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Etsy Crafts a Recession Success



Matt Stinchcomb
VP of Communications
Etsy

eMarketer: How did Etsy do during the 2008 holiday season?

Matt Stinchcomb: In December, our final numbers were $12.9 million of goods sold. We sold about 820,000 items, added about 165,000 new accounts and recorded 411 million page views for the month.

eMarketer: How is the site doing so far in 2009?

Mr. Stinchcomb: We’re doing well—knock on wood.

In January, we sold around 680,000 goods for $10 million. Granted, that was lower than December, but higher than what it was from December to January 2008. In January, we added about 130,000 new members and recorded 443 million page views, so about an 8% increase from the month before.

In February, we were up to about $10.3 million, which is right on target for growth—still a little less than December, but that makes sense. We saw 437 million page views, added 132,000 new members and pulled around 690,000 items. We were close to January, but remember we’re comparing a 31-day month to a 28-day month, so it’s good.

We don’t have the final numbers for March yet, but we’re up above projections, which is great. We anticipate being on par with December, if not a little better.

eMarketer: Are you seeing any trends among buyers or sellers? Are people buying items in certain categories more than others? Are sellers charging less or stocking different items?

Mr. Stinchcomb: I think artists are definitely more aware of what they’re spending on supplies and materials.

“I haven’t seen a lot of fire sales or people discounting their stuff specifically to deal with the economy.”

I haven’t seen a lot of fire sales or people discounting their stuff specifically to deal with the economy. I’m sure it happens, but I haven’t seen it.

I think that when we dig more deeply into the data, we’ll probably see a few surprising things. We do have a vintage category on Etsy that’s seen a tremendous amount of growth.

eMarketer: Have you had to reprioritize marketing, Web design or planning as a result of the recession?

Mr. Stinchcomb: A little bit. The biggest driver of our traffic is still word-of-mouth, and we have a cooperative subsidized advertising program. We’ve grown the team to about 60 people here, doubling the marketing team.

We’ve also hired our first e-mail marketing expert to help us develop the right segments to be sending targeted buyer-focused messages. We have an AdWords person, and we’ve been doing a lot of SEM and SEO stuff to the site. Our goal is to develop a big cooperative SEM program to enable our artists and sellers to buy AdWords at reduced rates.

We’ve been doing a lot more with social media. Twitter has become the third-largest referrer of traffic to our site.

“Twitter has become the third-largest referrer of traffic to our site.”

We’re developing widgets for our users. We’re also educating our community on how to leverage these tools to drive their sales. The artists who are most successful are the ones blogging and really digging into social media.

eMarketer: Do you have new demographic information on Etsy users?

Mr. Stinchcomb: We’re sticking by our numbers from before for now.

The average Etsy user is 32. Our users are mostly college-educated, tech savvy—I think about 50% or more are active bloggers or social network users—and women from the US.

The full version of this interview is available to eMarketer Total Access subscribers only. Every day they have access to new interviews with digital marketing leaders and trendsetting entrepreneurs.

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