Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Day of Jewelry Selling on Etsy

By on Sunday, March 11, 2012 24 Comments

Many of you have already noticed that there is a huge number of jewelry makers on Etsy...and also on most other online selling sites.  But just how many and what they make was what drove me to come up with this infographics post based on a single day of  jewelry selling on the largest online craft market.

The data is just a quick snap shot of what is a very dynamic and large site (11,743,336 total listings). It's not strictly accurate as listings were expiring and being added even as I was making note of the numbers on January 6, 2012.

These numbers were also dependent on what was actually tagged by sellers. Some people may not be as diligent as others when tagging or used different terms - does "beaded" mean bead work or does it include stringing? Most likely the latter.

The infographics I created below does a good job of visually showing the huge category of jewelry listings, which eclipses virtually everything else. The "trouble", if you could call it that, with jewelry making is just how swiftly the hobby becomes an addictive passion. It sure makes things easier when one can justify the latest bead purchase as my friend Debbie does with " But honey, it's for the business!"

Most of the jewelry being sold are finished pieces with jewelry supplies and tutorials a distant second and third. Necklaces, earrings, pendants, bracelets and rings, in that order, were the most popular items to make. Sterling silver still rules despite rising costs. Surprisingly, not many artisans have switched to sterling silver filled yet. Not surprisingly, glass, crystals and gemstones were the most popular materials to use.

So what do you think? Would this information alter what you do to stand above the crowd? It is certainly true if you've ever wandered through Etsy that there are a lot of repetitive designs in an already competitive section.

You may use the image for your own blogs so long as you link up to this post!

Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. Thank you for this! I am an etsy seller under a different name and I learned quite a bit from this article.

    via Facebook

  2. Everytime I list a piece on etsy, I first run a search and figure out if a similar product is sold and at what price, only then I decide If I want to list that pieces. These days making a sale on etsy is pure chance..most sales happen if you blog about an item and direct to the url selling it

  3. Yes, I agree - promotion is the key. Many sellers wrongly assume that just listing will get them sales.

  4. As always, your post is spot on, Pearl, and your infographics are amazing. I like the way you think!
    Thank you for being a guiding light in a forest of choices.

  5. Nice work Pearl! That is a great infographic.

  6. Susan wrote in the About Jewelry forum that she preferred to see some numbers. Here is my reply -

    Ah, the whole point of an infographics poster is to avoid using the numbers which can be very distracting. There were 2455649 jewelry listings on a day with 11743336 total listings for example.

    The diagrams I use just illustrate the relative proportions. It may not be the same, but I suspect the relative proportions might also be reflected in another smaller selling site.

  7. Fabulous, Pearl! Now I know so much more! You are the best, lady.

  8. Great article, Pearl! It makes things so much clearer just to get a sense of things this way. It actually does make a difference to me in terms of choices I will make. I am just about to open a shop on Etsy with some jewelry I am making. I will definite gravitate toward making more finished necklaces instead of pendants.

    Thank you for all that you do. I'm a big fan.

  9. Really interesting post for designers and for suppliers like us. We have been considering getting a good line of brass findings in and now your 'stats' have convinced us. Thanks Pearl:)

  10. WOW Pearl, you certainly did your homework!! This is most certainly helpful to jewelry sellers on Etsy!! The number of pieces IS distracting, almost dismal when you consider the field of competition!!

    I was SO SURPRISED to see the actual FACTS of exactly WHAT items and WHAT materials are most popular!

    I was SO WRONG!!! This is why I'm SO GRATEFUL for you, your hard work and informative articles!!!

    I think perhaps BECAUSE of this info, I may have to make some changes personally!!

    Your # 1 FAN!!!

  11. Pearl, what a great idea! Very informative. I'm sure this knowledge will influence what I sell in my shop... I'm just not sure how as of yet!

  12. Pearl,

    The infographic sure does help to put huge and incomprehensible numbers into perspective. Accurate ratios are very helpful. :^)

    But I think the best point you made was this one:
    " It is certainly true if you've ever wandered through Etsy that there are a lot of repetitive designs in an already competitive section."

    I would love to see an Etsy full of continually growing artisans with designs as unique as they are, but that just isn't what is happening now.

    There are *very* few jewelry artisan/sellers who stand out from the crowd on Etsy. The category as a whole looks almost as if it were homogenized!

    I started making and selling tutorials because many people kept asking 'how do you do that??!!??' due to an injury, I was glad to be able to share my jewelry this way - especially if it helped other makers gain the skills necessary to stand out.

    I love the magazines, tutorials and how tos!!! They are great to kind of 'wake up' my creative juices! But unfortunately, these learning resources are being used more and more as design templates for product lines than hands on demonstration projects for skill building - and unfortunately, this only adds to the 'sameness.'

    Maybe it is time for many of us who wish to stand out to go back to skill building so that we can create fresh designs. When we use the resources, let's try focusing on the methods being taught instead of the specific project designs.

    There still might be a 'crowding problem' but at least the issue would be 'OMG!! There are so many *different* things, I can't choose just one!!' instead of 'Yawn, they all look the same....

    That, and market the crud out of our stuff - in a good way, of course!!! LOL

  13. Thank you for this great article, Pearl. I always wondered about the shares. The number of 2,5 millions items listed each day for jewelry alone is mindboggling. Now it would be extremely interesting to know the number or percentage of actual sales that were made on that day. Or any other day, for that matter.


  14. Oh yes, terrific information!! Now I'm waiting for your piece on what jewelry SELLS during a day on Etsy! (Probably have to wait until Etsy, like Ebay, lets one search under Sold items :))

  15. Yes, you are right. There is no way of knowing what the jewelry sales are as they don't have sold searches. But Etsy does do extremely well as a selling site. 2011 total sales were 80 % higher than the year before. Their traffic is in the millions. 15 million visitors came to the site between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2011 alone! Check out their article -

  16. I totally just wrote a blog post of my own, about your blog post :) You, of course, are credited! It is so easy to forget just how massive Etsy competition is.....really informative, and a great reality check. I still think there is more potential for me on Etsy, I just haven't hit my stride just yet!
    Thank you :)

  17. What can I say BUT again Pearl THANK YOU!! Your name befits you so perfectly for you are a "PEARL" of a woman. Seems just like when I have needed encouragement and others I'm sure another "Gem" comes in the mail.

    Now I also know what a Infographic is:-) This has been one of the can I say best articles I have read because I'm a Visual gal and that graphic helps me see how it is on ETSY. I told my husband I just have to get a better handle on things and rethink what I'm doing. I agree Jewelry designing is addictive but OH the satisfaction is a lovely feeling.
    (shorten if neccesary:-)
    Hope your Day is great!

  18. Very informative post Pearl! Would like to have seen the polymer clay number higher, but maybe that will happen with time. It does seem to be growing in popularity every year that I have been involved in it. Hopefully one day it will be right up there with glass!

  19. Glass will always be more popular since glass beads can just be bought as is (although you could make them if one was a lamp work artisan.) Whereas one has to make polymer clay beads!

  20. Pearl, have you done an updated version of this post recently? I think it would be interesting to see how things have changed with time.

    1. Robin, even if I wanted to, I couldn't. Etsy no longer shows the numbers on the homepage.

    2. ah, rats, I didn't know where you got the numbers. I was hoping you had a secret source, lol!

    3. LOL! No secret source - back then Etsy shared listing numbers quite openly so I was able to use them in my infographic.