The arts & crafts retailer has noticed a new-found interest in crafting amongst millennials, with increasingly younger generations embracing their creativity. This is reflected by a rise of crafting conversations and communities on social channels driving the enthusiasm, and the introduction of digital crafting tools.
Year-on-year, Hobbycraft has seen a growth of 60% on Instagram, 10% on Facebook, 17% on Twitter 17% and 25% on Pinterest.
The specialist chain notes that 36% of followers on Hobbycraft’s specialist Instagram platform @knitcrafthq are aged between 25 and 34 – and digitally-driven crafting tools such as the Cricut (a smart cutting machine that offers a library of design ideas and sewing patterns available instantly with Design Space software) are ‘really taking off’, with an almost 60% increase in machine purchases and a 124% lift in sales of digital cutting tools to date this year.
Wellbeing in Wool
Hobbycraft pointed out that ‘crafting has long since been proven to have a positive effect on health and wellbeing. In particular, the rhythmic and repetitive technique of knitting and crocheting is a relaxing way to distract the mind from everyday routine and anxieties’. Crocheting is the new textile craft trend among the retailer’s customers. Sales of crochet patterns for the year to date have rocketed by 179% and over 100,000 customers have attended Hobbycraft crocheting workshop in the past year.
Meanwhile, paint-by-numbers is ‘the new chosen craft to help stimulate mindfulness and relaxation’ with sales soaring over 80% in 2018.
Hobbycraft has also uncovered ‘unlikely opponents rivalling modern gadgets’. Its sales of traditional jigsaws are up 10% for the year-to-date and kid’s jigsaws sales have increased by a third this year so far. Plus, model kits saw a 15% increase in sales and modellers’ paints rose 20% during 2018.
Pour your heart into it
A relatively new trend rising in popularity amongst crafters and novices alike is ‘pouring’. The technique creates a striking patterned effect achieved from repeatedly ‘pouring’ paints. For the year-to-date, sales have increased 17% and more than 500,000 people have shared ‘Insta-perfect’ creations using #pouring.
Watercolour me happy
Hobbycraft said: ‘Despite watercolour being one of the more challenging painting crafts, the rise in popularity is clearly evident as the UK looks to advance their painting skills.’ To date this year, sales of watercolour pencils have risen 20% and sales of canvas and easels are also on the up, by 20% and 51% respectively.
It’s all in the details
The rise of social media platforms has impacted the art of party planning, as people get creative to achieve aspirational ‘Insta-friendly’ pictures. Sales of customising ‘accessorising blanks’ have boomed over 123% last year.
The Personal Touch
Personalisation remains prevalent as a craft trend. The ‘Meghan Markle’ effect continues to drive sales of calligraphy sets – with sales almost doubling last year and increasing by a further 14% for the year-to-date – and sales of screenprinting tools increased over a third last year. The Duchess of Sussex reportedly used to teach calligraphy at a Paper Source store in Beverly Hills, California.
Mad for Macramé
Macramé – a form of textile produced using knotting techniques – continues in popularity both on and offline. Recent posts by Hobbycraft dedicated to macramé have seen uplifts in both reach and engagement, while a Facebook Live session with macramé expert Isabella Strambio had a total of 6.6K views, a 30K reach and 949 engagements.
Hobbycraft said: ‘Inevitably as new trends and markets emerge, some traditional crafts decline in popularity. Interestingly, the rise of fast fashion has had a detrimental impact, as jewellery-making starts to decline with -5% sales compared with last year. The shift to digital cutting has also impacted long-standing tools, with -14% sales in fabric paints so far this year.
Hobbycraft head of marketing Joel Pickering commented: “Each year we see the trends in the crafting industry shift. Whilst we’re seeing a revival in retro trends and hobbies such as jigsaws and model-making, at the same time, digital tools and social platforms are really driving a younger customer to turn their hand to crafting and share their creations amongst online communities. It is anticipated that digital crafting tools will only further rise in popularity as updated technology is introduced in the UK market.”
Founded in 1995, Hobbycraft bills itself as is the UK’s largest arts and crafts retailer with over 90 stores across the UK. It sells more than 35,000 arts and crafts products for hundreds of creative activities, from baking, home craft, art, jewellery making, knitting, sewing, kids’ crafts and model-making to accessories for weddings, celebrations and more.