This article was initially published by Abby Glassenberg on Craft Industry Alliance.
Every three years since 2009 the quilting industry has conducted a survey assessing the size of the market and new trends in consumer behavior. The survey was called Quilting in America and was funded by F+W media. Findings were presented at the premier Schoolhouse at Quilt Market and a one-page summary was made available online.
Size of the market
The estimated size of the quilting market is $4.2 billion, up slightly from $4.1 billion in 2018 and $3.8 billion in 2014. North America has between 9-11 million quilters, a number that’s been stable (between 8-12 million) over the last decade. 98% of quilting consumers are female and 65% are retired. Between 2020 and 2024 the population will see a 2% annual growth of females at retirement age which leads to an anticipated corollary growth in the quilting market. The age band in which quilters started quilting more actively was in their mid-40s.
Consumers say they quilt in order to relax, relieve stress, be creative, and connect with family and friends through gift-giving.
The average quilter
The average quilter is a retired woman in her 60’s with a household income of $74,000. 19% have full-time jobs and are working longer into their retirement years. The average quilter feels she’s at an intermediate level at making and finishing quilt tops and has been quilting for more than a decade. She starts 8-10 quilts a year and works on projects 6-10 hours a week (up from 5 hours per week in 2017). The average quilter owns 4 different types of sewing machines.
According to the study, participation in quilting guilds is beginning to decline. (Granular statistics on this topic were not provided.)
The average quilter learns about quilting from friends and online. She finds product ideas through video tutorials and gets inspiration and motivation through free video tutorials, quilt shows, magazines, and local retailers. She’s spending more time online looking at quilting-related media than she did a few years ago. About 46% of quilters are now searching online for quilting products and education every day. Another 29% are searching online weekly. 33% of respondents said they are searching and shopping more online now than they used to.
Quilters’ top source for quilt-related information is websites and blogs (19%), with magazines and newspapers coming in second (14.1%), and YouTube coming in third (13%). Trusted retailers were only 5.4%. The top places for quilters to seek out education are YouTube and classes at local shops.
Other hobbies quilters enjoy include gardening, reading, knitting, crochet, embroidery, cooking, baking, and painting.
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