Online sales challenge Covid to drive 40% growth in craft and design businesses
Two in five design and craft companies operating in Ireland saw revenue growth last year, despite challenges posed by Covid-19.
its growth was driven by an increase in online sales, which accounted for just over a third of all transactions in 2020, according to a new report from the Design and Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI).
However, around 53% of companies in the sectors reported a drop in sales due to the pandemic, leading to an estimated drop in revenue of 1.6 billion euros.
That was a quarter of 2019 revenue, according to the report, which was achieved by Grant Thornton, and followed six straight years of growth for the sectors combined.
The lost turnover means that around 7% of people previously engaged in design and craft activities in 2019 left the industry last year.
Nonetheless, the relatively small loss of jobs compared to the loss in turnover suggests that some of those people could return to the industry when normal business conditions resume, according to the report.
The report also uncovered anecdotal evidence suggesting that prior to Covid-19, some areas of the craft and design sectors faced challenges in terms of the availability of skilled craftspeople and designers, as demand exceeded offer.
In addition, some traditional skills were considered to be in danger of being lost due to an aging cohort of skilled practitioners and a lack of succession to a younger generation.
“As in so many other sectors, the Covid-19 pandemic has posed challenges for those working in the craft and design sectors,” said Rosemary Steen, CEO of the Design and Craft Council of Ireland.
While data from DCCI’s top 150 client companies shows that between 2019 and 2020, revenue declined 16%, Steen said there were “strong signs of innovation as well.”
“The proportion of online sales has increased from 18% of total sales in 2019 to 35% in 2020.
“This is a trend that reflects the resilience that was present in the industry long before the council was founded in 1971,” she added.
The crafts and design sectors generated 2.9 billion euros of gross value added (GVA) in Ireland in 2019, employing 54,000 people in the sectors.
Looking ahead, it is possible that the design-intensive craft and design sectors could provide up to 100,000 employees and a turnover of nearly € 14 billion by 2026. , according to the report.