Other Stuff

Why E-Commerce Sellers Should not Ignore Etsy

by Dirk Llorens Nov. 5, 2021

When you set out to build an e-commerce empire, there’s every chance that you can read plenty of guides from so-called “gurus” and not hear a thing about Etsy.

In general, Etsy is ignored by a lot of sellers. There are some people who assume it is only for arts and crafts, or more importantly assume that Etsy’s sales won’t bring in any significant income.

We’re here to tell you otherwise. Plenty of people out there make a living on the platform, and it is becoming a more serious proposition for even more sellers.

Check out the number of active sellers on Etsy, and how it has continued to grow.


This doesn’t mean the market is becoming over-saturated, either. Etsy’s revenue doubled in 2020, and their growth shows no signs of letting up.

Etsy seems to be moving into other markets, too. Etsy paid $1.6 billion to acquire Depop, a second-hand clothing retailer. Vintage clothing has always been a part of the Etsy marketplace, but making these huge strides shows that the company is set on expansion.


Etsy’s Growth During the Pandemic


No doubt about it, Etsy experienced a boom during the pandemic.

The graph below shows that their revenue more than doubled in 2020.

A number of factors contributed to the growth:

  • People who sell handmade items part-time may have had more time at home to produce and sell their items.
  • People who were partaking in more arts and crafts themselves may have bought supplies on Etsy.
  • Some buyers had a lot more time to peruse and purchase items.

Etsy’s growth in sales is not just a side-effect of the pandemic. Continued growth shows that this is anything but a flash-in-the-pan, and Etsy has continued to bloom and grow into 2021.

It’s fair to say that the Etsy boom is here to stay.


What Can I Sell on Etsy?


A lot of people have misconceptions about Etsy. Maybe you’ve only ever shopped on the platform once or twice. A lot of items that are traditionally crafts or gifts are sold on the item, but this isn’t just about selling a cool item that you have learned how to crochet.

As long as your items fit (loosely) in one of the categories below then you should be fine to list it on Etsy with no backlash:

  • Handmade goods. This means items that you have made yourself. They could be decorative items for the home, something you have painted, jewelry, toys...the list goes on. Naturally, “handmade” can apply to a number of different items.
  • Vintage. This ties in with the clothing marketplace… Vintage includes anything that is over 20 years old, and people sell clothing, as well as books, even records. As you can see, items you may not have traditionally associated with Etsy are definitely available there in 2021.
  • Craft supplies. Etsy is also fine with sellers providing supplies for arts and crafts, this includes a very wide range of goods.

We would also say that Etsy are pretty flexible with their definitions. You may well notice that there are items on the platform such as print-on-demand tee shirts. Whether this counts as being “handmade” is really something that is up for debate.

We don’t have official word from Etsy, but we’d suggest that if it loosely fits a definition, e-commerce sellers are safe to list it.


How Much Does it Cost to Sell on Etsy?


Etsy doesn’t have any expensive barriers to entry or membership schemes for sellers, so it is very popular for those who are just getting started in e-commerce.

There are three different types of fees you will regularly pay when listing on Etsy. To avoid confusion, we’ve used Etsy’s own definition as of November 2021.

Listing Fee

“The listing fee is a flat rate charge of .20 USD per listing. This fee is charged regardless of whether or not the item listed sells.”

Transaction Fee

“Etsy collects 5% of the total item cost (and gift wrap, if relevant) in your designated listing currency.”

Delivery Transaction Fee

“If you choose to charge buyers a separate delivery fee, Etsy collects 5% of the total delivery charges.”

We suspect that most sellers are building these transaction fees into their profit margins. In terms of the initial outlay to start selling your products, we’re talking about a fraction of a dollar per item you list. Talk about low-risk.


Why Etsy Represents an Opportunity For Sellers


There are many reasons why Etsy represents an opportunity for sellers in 2021 and beyond.

  • It’s still growing. As the Etsy platform grows at a ridiculous rate, there are more customers searching for more products, and a huge opportunity for sellers to fill the void.
  • There’s less competition. As so many people ignore the platform, there are opportunities to promote your product, and to show up on more organic searches both on Google and on Etsy itself. Compared to the ultra-competitive Amazon marketplace, Etsy is relatively wide open.
  • Reasonable fees. It doesn’t cost a huge amount to sell on Etsy.
  • The option to make and sell products, increasing your profit margins. Many sellers are making exceptional profit margins by manufacturing their products. Etsy is known as being an option for artists and creatives, who may have spent relatively little on their materials, and not had to import products.
  • It isn’t exclusive. Etsy is affordable to list on, and the fact that you can sell on the platform alongside your own site, and even on Amazon, means there is very little to lose by listing on Etsy.




Ready for some inspiration? Check out the top sellers on the platform according to Market Pulse. If you’re still unsure of whether it’s possible to build a successful e-commerce business on Etsy, seeing that some brands are selling tens of thousands of items a month will probably change your outlook.

With Etsy doubling its revenue in 2020, it is fair to say that the site is becoming a huge player. If you’re selling products that fit one of Etsy’s categories, ignoring this selling channel could come at a large cost to your business.