eRank’s 2023 Etsy Buying Habits Survey offers valuable insights into the shopping and buying habits of Etsy customers in the United States (US). Each fall, eRank surveys approximately 1000 people in the US who have recently purchased from Etsy. Their responses come from various regions across the US, diverse age groups from 18 to 80, and almost equally male and female (45.4% to 54.1%). This information allows eRank to share essential insights to Etsy sellers on how to bring in and keep shoppers before the upcoming holiday season. The top ten key findings from the 2023 survey are discussed below.
- Quality of Shop Listings Matter: Almost identical to last year, 82.0% of surveyors say that listing photos are “very important” when considering purchasing an item from a shop on Etsy, and 80.9% indicate that the product description is equally as important. These items are also listed as top indicators as to a shop’s trustworthiness.
- Communication is Important: Shoppers want to hear from Etsy shop sellers. While they do not wish to be bombarded by lots of messages, those surveyed agree that communication at key points in the process—order receipt (48.4%), order shipment (77.4%), order delay (82.1%), and order arrival (51.9%)—is important and appreciated.
- Reviews are Considered: Over 90% (71.4% very important and 24.1% somewhat important) emphasize that product reviews play a large role in their consideration to purchase for a particular Etsy shop. For this reason, as well as others, it is good practice for Etsy sellers to reach out to a buyer once they receive their item to ensure arrival and ask politely for a product review.
- Average Star Rating is Noticed: Just as Etsy shoppers weigh customer reviews when deciding to purchase from an Etsy shop, the survey reveals that in addition they notice the shop’s average star rating. If a shop has one star rating, 71.7% say that they are “not likely” to purchase from that shop, and 65.9% are “not likely” if the shop has a two star rating. If a shop has three stars or higher, the average star rating considerably plays a lesser role in the shopper’s decision.
- Processing Times are Key: The majority of surveyors (56.3%) specify that the processing time for the item is a consideration factor when deciding to purchase a particular product. However, they also remark that they are willing to wait a bit longer for purchases from an Etsy seller as compared to other shopping sites (Amazon, eBay, Target, and Walmart). 67.8% are willing to wait between 7-14 days for their purchased item to arrive.
- Free Shipping is Still Preferred: Similarly to last year, free shipping is still a preference for most Etsy shoppers. Only 7.0% of surveyors suggest that a free shipping option is not important when shopping on Etsy. Free shipping is the second highest factor overall as to whether a shopper will become a repeat customer for a particular shop. 43.5% of those surveyed indicate that this is their most important consideration for repeat business.
- No-Hassle Returns Increase in Importance: This may be a surprise to Etsy sellers, as many shops do not offer a return policy to US shoppers due to the custom nature of many Etsy items sold. However, it might be time to reconsider as 63.1% reveal this as a “very important” factor to them and 29.9% as “somewhat important.”
- Shoppers Want to Know the Sellers: In a time of self-checkout and automated responses, this year’s survey reveals that shoppers still appreciate the personal touch of the Etsy marketplace with 39.7% of surveyors sharing that a complete “About Us” section increases a shop’s trustworthiness, making it the fourth highest indicator overall.
- US Shoppers Will Purchase from Non-US Shops: The world continues to become a smaller place with technology connecting us to those hundred or even thousands of miles away. When asked if they would purchase an item from an Etsy shop based in another country, over half—60.1%—share that “yes” they would. They do, however, voice concerns regarding shipping costs and shipping time when shopping from a non-US Etsy shop.
- Etsy is a Great Site for Gift Purchases: Of those surveyed, 89.9% feel that Etsy is a great site for purchasing gifts—the highest among all listed site options. They feel confident about purchasing from Etsy (88.9%) and indicate that they have had minimal or no issues (81.2%) when shopping on the marketplace. 73.7% share that they are “very likely” to shop for gifts on Etsy before the end of 2023.
These key findings demonstrate that Etsy remains a trusted marketplace to shop for gifts. In comparison to last year’s survey results, no major changes were evident, indicating that despite interest rates going up in 2023, Etsy buying habits have not changed dramatically.
Sellers should spend time on ensuring their product photos and listing descriptions correctly represent their product to minimize confusion and aid shoppers in making informed decisions. Free shipping, fast processing times, and non-hassle return policies are indicators of the fast-paced world that exists. However, shoppers do still realize that items on Etsy are unique in comparison to items on other shopping sites and do make some allowances for longer wait times. Shoppers also recognize Etsy as a more specialized shopping marketplace and enjoy learning about a shop’s personal handmade journey.
Random shoppers who have recently purchased from Etsy are contacted by eRank each fall to aid in determining buying habits for the current year prior to the year-end holiday season shopping spike. Contacted shoppers are all based in the US and are representative of a shopping age of 18-80 with the majority falling in the 18-55 range this year.
This year’s surveyors are represented by 45.4% males, 54.1% females, and 0.5% other or prefer not to say. Responses were received by at least one surveyor for each of the 50 states.
Responses were received from surveyors representing various ethnic groups. However, it seems the majority of Etsy shoppers (as indicated by the survey) are from the “Caucasian/White” ethnic group.
When asked what income group best describes their total household income, the majority indicate over $20,000 per year with 40% specifying their annual household income as over $75,000.
100% of those surveyed have shopped on Etsy during the past 30 days prior to the survey. During the past 12 months, the majority had shopped on Etsy between 2-6 times with the largest percentage being between 2-3 times. Of those surveyed, 16.3% have shopped on Etsy 7 or more times in the preceding year.
The majority surveyed have been Etsy shoppers for a year or more with 28.1% having shopped on Etsy for more than five years. 34.1% have shopped on Etsy between 3-5 years, 29.9% between 1-2 years, and 7.9% less than a year.
To further understand those surveyed, they are asked about their specific Etsy buying habits with regards to intended recipients and specific holiday shopping. The surveyors are able to select multiple options related to these two questions.
The majority of the surveyors’ purchases are for themselves with 76.8% surveyed selecting “myself” as the intended recipient. However, one third indicate that they have also shopped for friends and relatives on Etsy.
When asked about shopping for specific holidays, over half indicate that they shop on Etsy for the Christmas/holiday season and for birthdays. At least a third of surveyors share that they are “very likely” to shop on Etsy for other holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day as well as for such occasions as weddings and baby showers.
Etsy Shop Specific Details
Besides their shopping habits on Etsy, surveyors are asked about their shopping habits related to specific Etsy shops. The survey aims to gain an understanding of why a shopper may or may not decide to engage in a transaction with a specific shop by asking about important considerations before and after purchasing an item.
When deciding to purchase a product on the Etsy marketplace, the surveyors are provided with a list of several considerations and asked to rank the factors as “Very Important,” “Somewhat Important,” or “Not That Important.” Of the 12 options available, the product description and product pictures are the two most important influential aspects for most shoppers, followed closely by item price and product reviews. The least important consideration to shoppers is the age of the Etsy shop.
It is not only important to understand the factors that are considered when a shopper decides to make an initial purchase from a particular Etsy shop but also to understand what the shopper considers with regards to purchasing from that same shop again in the future. The survey provides a list of eight considerations along with the option for an “Other (please specify).” Surveyors are to select the one listed item that holds the most value to them when deciding to become a repeat customer. The quality of the product holds the most value for the greatest number of shoppers. While less than a half of one percent selected “Other” and specified a different factor, it is important to note that the factors specified are related to pricing and product variety.
- Product Quality 65.6%
- Free Shipping 43.5%
- Fast Shipping 29.9%
- Seller Responsiveness 20.0%
- Coupon Code 16.2%
- Freebies 12.1%
- Nice Packaging 6.6%
- Personal Note 5.8%
- Other 0.3%
As noted from the list above “Seller Responsiveness” is a major consideration for some shoppers related to becoming a repeat customer. To better understand the desired responsiveness, the survey asks at what time is it important to the customer to hear from the seller. The key times from which to select are (1) when the seller receives the order, (2) when the seller ships the order, (3) when the order is delivered, (4) when there is a delay in shipment, and (5) a few days after delivery to “check in.” The surveyors are allowed to select more than one key time for communication. While all options are important to the surveyors, the highest importance is placed on receiving a message when there is any type of delay in the shipment of their purchase.
Surveyors share that they place importance on the actual Etsy shop and their overall ratings. Therefore, they are asked questions about specific shop features and the value that it adds to the shop’s trustworthiness. The survey findings show that shoppers do consider the shop’s overall reviews and star rating as holding important value with customers.
As a shop’s star rating is revealed as the second highest in value with regards to a shop’s trustworthiness, an additional question is presented specifically regarding the shop’s star rating and its influence on a shopper’s decision whether or not to purchase from that specific Etsy shop. When a shop’s rating is below three stars, then the majority of shoppers (per survey results) are “not likely” to purchase an item from that shop. Shops with three or more stars increase the likelihood of a purchase being made by shoppers.
The shop’s location is demonstrated as having less value than other items with regards to shoppers trusting a certain Etsy shop. Thus, surveyors are asked specifically if they would purchase from a shop located in another country as well as what their concerns might be regarding doing so. While the majority specified that they are willing to purchase from another country, they state that they do have some concerns.
The largest concerns are with shipping costs and shipping time, followed by import duties and taxes. The surveyors are also provided with an “Other (please specify)” option, which over five percent did utilize. The other category specifications include item quality, not receiving the item, and possibility of getting scammed. Thus, Etsy sellers from other countries wishing to sell to US shoppers should consider these items and use Etsy shop features and communication to minimize shoppers’ worries and increase the likelihood of purchases.
Etsy Versus Other Shopping Sites
Surveyors are also asked about their buying habits for other sites in addition to Etsy. The other sites are eBay, Walmart, Target, and Amazon. More than one selection is possible for these questions. This year, all sites have been shopped by almost 50% of the surveyors at some point in the past month.
To gauge shoppers’ confidence level with each site in general as well as whether a site is considered a good option to shop for gifts, the surveyors are asked a series of questions about whether (1) they feel good about buying from the site, (2) the site is great for buying gifts, and (3) they were likely to shop for gifts on the site before the end of 2023. The results indicate that all sites are somewhat equal in these regards with Etsy and Amazon being the strongest representatives.
With the popularity of Amazon’s two-day (and sometimes one-day) prime shipping option, the survey asks how long shoppers are prepared to wait for their item when purchasing from each site. With the exception of Etsy and eBay, the surveyors indicate that they are prepared to wait less than three days to receive their purchased item. For eBay, they are willing to wait up to seven days, and for Etsy purchases, at least a fourth of those surveyed are okay with waiting up to 14 days to receive their item.
Most shoppers choose to shop online for easy access to items with minimal hassle. Customer service is a priority with online shoppers. When asked if they have ever had a bad experience purchasing from each site, the results show that the surveyors have had the least amount of issues when shopping on Etsy followed closely by Target.
Summary and Recommended Actions for Etsy Sellers
eRank’s 2023 Etsy Buying Habits Survey provides Etsy sellers with valuable information prior to the holiday shopping season. The below list of recommendations is based upon eRank’s interpretation of this data and along with years of experience with the marketplace.
- Spend Time on Product Listings: Product listing photos and descriptions are not just for search engine optimization (SEO) and show. Shoppers look at these and rely on them to decide whether to purchase an item. The more detail that can be obtained from photos and descriptions, the greater the likelihood that the shopper will purchase the item.
- Talk with Customers: Shoppers appreciate communication concerning their purchases, and good communication increases the odds of gaining a repeat customer. Etsy allows sellers to advertise their email list on their shop, within their listings, and within Etsy conversations with shoppers about their purchases. Sellers should use this opportunity to forge a long-term connection with shoppers, increasing their confidence in the shop and increasing sales for the shop.
- Provide Great Customer Service: Sellers can stand out among the thousands of Etsy shops by providing their customers with the best customer service. Sellers should encourage—but not push—customers to leave product reviews. Shoppers rely on these reviews for both the products and the shop when deciding whether to move forward with a purchase. They consider a shop’s overall star rating to help them decide if the shop is trustworthy and a good place for making not only this purchase but future purchases as well.
- Minimize Wait Times: In a world of 24-hour shopping—both in person and online—shoppers are not as willing to wait to receive an item as they once were. Sellers should work to minimize processing and shipping times when possible. However, they also need to communicate with shoppers the reasoning for the longer processing and shipping times for their products. When customers understand the value that they will receive from the item, they are more willing to allow the additional wait time. Another option for sellers is to offer expedited shipping at an additional charge, if possible.
- Offer Free Shipping When Possible: With more sites offering the option of free shipping, shoppers are becoming accustomed to it being the norm. This includes when shopping on the Etsy marketplace. While many customers are aware that free shipping does not necessarily mean “free” shipping and that the shipping cost is included in the item’s overall price, they prefer a price that does not include additional fees. They wish to know the bottom-line price from the beginning without the variable of shipping costs being added later in the purchase process. Some items, though, are just too costly and the shipping prices vary too much to allow the costs to be included in the price. In those cases, sellers should look for ways to incentivize shoppers such as offering reduced shipping if more than one item is purchased or possibly offering free shipping if the overall purchase is over a certain dollar amount. Etsy shipping settings allow for both scenarios to be set up for products and shops.
- Provide a No-Hassle Return Policy: While the US does not require the ability to return an item, many countries do. Therefore, shoppers are voicing that they would prefer to have some way to return an item if there is a problem. Etsy allows sellers to establish their shop’s return policy, and sellers should consider scenarios that they might expect as a shopper themselves and that are acceptable to them as a seller. If the sold product is customized specifically for the shopper, however, it is acceptable to not allow returns for most shoppers.
- Allow Customers to Know You: Shoppers on the Etsy marketplace express their desire for more than ordinary shopping. They want a shopping experience, and they want to know more about the person or persons behind the product. Shoppers read a shop’s “About Us” section and look at the overall shop appearance. It is as if shoppers on Etsy are window shopping, and a shop’s banner and logo are the start of that experience. Sellers should not hesitate to share their story. The stories are what make Etsy an artisan marketplace for shoppers who want the artisan experience with their purchases.
- Trust the Etsy Marketplace: While Etsy has seen some struggles in the recent year, it is still regarded by shoppers as a great site. The majority of shoppers still feel confident about shopping on Etsy with it often being one of—if not the first selection when shopping for gifts for themselves, relatives, friends, and coworkers.
By reviewing, considering, and implementing these suggested actions, Etsy sellers can enhance their shop’s presence and success on Etsy by attracting new shoppers, increasing repeat customers, and increasing sales during the upcoming holiday season and in the new year beyond.
Founded in 2016, eRank is the #1 Etsy SEO Tool*. The site offers an extensive set of tools to aid users who sell handmade items on Etsy. Their tools include the Keyword Tool (recently expanded and upgraded), the Listing Helper (an AI generated helper for product titles, descriptions, and tags), Competitor Comparison Tools (allowing users to see how their listings compare to those in the same categories), and Trend Reports (to watch for upcoming or emerging trends for Etsy sellers to be able to act and react quickly).
Throughout 2023, eRank has continued to expand their various data sets to now include data for nine different marketplaces in addition to Etsy. These marketplaces are Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Google Shopping, Pinterest, Target, Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT), and Walmart. Thus, whether it’s optimizing listings, finding new keywords, or researching the latest trends, eRank has Etsy sellers covered.
*According to SimilarWeb