A new study published by GS1 UK, the standards body that licenses barcodes in Britain, reveals that SMEs are flourishing in the UK, and that Craft is one of the key growth sectors contributing to this success.
The reports shows that the arts and crafts sector experienced significant growth in 2018, aligning with the growing trend towards using arts and crafts to improve mental wellbeing.
Recognised as a sector with significant growth potential, the Crafts Council have stated that it currently contributes £3.4bn to the UK economy.
The number of GS1 UK members in this space adopting GS1 GTINs (Global Trade Item Number) and barcodes has more than tripled between 2017 and 2018, with many of these companies trading on the specialist craft marketplace, Etsy.
The report cites one of its members Peace and Blessings as an example of a small business in the growing arts and crafts sector that is thriving due to its innovative product range of design-led cards and stationery celebrating non-mainstream festivals. Peace and Blessings was a LaunchPad Manchester winner in 2017, and went on to win the Greetings & Stationery category of the 2018 Gift of the Year Awards in February 2018.
Buying British is, according to the GS1 UK report, an instrumental factor in purchasing decisions. It says two-thirds of us would like to buy more British goods, and that this is driven by a range of environmental, economic and ethical considerations. Its 2018-19 trend research identified traceability as one of the top trends.
The report cites the explosion of online marketplaces as benefitting small British retailers as well as large, creating a global “iStreet” expected to generate £21.3bn by next year.
Amazon and eBay were cited by 61% and 30% of the GS1 UK’s new joiners in 2018 respectively as their retailer of choice. Smaller marketplaces, like Trouva, Fruugo, Down Your High Street and The Great British Exchange are giving SMEs more routes to market than ever before, with social media providing opportunities to speak directly to potential new customers.
While e-marketplaces present companies with an invaluable commercial foothold, the report stresses that less than one in five retail purchases is being made online. It is still vital for SMEs to try and stake a claim to a spot on the crowded high-street shelves.
However, it also states that while online sales might only account for 17.6% of all transactions at present, the percentage significantly increases among younger demographics, suggesting only one direction of travel in the future. It says that 95% of all purchases could be facilitated by e-commerce by 2040.
Chris Tyas, chairman at GS1 UK adds:”British goods are still a benchmark for high quality and our position at the heart of a community of more than 39,000 members across more than 25 industries, gives us a unique perspective of quite how deep this seam of excellence runs.
“It’s not just our alcohol that is the envy of the world, our clothes, cosmetics and crafts are also held in the highest regard.”