media says that the U.S. creativity market is a $44 billion industry, based on statistics collected by the AFCI. Thanks to the rise of the Maker Movement and the collective moving away from the mass-produced market, people today are more likely than ever to make exactly the item they want with their own hands (or buy one that was handcrafted by someone else in their community). The more momentum that the Maker Movement picks up, the more the maker community grows and changes.
So what changes are happening now, and what ones can maker brands look forward to in the future? As Quartz says, "This is a story about the business of creativity, an age-old industry adapting to new generations around the world, as the business of selling and distributing craft products is reinvented in the digital economy." In other words, online access to products from all over the world make it possible for more crafters to contribute to the movement than ever — and those crafters are looking for partners they can trust. As a maker brand, both the products you offer and the online resources you put into the hands of crafters translate into your presence in the market. To get a crafter's attention, you usually need to be teaching them something valuable.
Definitely expect electronics to be more involved in the craft industry than ever: crafters are actually getting younger since that 2012 study, and more tech-savvy to boot, according to Quartz's report. Additionally, brands are seeing a lot of success using online platforms and crafty influencers to promote their products. Finally, some of the quickest rising (and purchase driving) trends in the craft community today come in the form of creative events: from craft shows and conventions to pop-up shops and wine-and-painting parties, people of all ages are making crafting not just a hobby, but an occasion to be celebrated. Those are certainly some trends that are worth nurturing in your brand's messaging.