Thursday, November 13, 2008

The few stats we get

The few stats sellers actually get from Etsy are the monthly site totals - site views, listings, signups, and revenue. Now, this doesn't help an individual shop, but it does help monitor Etsy's bullshit meter. 'People are making money running Etsy shops!' Eh, no, they're not...still.

For the past few months, there have been equal increases in new listings and sales (5%), which shows a status quo and an ever growing pool of items on the site. This time though, October saw a difference between new listings and sales, and it's not in the good direction.

Here are October’s key numbers, each of which represent the highest total ever:

  • $8.4 million of goods were sold — a 5.9% increase over September.
  • That represents 577,398 items sold, a 6% increase from September's stats.
  • 976, 234 new items were listed, up from 911,191 items last month, a 7.1% increase.
  • 102,778, new members joined the Etsy community, including 19,689 new sellers. That’s our first month ever with over 100,000 new members — a 6.5% increase vs. September.

So, in short...the average selling price hasn't changed (~$14.50), twice as many items were listed than sold, and the seller pool has increase by, well, a lot. This means that when spread across all sellers, we each sold about 2 yay! we each made 30 bucks last month!! Oh yeah, that totally pays the ummm hmmm Etsy bill. Of course, some sellers do high volumes, supplies for instance, so this means that the majority of sellers sold absolutely nothing.

Good luck out there folks. Needless to say, we're continuing to assess alternatives so we can share them with you.


geelizzie said...

I do think that the economy has a *lot* to do with sales numbers going down. i know my sales have gone down by about 50% since Sept, and it can't all be etsy's fault. I also know that the only etsy purchases I've made have been supplies rather than handmade.

wicked bitchy said...

In line with this... did anyone notice the Good Morning America video mentioned in the forums this morning "helping cheryl find a job"

Cheryl finds some freelance work but they play up the fact that the GMA chick told her to also list her paintings on ETSY.

So flash to the job fair that GMA is putting on- with real employers there- and who is there keeping court - with a gigantic ETSY ad behind her and an ETSY table??? Cheryl.

Why is ETSY at a job fair? They certainly don't have enough ACTUAL jobs to be there offering work to the unemployed masses.

They are there to market their handmade dream. The crowd around the booth was huge.

It's a little disturbing that they are portaying themselves as a viable way to make a living, when very very very few people make a "living" on etsy.

Not stunned that ETSY would try to attract sellers- that's a no brainer- but am a little stunned at the depths they would sink to to bring unsuspecting, desperate and starry eyed folk into the etsy madness- just so they can make a few bucks on people who probably don't have the bucks to spare.


MOJ said...

I think Etsy has found itself in a perfect storm. Hundreds of thousands of sellers who know nothing about business and accounting dying to make any sale...cha-ching fees out the yang. If they can ride the fees wave until the economy is better they will outlast many other sites. If not it was a nice ride in a bad economy. I'm starting to think the Etsy is more like the "dumb" blond who is not so dumb.

Sales every where are down. Heck in my state all the school districts are talking going to 4 day weeks because they budgets are so short they can't afford to stay open 5. The libraries and several local cities are considering or have already decided to adopt similar measures.

I'm not the alarmist panic type but I'm thinking no sales on Etsy is likely going to be a laugh in comparison with what most of us are going to face in the next few years.

Angel said...

Cripes. We need more buyers. Not sellers. As it is we literally trip over eachother in the fora. And quite frankly, I'd rather lynch some of them for their childish behaviour.

Let the drama continue...

Anonymous said...

I have over 170 listing's on etsy and I promote like crazy and I'm still not selling as much as I am on ebay. It sucks! I hate ebay but for now, it's the only venue that's giving me a good income.

MOJ said...

I know for myself at least I spent about $120 on Etsy last year for Christmas about 1/3 my Christmas budget. This year I'm spending nothing. I just can't afford it. My Christmas budget is zero. I'll be making my kids a few things (not sure what to make for teen boys yet) and that's it. We have our 16th wedding anniversary coming up and I hoped for a night out now I'm hoping to have a job by then and be working that night.

Honestly at this point Etsy could be on the front page of every major magazine in the world and the sales wouldn't budge more than $.10 per shop. I think they know that and don't see the point in wasting the money on something they will not profit from.

confused said...

etsy doesn't care if anyone buys, they want sellers, sellers and more sellers. Because the know that we will continue to list list list and then renew renew renew.

MOJ said...

ugg...I'm brain dead. What my less than clear point was supposed to be is that. Etsy knows advertising in major publications won't bring enough buyers to make it worthwhile to them. So they stick to advertising the draws sellers who are inexperienced. They get more for their money that way.

I don't renew like crazy because until the search is fixed IMO it's pointless. I'm a total newb to selling but I can do basic math. Spending $3.00 in fees to sell a $15 item that you spent $8 in supplies and 6 hours to make is not a profit. I would say 70% of the shops on Etsy right now don't grasp that.

Andy Mathis said...

Here a link to the Story on Good Morning America. The 2 videos, Great American Job Fair, and Helping Cheryl are in the box, at the top, to the right.

You can see the Etsy booth, in the Helping Cheryl Find a Job.

In the middle of the holiday season, Etsy is marketing Etsy to new sellers. Leaving Etsy sellers, on their own, to market their shops to buyers.

anotheretsyseller said...

While I do agree that Etsy is LACKING in alot of aspects,I do not think that the site itself is to blame.

My sales, despite hard times, went up this year compared to last (as a whole). I do not purchase ad's on blogs, nor project wonderful, nor do I hang around the forums.

I take good pictures (well--the best I can manage with my humble camera, and cloudy weather), use the 14 itty tags we all get, list my items throughout the day (by now I have the good days, and not so good ones figured out), price them competitively (believe me, my shop and more than 12 others are practically the same) have items in different price points and as a result, get alot of repeat customers, as well as some that have had my shop recommended to them by others purchase from me.

I am not stating this to brag, but simply saying that you have to look at the site as just a launching pad to get seen, and the rest is up to you, and to luck.

and no.. I do not work for them, nor do I agree with everything the site does, or has done in the past and present.

bluh said...

Uh... Etsy sales are up (as they have been every month since it started)

New listings are up (as they have been every month since the beginning)

Revenue is up (as it has been every month since the beginning)

New sellers are joining in greater numbers and so are new buyers - as they have every month since the beginning

I think it's hilarious that people take these Etsy stats personally. They're just numbers. They are impersonal. You throw them up there and immediately start bitching about how sales are terrible. Do you not know what "increase of 6%" means? It means that sales are NOT terrible - sales on the whole are increasing, even as the economy worsens. The stock market took a huge dive in October, but Etsy continued to grow - and at a greater percentage than the previous month. And somehow this means sales are terrible?

As you say, if you are making no sales, that means somebody else is making your share and their share and maybe even a little more. In other words, some other Etsy shop is taking your business. And they are using exactly the same you are.

Which shows that it is the other shops on Etsy that are your competitors, not Etsy. Start acting like a business in competition and stop waiting for Etsy to solve your problems for you, and you just might join those shops who are contributing to the steady growth.

TheSneakyOne said...

Bluh Said: "Do you not know what "increase of 6%" means? It means that sales are NOT terrible - sales on the whole are increasing, even as the economy worsens."

Umm.. Maybe you're horrible at math, but as long as the sellers flood in, the increase will be minuscule, if not going backwards. It means that the items listed are doubling, but that the sales are not truly keeping up with them. The ratio is whacked. If business were truly good for sellers, you would see the ratio shrinking, but instead it is widening.

Etsy's trying to spin this into something positive so ass sucking cupcakes like you will keep on worshiping the ground they walk on.

The Funny One said...

Taking stats personally is not the issue, but how Etsy views and treats the hands that feed it. And the fact that Etsy pays a lot of people a fulltime wage to blog all day long while, after 4 years, the sellers do all of the actual work on the site.

Sales are down, and this is already a bad time to be selling online, but ya have to admit that Etsy is spinning a tired, worn out myth (along with a lot of other deluded media hacks) that anyone can QYDJ and make big bucks on Etsy.

Hell, Etsy has NO CLUE what it's like to run their own business - they get a regular PAYCHECK!

Oh yes, you can make money on Etsy, but read what Etsy spins:
*your products must be priced from $1 to $15
*you were annointed by Etsy to be one of their golden children and you get 1. to be FS at least once a year, maybe more 2. you get numerous "articles" written about you for several months on the blog AFTER you have been in a Finds email AND added to several categories of the Gift Guides 3. you keep showing up in those endless photo-montages on the blog about Etsy-manufactured-trends and OFTEN.

You get SO MUCH FREE ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION ON ETSY FOR WEEKS ON END, yeah, your sales are probably going to go up.

Which, in the world-of-Etsy is probably only about 150 sellers (in all of 2008) out of 200,000.

The straws that will break Etsy's back will be a huge drop in sales for those 195,850 stores over the next 6-12 months and the unbelievable cost of carrying a headcount (with lots of new expensive "managers") who have no direct link to making any money for the company.

And an entrenched attitude at Etsy that they'll "do their thing" and sellers will "do their thing" and the 2 shall never meet.

And they'll miss the whole point of setting up a business in the first place. They already have.

eclipse said...

bluh said...
Uh... Etsy sales are up (as they have been every month since it started)
New listings are up (as they have been every month since the beginning)

But the sales-to-listing RATIO is worse than last month. In other words- listings are rising faster than sales are.
More listings= benefits Etsycorp but does not benefit sellers
more sales= benefits both sellers and etsycorp

you can't just look at a number in isolation, you have to look at how it related to the other numbers.
A bigger pie shared between more people doesn't mean you get a bigger slice. You might actually be getting less pie.

oops said...

ummm, just fyi, the truth is etsy does have a lot of job openings out there. Maybe less drama and more facts would be good.

TheSneakyOne said...

BZZZT! Oops, you'd better try again...

Product Team

* UX Designer
* UI Designer

Engineering Team

* Senior Database Administrator
* Database Engineer
* Developer
* Junior Developer

Business Operations Team

* Director, Business Development
* Web Analytics Manager

Taken from

I wouldn't call that "a lot of jobs" and most of these require that you belong in Brooklyn, not Georgia..

foxaz said...

I haven't seen eBay advertising at any job fairs.

I must say, you've got to hand it to the folks running Etsy. They're certainly doing their best to stay afloat in this poor economy.
It's not quite like the old scam -"Stuff envelopes at home! Make big money!" But it has similarities, doesn't it?

Andy Mathis said...

you didn't watch the video did you?

It's great that ABC helps someone get back on track.

However, Etsy's message is clear. Their presence in Atlanta tells people, "Why are you looking for a job? Come. Make things. Sell and Prosper."

It's the "Quit your DayJob before you have a Dayjob" Series. Look for it to debut in the Storque soon.

ishi said...

does anyone know if the new items listed number includes renewals?

i'm charting this out in an effort to procrastinate. also, i'd love to see month over month comparisons to last year. maybe it's different with internet businesses, but usually in retail sales are compared to prior year - month over month sales don't always mean much because of seasonality.

starbright, starlight said...

I agree that selling people the idea that they can make a living on Etsy is bogus. Matter of factually, most people are not talented enough, skilled enough or business savvy enough to sell their crafts for a living.

Does Etsy have the ethical sense to tell these people this? No. Why? Because Etsy's interest is in selling listing and renewals. That's what Etsy does.

End of story.

If I worked more hours, and hire people to do my dirty work, I'd make plenty on Etsy. I make and list 3 things a day at $35-60 each. I sell between 1-2 a day, average. I made as much last month as I would make working just a little over part time. For minimum wage. And I work less than part time, a week, and not on weekends.

But, I'm lucky. I was born into a very talented family, raised around beads and fabric, and yarn. My entire purpose in life, since I could construct, is creation.

Etsy should be more careful who they sell the "dream" to. But, Etsy isn't in the business of evaluating your talent and ability.

If they were, the site would be juried.

One of my girlfriends is looking for a job. And jokingly I said, "you have two hands, make something and sell it on Etsy."

She laughed.

eclipse said...

No, that stat is just new listings, not renewals before an item expires.
I asked this a long time ago in a Storque article I think, when they used to do those "newscasts" that had the stats in the form of a weather report. One of the admins said it was just new listings not renewals. I doubt they will ever reveal the # of renewals per month because their revenue depends on that number and they don't want people to see how futile it is.

shootmeinthefoot said...

Facts about Etsy:
They make money off new and more sellers, thus stats for seasoned sellers won't happen as the thousands of new hobbyists don't require them.
Advertising towards buyers is not a priority since sellers foot the bill.
I like the analogy of the dumb blond who knows exactly what she is doing and how she accomplishes her little agenda. We may think she doesn't get it or she doesn't listen while the game works perfectly for her.
More variety on the homepage? Nope, their 150 favored sellers provide the look they want. Variety won't happen in the sense we are asking for it, as it does nothing for Etsy.
Sad facts, but once you look at them without the emotion of anger, you can go ahead and conduct your business in a different manner and do what works for you. Loosen this relationship with Etsy and make it "the second wife" while you finally give the love and attention to the brunette who is truly loyal to you, website, better venues etc.

Heather said...

It's not quite like the old scam -"Stuff envelopes at home! Make big money!" But it has similarities, doesn't it?

Foxaz, I'd say it's *exactly* like that old scam. Even the part where you have to buy your own envelopes, er...craft/art supplies!

bluh said...

Are there or are there not people who are making a living making handmade items and selling them through Etsy?

There are.

Are Etsy's sales and revenues up again?

They are.

So please explain the logic that concludes from these two established facts that sales are down and that people cannot make a living selling on Etsy.

What I see is a group of people whose particular sales are NOT up and who would like to make a living selling their stuff but currently cannot. And these same people are blaming Etsy for this and offering all sorts of reasons.

I see nobody here asking questions about HOW those other shops are increasing their sales despite a terrible economy, or what other things they are doing (including, probably, selling other places as well).

Every time I hear someone complain about the rate of new sellers or say "we need more buyers, not more sellers" I know I'm listening to one of these people who is wrapped up in this notion that Etsy is keeping them down - as if one of Etsy's services is to eliminate competition. Anyone who seriously thinks this should re-evaluate whether she should be in business at all.

Just because one person can't make a go of it selling online does not mean that it is impossible. And guess what? It might just have something to do with what that person sells, fashion trends, quality of product, customer service, advertising, talent - in other words all the things this blog spends so much time hammering Etsy for not doing "right." Nevertheless, some shops are making it, and they're using the same Etsy you are, despite its problems.

So maybe the problem isn't entirely with Etsy after all. Their sales are up again, remember?

Andy Mathis said...

shootmeinthefoot 4 Prezident!

you 'xplained it perfectly.

The Righteous One said...

bluh, I'm not even going to address the brunt of what you said because you don't know shit. Right here:

"Are there or are there not people who are making a living making handmade items and selling them through Etsy?

There are."

No there aren't! The top sellers dont even make enough to call it 'a living' so how can anyone else? They make a living off of handmade by using many venues, NOT Etsy.

And Etsy's revenues may be up, but they sale to seller ratio is waaaayyy down. That's the whole point.

life-during-wartime said...

Bluh, I hear what you're saying. But if a seller is willing and able to work hard enough to handmake, list, ship etc etc enough product to really make a living AND spend the time marketing their Etsy shop...well, what do they need Etsy for?

I think an Etsy shop is one way (among many) a creative person can kinda get their feet wet selling their stuff online.

Yes, there are sellers who have made lots of sales -- and some $$$$ -- on Etsy. There are also artists and crafters who have QTDJ, have an online presence, but never opened an Etsy shop.

Etsy isn't the ultimate evil by any means. But I think Etsy is pretty much a typical online group-of-shops venue which makes its $$$ mainly from sellers' fees, advertises mainly to potential sellers, has a backdoor 'jurying' process that pushes certain types of sellers to the fore, and has a reputation for lousy customer service. Etsy is not OOAK.

eclipse said...

bluh said...

Are there or are there not people who are making a living making handmade items and selling them through Etsy?

Rokali said there are 50 sellers on Etsy who sell over $30,000 of merchandise a year. For the sake of argument lets pretend Etsy is their only sales venue.
That $30,000 is gross sales. Let's assume 25% of their sales price goes for labor and materials. Maybe another 5% for overhead, Etsy fees, paypal fees, etc. That leaves $21,000 a year net. Which they also have to pay taxes on, so that is not take-home pay. Let's say after taxes they get to keep $18,000 a year.
Even for a single person with no kids, that is below the poverty line in many US states. If you're also raising kids on that income, it's way below poverty.

And this is only the 50 "lucky" ones who get to eat ramen every night and can't afford health care, only 50 out of 200,000 sellers who are allegedly "making a living" off Etsy alone.

Ok now define "making a living"?
Is being a SAHM or a homemaker that sells on Etsy but whose husband is the primary breadwinner considered "making a living"? It might be making a car payment or buying some groceries, but it's not really making a living. As in, you cannot LIVE on that income.

Is living with your parents while you're still in school considered "making a living"? No, it's making some extra money but you're not paying rent and food, therefore not living on that income.

The only people "making a living" on Etsy are either selling on other venues in addition to Etsy, wholesale clients, etc., or they have other income sources such as a spouse or parent.

starbright, starlight said...

I think you rise a lot of great points. If you're selling on Etsy, and making decent money. It would be wise to expand into other venues.

Once the britches get the point of hiring help, you kinda get pushed out of Etsy anyhow.

For a SAHM that doesn't need to work, it's a great way to bring in something extra.

BUT, if your idea takes off, you have to think past Etsy. You have to. There's no reason to keep feeding off the pond, when you've got the ocean out there just waiting for you.

The Funny One said...

OK, making stuff (or listing supplies and stuff)and selling stuff does happen on Etsy but the QYDJ clique and "high volume" sellers on Etsy have LOTS OF FREEBIES, courtesy Etsy:
FREE advertising
FREE promotions
FREE distinct listings and email and blog promotions
PRIME real estate placings on the site and frequently.

mickens said...

yes some people are making a living on etsy, its true

many of the top sellers have changed their shipping, are offering discounts and coupons to their other online shop w/discounts.

and a few top sellers have dropped their prices.

some of the supply sellers and a few jewelry artists and folks like the black apple are making the bulk of their income off of etsy

yet what seems inequitable is the disproportionate amount of attention that goes to about 20-30 of these sellers.yes some of them did go to school with admins. some of them were neighbors or friends . whatever.

regardless of their situation there isnt one seller on etsy, who had been making most of their income from etsy, who has now been impacted by the current financial climate.i dont care what they tell you online or in person or post anonymously. this financial situation delves into every aspect of our personal and collective economies. and. if you are really nosy you can go in and track their sales & contrast and compare if you are an ISTJ or something.

bluh said...

To quote myself:

"I see nobody here asking questions about HOW those other shops are increasing their sales despite a terrible economy, or what other things they are doing (including, probably, selling other places as well)."

Success is going to involve selling elsewhere and promoting the hell out of your stuff. Nowhere does Etsy say you will not need to do this.

This is a strawman - pretending that Etsy has promised us a living and then finding dozens of reasons - all of them Etsy's fault - why we aren't making a living.

Etsy isn't promising anyone a living. Anyone going into it thinking they will make a living at it had better be prepared to lose money for a few years and work her ass off 60 hours a week or more. That's not unique to Etsy - that's just being self-employed. Anyone who thinks this fact is a secret that Etsy has somehow hidden from all of us hasn't done her homework and is probably destined to remain a hobbyist.

Here's what I take from Etsy's numbers - despite a huge slowdown in overall retail sales in October, Etsy's sales increased. We all know that supplies are the biggest movers on Etsy. Wanna bet that more people are making their own winter caps this year rather than buying new ones? Know anyone who is planning on making holiday gifts this year rather than buying stuff for people? I do. These people are buying supplies.

Etsy lists supplies. That's the plain fact. They don't break out the numbers by category, but I'd bet a tube of seed beads supplies sales increased as a percentage of total sales.

A person can sit around and bitch about supplies vs handmade vs vintage (for instance) but it doesn't change the marketplace. If your own sales are down, take a realistic look inward first before being so quick to cast blame outward. If you're selling something that is no longer popular or is considered a "luxury" in hard times, it might be time to diversify. If you're relying on Etsy to do all your marketing and advertising, get busy yourself.

Somebody is making up that steady increase in Etsy's sales. It could be you just as well as them.

Andy Mathis said...

There are some things Etsy gets right, and there are things that Etsy could do better.

However, Bluh, I just am not buying that story that everyone is failing because of their own fault. Unless, that person is drinking the kool-aid, renewing like a maniac and sell exclusively on Etsy.

You obviously are not selling in the art category where the original paintings are mixed in with prints. How is that the artists fault? It isn't. It's like 2 steps forward, and 1 step back.

I am interested in seeing your shop. I assume you are selling on Etsy. Care to share the url? Send me a convo.

eclipse said...

Somebody is making up that steady increase in Etsy's sales. It could be you just as well as them.

Sales are increasing at a slower rate than items listed and # of sellers are increasing. This is actually a LOSS of sales, not a gain. You have to look at the ratio not just a single number. You can also go into any top sellers sold items and see they are selling much fewer items per day than they did in November of last year.

bluh said...

How Etsy arranges its categories is certainly not the seller's fault, but if a seller is holding that up as the only reason they can't get ahead, they have only themselves to blame.

So your originals are listed next to prints. My carefully crafted and clearly photographed items are listed next to blurry pictures of similar, but far crappier items. So are everyone else's. The playing field is not level, but it's slanted the same way for all of us.


No, eclipse, it is not a loss in sales. Sales IS a single number, and that number is up. I understand what you mean by comparing the sales to the number of new items listed. You can call that whatever you want, but its not "sales."

If you are saying that the average number of sales per seller is down, then, since the raw number of sales is increasing, if this average goes down then it means that the number of new sellers is increasing faster than sales - right?

In other words, we're back to the "Etsy needs more buyers not more sellers" argument that seems to imply that Etsy's job is to get rid of our competition so we can all have a bigger slice of the pie.

However a more complete look would make note of the fact that half of the sellers on Etsy have no items in their shops. That doubles your average sales per seller right there. How many sellers have multiple shops? That ups the average, too. How many of the 20,000 new sellers last month are second or third shops opened by current sellers? How many open up empty and stay empty? All of these numbers - which are unknown but greater than zero - affect the actual number of active sellers on Etsy and increase the average number of sales per seller. Without knowing them, it is impossible to say whether this average is moving up or down, or for what reason.

And it really isn't important IF someone is taking a critical look at all her options and taking responsibility for her own marketing, promotion and diversification. It might just come down to the fact that Etsy is not the best marketplace for whatever it is she sells. In that case, making a change in venue or in her product would be the smart thing to do, since this is something she has direct control over. She does not have direct control over Etsy, and after a while the bitching about how Etsy won't do anything starts to look like an excuse for not doing anything herself.

MOJ said...

I just am not buying that story that everyone is failing because of their own fault. Unless, that person is drinking the kool-aid, renewing like a maniac and sell exclusively on Etsy.
I think that there are many shops who do just this. They are in the forums complaining all day everyday.

Andy Mathis said...

I am not believing it until I see some evidence of credibility- like a shop name.

starlight said...

I have no idea how people who bitch all day even get anything done. I gave up the forums, and put all my effort into my shop. And I was doing well before the forums. I wasn't there bitching, I was hanging out. I'm doing a million times better now.

Certain things just aren't going to sell. If your item isn't in demand, and mine is, I'm going to take your sale.

Bottom line.

No matter what the statistics are saying.

I'm not defending Etsy. Because there's a thousand things they screw up. Nothing we need is ever a priority, as sellers. The admins are shit at tact. And nothing ever works when it's first debuted.

But, If I was trying to sell headbands for $10, and they weren't selling for a year, I'd start to ask myself if maybe the market doesn't want them. Maybe it's me, you think?

Etsy is like an abusive husband. You know he's going to smack you around, call you names and treat you like shit. But you keep hoping for a hug. So you stick around.

The market doesn't care about numbers, statistics, and broken applications. It doesn't.

TheSneakyOne said...

starlight said:
I have no idea how people who bitch all day even get anything done.


Oh dear.. If you are talking about the forums, many can multi task.

If you are attempting to slam here.. Honey, there are 13 of us. We spend a fraction of our busy time updating the site. Oh yeah, and we can multi-task too..