Etsy’s Growth in 2020 Offers Strong Foundation For Sellers to Build Upon in 2021

Last week, Etsy released its fourth-quarter and full-2020 earnings report, which showed the company’s tremendous growth in 2020.

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Yesterday, it shared additional insight into its fantastic year. While helped by the behavioral shift of consumers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the marketplace offers a strong foundation from which sellers can expand their business in 2021 and beyond.

  • Over 61 million new and reactivated buyers joined Etsy in 2020, ending the year with 82 million active buyers.
  • 13 million new buyers joined during the holiday season, from October to December 2020. That is an increase of over 76 percent over the same time last year.
  • Buyers spent $3.3 billion on Etsy from October to December, an increase of 118 percent over the same time last year. For a fair comparison, this number does not include sales of face masks and coverings.
  • International sales grew 145%, compared to the same time last year, with the U.K. being the strongest growing market outside the United States. Etsy credits this growth with its increased international marketing effort.
  • Etsy invested $49 million in marketing to attract new buyers to the platform during the 2020 holiday season, including television and digital advertising.

Etsy Opportunities in 2021 and Beyond

Etsy is not alone in having a record year in 2020 because of how shoppers shifted their buying habits from physical retail stores to online platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is one of the year’s biggest gainers.

As the world starts to get a grip on the health emergency and life may return to as much normality as possible by the end of the year, the critical challenge for eCommerce businesses will be to keep newly gained online shoppers engaged.

While many sellers look at the holiday season as the big payday, there are numerous opportunities during the year to promote products to buyers. In an Etsy survey, the company found that 37% of surveyed buyers said they plan to spend some money on Etsy for Mother’s Day.

But sellers don’t need to wait for the “big” days, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Independence Day, to promote their business. There are plenty of other opportunities with “recognition” and “awareness” days. For example, today, March 4 (the day we posted this story), is National Pound Cake Day in the U.S., and sellers who offer bakeware products could’ve used this day for a promotional opportunity.

Another reason to be active with promotions now is that in the same survey, Etsy also found that 77% of buyers surveyed said they plan to make more purchases online than in-store in early 2021.

Keeping up the engagement with buyers today while shoppers are continuing to favor online buying over in-store retailers will be crucial to keep them around later in the year, going into the 2021 holiday season.

Most retail experts believe shoppers who shifted to buying online in 2020 will continue to stick around, but there will be some slippage as the world normalizes.

The phenomenal growth of Etsy over the last year provides a solid foundation for sellers on the platform. But it will still be up to sellers to take advantage of this opportunity by staying engaged and offering trending and popular products.

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