Friday, July 10, 2009

Etsy's numbers drop

It's official, June was a bad month for Etsy - sales were down 4% site-wide (both number of items sold and the $ amount sold). Page views decreased almost 3%. New members were down 2%.

BUT the number of items listed was about the same (0.1% decrease, about 1,000 item difference).

However, there were still nearly twice as many items listed per month as sold, which is not good for sellers.

Read all the stats in the Dorque article.

Are these lower views due to the SEO fuck up? Are they due to the economy? Nope, according to Sinohe:

Overall, June results were more or less comparable to May’s after factoring in that there are 30 days in June and 31 in May.


Really? 4% of sales occur each day of the month? So a full month is 120%? Has he ever taken a basic arithmetic class? Even if the average (3-3.3%) was an effect of month length - it never mattered before, Etsy was growing every month regardless (6% in May, 5% in April, 16% in March, 2% in February - which has only 28 days!!) and it still leaves a drop of almost 1%, which is a large number of items when three quarters of a million are sold each month.

Etsy - you've hit your plateau. NOW will you care about your customers?

37 Comments:

whatsoever said...

It's about time.

We've all been saying it's happening, while some cupcakes say it isn't- at least not to them.

Now etsy sees it.

or do they?

wellllll said...

Take May's items sold and divide by 31 then multiply by 30 to get an approx. for a 30 day month. This is why one could say that June was nearly flat to May (on a normalized basis). Not trying to defend them...just a way to look at their logic.

Top Shelf Totes said...

I gave up on Etsy. I still have my shop, but have stopped visiting the site almost 100% (still go in on occasion to check out nonsense on the boards... like when RK returns). The fact of the matter is, they have horrible customer service, and the SEO move was just one more thing to add to a huge list of major "customer service" fuck-ups.

So, I'm happy to see that the numbers are starting to reveal reality. As more people stop visiting Etsy (including sellers like me who have stopped filling their store every week), and less sellers sign-up for new accounts, and Etsy keeps burning through $$ they are not making... one can only hope that Etsy will pay attention and make some serious changes.

They could learn a thing or two from other online retailers who manage to provide great prices, great product and great customer service (i.e. Zappos). Maybe instead of following all of the cupcakes on twitter they should follow people like Zappos and Guy Kawasaki. They may learn a thing or two.

Christen said...

The stats they give us are almost worthless, especially since we don't have good figures going back very far. I am totally sympathetic to your points, but I wasn't convinced that we can really say that Etsy is in trouble until I looked at the numbers in a way that is more useful than just comparing month to month.

I compared this year's sales to last year's, by month. Unfortunately, this is really limited since I wasn't able to find figures for every single month.

But there is a clear trend starting in April showing a decrease in % sales over the same month the previous year. I've given the figures I was able to get below:

October 2008 sales were 65% higher than October 2007
(big gap of unknown figures November to January)
February: sales were 53% higher than Feb 08
March: Sales were 53% higher than March 08
April: Sales were 52% higher than April 08
May: Sales were 51% higher than May 08
June: Sales were 49% higher than June 08.

Hope some of you find that of interest. As a former merchandise analyst, I find these figures a lot more revealing than month-to-month percentages.

TheReaper said...

That "one day" excuse has got to be one of the worst attempts at coverage I have seen in the Storque yet.
How insulting to have those people have such a low opinion of our intelligence that we would buy that bullshit reason. Patronizing, of course.
QYDJ? Better still:
"Hang onto your Day Job like Grim Death"

pukingnow said...

Oh, God. I just read the comments; now I am going to be sick.
Maybe we ARE STOOPID!

Snowbell Handmade Jewelry said...

pukingnow - I was reading your comment and I didn't understand what you were talking about until I went to the Dorque. Can't people read??? Sales are down, it not a reason to celebrate.

The Righteous One said...

wellll, doing the math as you suggest by looking at last month's weather report, gives 817070 items sold in the 31 day month of May, which is 26357 per day, or 790712 in 30 days. Which is still a few thousand more than all sold in June. There is an approximate 0.5% drop even with this logic - as I said in the post. Roughly 100 fewer items were sold per day in June (total 26256 per day) than May.

But thanks for playing.

Going back to April though, they didn't mention that there was a decrease in the number of items sold that month, they just reported the number. So Etsy sales have actually been decreasing/decreased for at least 2 months now.

The Funny One said...

Etsy stats are like talking about the value of horse-puckies. Etsy reports what they want how they want. They may contain a kernal of truth, but they're meant to be misleading. Read that "report" 3 times and see if you can touch the tip of your nose with your fingertips.............if you're still standing.

The bureacratic, overbloated language is what drives me over the cliff. Talk about total and complete bullshit - no one is better at it today than Etsy!

Etsy may have finally stopped calling sellers "Hey You" and replaced it with "Dear Friends" - but what they're really muttering under their collective snotty breaths is "You Idiots!"

There isn't much worth reading on Etsy, and stats are at the top of the list. Good, bad, or whatever, Etsy STILL makes it sellers do all of the work for free-----and very few sellers see any benefit from all that free labor.

Etsy simply isn't that interesing anymore. (Nor worth the extraordinary & constant effort it takes to run a store on the site.) Working for free with no benefits and few (if any) traffic or sales got old fast.

Indigo said...

I have so much more time now that I have closed my Etsy store, reading the god awful forums and extraneous Etsy blogs. I don't care if Etsy stuffs itself full of used stereos, faux vintage, leather vegan journals, mass produced art, and jewelry, nintendo necklaces or any other crap. I have washed my hands.

Although, I will always read EB cuz I love you and I support EB!
But I have had my fill of cupcakerie and nonsense to last me a lifetime.

Viva La Artfire! Because they care, or at least pretend to, and that is enough for me!

An Ominous said...

If you notice, when there is a 31-day month, they don't rush in and say 'hey, this month was a day longer than last month, so the numbers will reflect that' ....

it appears if you averaged out the $$ dollar figure of total sales/sellers ratio the average shop sells about $80 dollars worth and has an average of 4 sales. We all know that some shops are making a hell of a lot more sales than 4 per month. that leaves a hell of a lot of shops selling nothing.

questions were asked in the dorque article comments that went ignored. they don't want us knowing ALL the details.

it was mentioned in the forums that the etsy pie has stayed the same size, there are just way more sellers sharing that pie.

it's a shame that they play up the 'quit your day job' aspect and that so many people are willing to believe it can happen. It might have happened in the early days of Etsy but times they are a-changing. They continue to market that anyone can sell their garbage glue-gunned sparklies and make a killing selling them, so all we get are more and more new sellers with stars in their eyes, and more and more people sharing the pie.

then instead of addressing the issues, and take care of the shmozzle that their site has become, they totally ignore it and bring out something shiny and alllll the cupcakes ooh and ahh over it. Hmm let's see, their meetings must go something like this... "search doesn't work.... relevant search is even worse... you can't be found on a google search .... you have to be one of the Golden Hundred to get in the gift guides or on the front page .... and hey! let's introduce affiliate programs and get everybody to spam facebook! yeah! that'll make them forget the SEO thing." And speaking of the SEO thing... they aren't going to fix it. THey're going to say 'here. you guys do it.' and that will be it. as long as all roads lead to the Front Page, they care not. If a thousand long-time sellers leave for greener pastures, three thousand more newbies are waiting to get in. Etsy is no longer the place for 'all things handmade' ... it has become every bit as corporate and calculating as the Big Money investors backing it.

PB::JJ::WW said...

Geez, I just read the comments to the Dorque article....whooo, I look at those "Etsy Lemmings" following each other blindly off the cliff...I am sure that most of them do not truly understand retail numbers or better yet...the actual lack of seller support that Etsy gives. (Or should I say not gives.)

-PaintedBull

PB::JJ::WW said...

Oh and just to clarify that last post....

Lemmings...you know the little furry rodents?

"Due to their association with this odd behavior, lemming suicide is a frequently-used metaphor in reference to people who go along unquestioningly with popular opinion, with potentially dangerous or fatal consequences."

ExRetailManager said...

As Cristen states:

But there is a clear trend starting in April showing a decrease in % sales over the same month the previous year. I've given the figures I was able to get below:

October 2008 sales were 65% higher than October 2007
(big gap of unknown figures November to January)
February: sales were 53% higher than Feb 08
March: Sales were 53% higher than March 08
April: Sales were 52% higher than April 08
May: Sales were 51% higher than May 08
June: Sales were 49% higher than June 08.

Hope some of you find that of interest. As a former merchandise analyst, I find these figures a lot more revealing than month-to-month percentages.

----------------------------------

And, don't forget, most retailers issues their numbers in "comp" sales figures, basically meaning that they use comparitive figures to publish their numbers.

Even those numbers that Cristen state do show a decline, however, even those numbers are not the total picture, as a retailer would not only compare the sales from say, June 09 to June 08, BUT use the same stores that were open in June of 08 to those stores in June of 09 to get the REAL story about sales, "same store sales" as the figure is sometimes called as well.

So, if you use Cristen's numbers, and try to figure out the core number of sellers, say from June 08to the SAME core number of sellers in June 09, factoring OUT that Etsy has of course have added sellers, it would be a better snapshot. Of course sales will go up as you add sellers, just like sales go up for a retailer when they open more stores. Duh. Thus, brick and mortar retailers publish a set of numbers that weed out those new store sales to give a figure that shows a truer sales trend.

Plus, it is totally folly to try to compare one month to another, there are variables such as holidays, shorter/longer months, weather variables, etc. What Etsy needs to figure out is how to report these sales trends in a truer, more honest, comparing TY to LY month to month, and thus a more transparent sense to give a snapshot that we can really look at as business people and not as cupcake eating, moustache wearing, fingerless glove loving, koolaid drinking dumbasses, as they assume us to be.

Wolf said...

Since WHEN is a decrease in sales stats a good thing???

You don't want a decrease! You want an increase!

The comments there thanking them and saying the stats looked great, boggle my mind!

Anonymous said...

And let's not forget, some of those listings ( like mine) were relisted just so I could remove the items from their database. I promptly deleted them. One of the many things I hate about etsy.

Eveline said...

They never used that excuse before. Wonder what they will come up with next time?

The Funny One said...

Etsy isn't going to report its numbers in the usual way for the industry, ExRetailManager, because they (1) think they are better than everyone else and (2) don't know how to report meaningful numbers and don't care to learn. Just like Etsy invents the wheel every time it tweaks the site and screws it up just a wee bit more with all their weird "tools" that nobody wants.

Etsy could do a "same store sales" comparison by taking their few favorites and tracking them from month to month --- which we all know will show that, because Etsy promotes these stores 24/7 (for free btw)every day for 30(+1) days per month, that those stores (and those only) probably make up 50% or more of all sales per month. (The rest of Etsy's money is listing fees and the throw-away showcase spots which are big cash cows.)

Etsy wants to stay in the limelight for potential investors, and that's what their heavily edited and convoluted numbers mean, no more, no less. But, like just about everything Etsy does these days, including the QYDJ series, all this does is leave sellers with a distinct feeling that Etsy isn't what they say they are. Etsy has created its own crop of disillusioned sellers!

And thank goodness some of them have been clever enough to start brand new handmade sites that are nothing like Etsy!

Christen said...

Good points, ExRetailManager!

Of course, they aren't going to do anything but try to paint a rosy picture and aren't really obligated because they aren't a publicly traded company, if I understand correctly. But the idea that the numbers they give are actually meaningful is a joke.

eclipse said...

Also I noticed that 157,000 new members joined Etsy , but sales still dropped.
If the members stayed static while sales stayed static it might make more sense, but here you have membership rising at the same time sales are going down. This cannot be spun as a good thing.

eclipse said...

Christen , the storque has stats for every month going back to Sept 2007, except for December 2007. That should be the only gap.

Also you cannot just compare June 09 sales to June 08 sales.
you have to compare the ratio of sales to sellers, and the ratio of sales to items for sale.
Obviously the number of sales has increased over 1 years time, but it is not increasing as fast as the number of sellers or as fast as the number of items for sale.
The pie gets bigger but the number of slices increases faster, so that if you get any pie at all it is a thinner slice, and many get no pie at all.

geelizzie said...

eclipse said:

The pie gets bigger but the number of slices increases faster, so that if you get any pie at all it is a thinner slice, and many get no pie at all.

About all I got last month was a tiny piece of burnt crust. And my shop did really well last June. And the June before that.

Christen said...

Eclipse, I wasn't able to find the figures in the link they provide to previous weather reports. I didn't bother to go searching beyond that. The couple months they put up the video I skimmed through them to find the weather reports, and one of them did not report the actual sales figures unless I missed it.

If anyone has figures I was missing, I'd be happy to add them to the list. If anyone is interested I could also figure in the number of sellers to give a better picture.

eclipse said...

Christen I have a spreadsheet with all the stats I have been able to collect, I can email it it to you if you want to convo me on etsy or PM me on flickr or twitter with your email addy.
Starting this month I am also adding columns for total # of active sellers, and total # of items for sale, although I haven't found the ideal way to collect that latter number.

The Righteous One said...

If anything interesting pops out of the numbers that you want others to see, feel free to email us here at EB - we still accept Auxiliary posts, credited or anonymous based on the preference of the sender.

Christen said...

Thank you, Eclipse! I now have more complete numbers. December 2007 is the only one missing since September 2007. Obviously, this is still not a complete picture.

Septemper 2008 sales were 69% higher than September 2007
October 2008 sales were 65% higher than October 2007
November 2008 sales were 83% higher than November 2007
December ????
January 2009 sales were 57% higher than January 2008
February: sales were 53% higher than Feb 08
March: Sales were 53% higher than March 08
April: Sales were 52% higher than April 08
May: Sales were 51% higher than May 08
June: Sales were 49% higher than June 08.

~jay said...

I guess I am proud to report I am one of those folks who has stopped relisting items in my shop, and I am working to find viable alternatives with a company whose SEO doesn't render me more or less completely invisible. (ArtFire ain't it.)

I don't know how they can make this sound like a good thing... it's maddening.

stati said...

http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y09/m01/i08/s02

here is your Dec sales #'s

eclipse said...

stati, that is December 2008, we already have that. It's December 2007 that is missing.

eclipse said...

Oh wait, there is some info from 2007, although they do not give the actual numbers they do give the % increase, so we can calculate it the numbers from 2007.


Dec 2008- $12.9 million sold: a 153 percent increase from December 2007
(Dec 2007 would therefore be around $5 million)


Dec 2008- 815,327 items sold: a 140 percent increase over December 2007
(Dec 2007 would therefore be around 339,719 items)
---------------------------------------

also Christen I am not sure your percentages are correct. You are showing the increase as a percentage of the current year, not of the past year.


x+y=z
x= previous year sales
y= amount of increase
z= current year sales

when converting the amount of increase to a percentage, isn't the formula y/x, not y/z?
This is how all the other Etsy increases are calculated.

So if June 2008=6.5 million= x
June 2009=$12.8 million= z
then the amount of increase=6.3 million=y

y/x= 6.3/6.5= 96% increase over June 2008
i.e. a close to 100% increase means the amount almost doubled

The Sneaky One said...

Mattslover, it is okay to share the blog post. It is NOT okay to share his phone number.

puck said...

Is it me? I was looking at all the newly posted items and I suddenly realized. IT'S ALL STARTING TO LOOK THE SAME.

MUTED VOICE

The Funny One said...

No, puck, your eyes do not deceive you. Etsy has worked their brand to piggyback their Merchandising Plan (waste 45 mins. looking for it buried in the Dorque) written up by that clever Mr. Desk. You see, that's the monthly Etsy Formula for Success.

If you make what Etsy wants you to make based on this monthly schedule (which has nothing to do with handmade) then Etsy Admins will pick those items that fit their formula for the FP and all other promotions they control.

Easy peasy. Make what they tell you to, list what they tell you to, price it within that tight $15-20 range, and voila! You get picked for the FS once you've made a few sales and are deemed trendy enough to fit the brand.

Sad enough, this all starts again the following month. And yes, it all looks the same because it is!

violetsnewvintage said...

The funnyone says:
Etsy simply isn't that interesing anymore. (Nor worth the extraordinary & constant effort it takes to run a store on the site.) Working for free with no benefits and few (if any) traffic or sales got old fast.

I agree. I think Etsy is losing sales because it has chosen to sell 'boring' and you can buy boring items everywhere. Why go to Etsy for it? Its easier to shop in places where the check out actually lets you pay without going through a confusing maze.

croacia said...

my sales are better this july than last july, my views are higher this july than last july
my hearts are more this july than less july

& have been on the front page less this july than less july but then they didnt have gift guides or as strong of a blogue

all sales/views/hearts 2008 or 2009 were higher than the july of 2007 & july 2006 combined.

etsy is growing in viewers. yes there is more competition, more copying and lots of repetitive crap where they throw the lion's share of publicity, but business is still pretty good

Megan McGory said...

aha. So what would have happened if there wasn't a yart sale? We pushed that like a fucking watermelon out our asses and I had the highest sales in my shop in like a year.

Sooooooooooooooo yep. there are problems. It's just that now the problems are finally affecting the overall numbers instead of just the little people's numbers. -sigh-

thank god I have a real job, or else I'd be starving. Well, probably just dead.

Jerry said...

They pick and choose when it fits them.

Look how they cited the lack of an increase as being due to the lower number of days. (btw they could give a per day figure instead? These statistics have always been such a crock, an 8th grader could do better - if the purpose was to really inform, which it isn't).

Anyway, then the next month, they compared July to June - and trumpeted and increase. BUT they didn't bother to note that July had 31 days vs 30 for June and therefore, the increase was due to the extra day.

Thanks for the disingenuity, etsy. You know some people DO RUN A BUSINESS from the site here and it would help to have real facts, not just a marketing snow job.