World Crafts Council Europe (WCCE) commissioned a comprehensive study examining the European crafts market, which includes approximately 153 million people and is estimated to be worth 50 billion euros. This first in-depth study provides a clear profile of crafts consumers and systematic insights from craftspeople/crafts experts, offering a comprehensive overview of the sector as well as deepening our understanding of the European crafts market.
Data obtained estimates the size of the European market for crafts, the serviceable available market (SAM) in values as 153 million people with a value of 50 billion EURO. Furthermore, with 820 respondents across 8 European countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden), the study has not only provided greater understanding about today’s craft consumers, but also offers valuable insights into the dynamic nature of this consumer base.
The study found that the market predominantly consists of female buyers of all ages. Buyers make approximately 1-4 annual purchases worth on average 346 EURO, with ceramics, textiles, woodworking, jewellery, glass and leather goods emerging as the most sought-after crafts products. Craft fairs, design shops, online platforms, and workshops serve as key purchasing channels. Motivations for purchasing include the traditional techniques of production, the uniqueness of crafted objects, the use of natural and authentic materials, and support for the local economy.
34 in-depth interviews with craftspeople and crafts experts from 12 European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden) highlight the challenges the crafts sector commonly faces across Europe, such as competition, lack of entrepreneurial skills, high production costs, decrease in purchasing power, and rigid tax systems. Nevertheless, the interviews reveal an optimism among craftspeople and crafts experts about the new opportunities for the sector, stemming from the growing interest in crafts as a sustainable, socially responsible alternative to mass production, renewal of image favoured by younger craftspeople and the rise of new, high quality crafts fairs.
Prior to this study, we did not know the exact size of the European crafts sector as there are currently no official statistics available in most countries and even fewer at a European level. The study provides this long overdue understanding and assessment of volume and value of the market. These findings serve as an urgent call to action for policymakers at both national and European levels to increase support and engagement with the craft sector. The craft sector offers distinctive and pioneering solutions, capable of leading the way towards sustainable, equitable, and competitive models of production, entrepreneurship and consumption.
According to the study’s conclusions, the future of the sector relies on crucial factors such as education, training, and a favourable framework in their local as well as wide European level. Craftspeople consider these elements vital for nurturing the growth and vitality of the crafts sector. At WCCE, we are very aware of the importance of framing, disseminating and utilising the study findings and are confident that they will help stakeholders and decision makers on the future paths to support and protect craftspeople, craft makers and craft sector.
This work was carried out by OHAYŌ and commissioned by World Crafts Council Europe within the Creative Europe co-funded project “Crafting”. It is the first in a series of five research projects which analyse the state of the crafts sector in Europe.Find the report here