Gift-Givers Get Crafty In Tight Holiday Times

Sales of craft supplies and handmade items shine
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2008 10:14 AM CST
Handmade items are on display at Renegade Handmade, a craft consignment shop in Chicago.    (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Although the economic downturn has nearly everyone pinching pennies, craft stores are watching theirs stack up as holiday gift-givers are saving money by making their own gifts or buying handmade items from others, the New York Times reports. While overall retail revenues in November were off 7.4% from last year, the $5.9 billion craft sector is enjoying booming sales, according to retailers.

Big stores like Michaels and their smaller counterparts are reporting higher holiday sales than last year, as are marketplaces for handmade goods like eBay and Etsy, where people sold $10.8 million in goods in November—more than double last year's total. Sales of handmade crafts on eBay were up 34% in the past 60 days, averaging $8.21 per item. “With the recession, people are looking for ways to save money,” one industry group leader said.