Although Etsy sellers differ from traditional entrepreneurs in many ways, they are emblematic of larger shifts in the economy towards self-employment and micro-business. Most are businesses of one, and face very different challenges from even a five- or ten-person enterprise. Government and regulatory agencies should enact policies that support sellers’ efforts to start and grow their creative businesses, enabling the broader maker economy to thrive.
Unlike the majority of traditional US enterprises, the Etsy seller community is predominantly female, with women accounting for 86% of all Etsy sellers. This is more than double the number of women-owned businesses in the US, where just over a third are female owned. Etsy helps women create businesses that not only enable them to earn income, but also offer flexibility and an outlet for their creative passions.
While in aggregate, sellers are more likely than the general population to be college educated (56%) and have slightly higher than average household income ($56,180), Etsy creates opportunities for populations who may not be as well served by traditional entrepreneurial models. More than a third (37%) of Etsy sellers are under 35, twice that of other US business owners.
Further, nearly a sixth of sellers (17%) have household income less than $25,000. Etsy enables sellers to get their creative businesses off the ground without the barriers traditionally associated with launching a business. For 45% of sellers, Etsy was the first place they sold their goods, a figure that rises to over half among parents with kids at home, and to 60% among those under 35. In this sense, Etsy functions as an on-ramp to entrepreneurship, creating opportunities for many people who might not otherwise have started a business.