Much has been written about how Americans (and no doubt people across the world) have changed their behaviors and habits, including their media and entertainment pursuits, due to the stay at home environment caused by the Covid pandemic. In my own research I see many consumers (25-30%) who report that they are spending more time on websites, digital services, streaming media, etc.
Ecommerce platforms, whether they are Amazon or ETSY, are more than just digital retail outlets – they are digital media and content companies too. Many consumers love to browse for products, services, vacations, etc. as a form of entertainment on digital services. Pinterest’s PINS +0.7% whole vision is based on sharing and enjoying pictures and videos of cool products, places and people. The old, out of home behavior, of window shopping is now online – “retail and shopping as entertainment.”
Etsy was founded in 2005 as a Brooklyn-based Website for hand-made goods, crafts, related supplies, and other products embraced by the “maker movement”. In fact, there is a media company, Maker Media, which promotes conferences and digital content regarding such products. People don’t just buy these products, they live a lifestyle around their roles as makers and/or buyers of local, specialized, “crafty” products. The Maker Lifestyle includes consuming and creating content around the maker movement or the “passion economy”.
Etsy’s traffic and revenue has increased over the last year. Revenue has more than doubled in that time period. No doubt this has been achieved through a combination of the tailwinds of the secular growth of the ecommerce market, as well as the “black swan” moment of the Covid pandemic. It is interesting to note that in Etsy’s third quarter over 10% of their revenue were masks – mostly from small manufacturers with a wide array of mask themes.
Etsy is also using the pandemic as an opportunity to reach new customers, including running major TV ads throughout the year.
Etsy has clearly been one of the many digital winners due to the pandemic and the related “stay at home” environment. Though their stock struggled in the early years, after their IPO on 2015, and continued to trade poorly for a number of years – hitting a recent low of less than $40 a share – Etsy has skyrocketed today to almost $180 a share, representing huge growth of 450%.
Below is a chart from Statista that shows the dramatic growth of Etsy’s revenue over the years. Clearly the Internet is providing more and more opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to reach consumers, as well as an opportunity for big brands and manufacturers to reach all types of consumers. Etsy, both as a product seller, and as a content site, has become mass market and the pandemic has catalyzed that growth.