The Quilting Industry Shows Positive Growth
The 2017 Quilting in America™ Survey results are in. Although there was a slight dip from the 2014 totals, the survey shows a positive future for the quilting industry…a $3.7 Billion industry!
The survey estimates there are 7-10 million quilters in the U.S.; 6-8.3 million households with a quilter, and an average of $442 is spent annually per quilting household (a 48% increase over 2014 survey results).
It’s exciting to see these positive findings, especially in light of the losses the quilting industry has endured over the last few years: quilt shop closures, Quilters Newsletter Magazine publishing its last issue October/November 2016, American Quilter’s Society ceasing publication of books, the International Machine Quilters Association (IMQA) folding, and Kona Bay Fabrics closing earlier this year.
Among the 7-10 million quilters in the U.S., Dedicated Quilters account for 72.2% of the industry’s total sales. In 2017 alone, Dedicated Quilters contributed an estimated $2.4-$2.6 billion to their hobby! “Dedicated quilters are spending more time and money than in the past. It’s also exciting to see that over the past few years there has been a tremendous increase in the number of quilters who are utilizing websites, social media, and other digital resources to learn about quilting and buy quilting related products,” says JohnBolton, Senior VP and General Manager, F+W Media.
The average “Dedicated Quilters” are female, 63 years old, well-educated, average household income of $95,900, quilting for 19 years, spends an average of $3,363 per year on quilting, and prefers traditional quilting (85%) over modern (37%) and art (20%).
The Under 45 Quilter
The trends of the Under 45 Quilter (up-an-coming Dedicated Quilters) are important to consider for the longevity and prosperity of the quilting industry. The Under 45 Quilter is educated (35% 4-year degree, 23% post-graduate degree) with an average household income of $98,000. This group of quilters is primarily made up of beginner quilters who spend an average of 10 hours per week quilting. They have a lesser commitment to quilting primarily due to time constraints (working and family commitments).
Only 26% attended a quilt show in the past year. They get most of their information from websites (75%) and online video (63%), with social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) being important sources of inspiration. The Under 45 Quilter also prefers modern quilting styles over traditional.
More quilters are getting their information and inspiration from online sources: websites (64%, up from 28% in 2014), online classes and videos (52%, up from 30% in 2014), and social media (50%, up from 14% in 2014). Dedicated Quilters spend an average of 7.9 hours per week visiting quilting-related websites (up from 2.5 hours in 2014). In addition two-thirds of Dedicated Quilters (68%) are purchasing some items online.
“I know that quilters create with their hands, but they often speak with their dollars. And I am very glad to see that they are speaking loudly with their purchasing power,” adds Quilts, Inc. CEO and Founder Karey Bresenhan.
There’s no question the economy has been tough over the past few years, especially in the hobby industry; but the quilting industry remains strong. For quilt-related businesses to thrive, they must make accommodations in light of current trends.
An online presence is essential! - Quilters spend nearly 8 hours weekly online browsing quilting-related sites, and 64% get their information from these websites. In addition to having a company website, businesses should also have a strong social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and internet presences, and make sure they are included in online directories. Content should be updated regularly to ensure constant engagement.
Engage the Under 45 Quilter - This group of quilters has limited time, prefers modern quilting over traditional, needs nurturing, and likes to get their information online. Businesses should consider promoting time-saving opportunities such as one-day classes (versus several weeks), pre-cut kits, and one-on-one training. Add more modern quilting workshops and events (I hear from this group often asking where they can take modern quilting classes). Provide online training resources and videos.
Staying up-to-date on these trends and adjusting business models will help quilt-related businesses attract new customers and grow their businesses, ensuring longevity for the quilting industry.
The results are in for the Quilting in America™ 2017 Survey. Quilting in America™ is presented by the Quilting Company and Quilts, Inc., but conducted independently by ORC International and Advantage Research, Inc. The survey can be viewed at: http://quilts.com/assets/qia-2017-results.pdf?mc_cid=2d42d560b6&mc_eid=72c1ed0c3d