As well as researching potential products I also want to understand the demographic of my target audience. My particular focus is on consumers of craft products and lighting. From my research in previous projects it is my initial thought that I will mainly be targeting my product towards people with a disposable income who are looking to invest in more unusual or unique pieces. My piece will not necessarily have a designer price tag but as it contains a bespoke element the price will reflect it’s craftsmanship compared to it’s mass produced equivalent. I want customers to invest in a product as an item they will treasure, rather than discard it after a few years. Iconic lighting brand Mathmos do this by selling replacement parts for their lava lamps to encourage customers to keep their lamp even if an element breaks, demonstrating their products endurance.
“In a culture with a surfeit of branding and cheap mass-produced goods, we romanticise the handmade because we yearn for quality, not quantity.” (McGuirk, 2011: Online)
Who are the consumers of craft?
In researching craft customers one of the most useful resources I found was a study by the Craft Council ‘Consuming Craft’. This report is an in depth investigation into the size, value and characteristics of the current craft market.
Their report shows “Buyers are more likely to be female (60%) and highly educated than potential buyers: 29% hold a first degree or higher. They are more frequent attendees at a wider range of cultural events compared to potential buyers” (Hargreaves McIntyre, 2010: Online). After speaking to over 4000 participants they discovered craft consumers are culturally aware and interested in design and art, which leads me to believe they would probably appreciate a well crafted piece.
In addition “53% of buyers are aged 45 or over, compared to 41% of potential buyers. Buyers are also more likely to be retired than potential buyer” (Hargreaves McIntyre, 2010: Online) This means the target market is older than I had initially anticipated. Those aged over 45 probably has more disposable income than a younger audience. In a similar way when exploring the lighting market for my Marketing module I found the customer base are most likely to be homeowners with money to renovate. Caines (2010) explains there is a very definite link between lighting sales and trends in the housing market. Therefore I would assume my main target market is aged 35 and above, as people below 35 typically live in rented accommodation they are less likely to redecorate. This would suggest they are less likely to purchase home wares.
Another section of the Craft Council’s report I found interesting was the word association. It was used to demostrate qualities people most associate with craft, design, luxury brands and art. Overall it displays people purchase craft as they appreciate the workmanship and beauty of an object as well as they joy of owning a unique piece.
- Words related to craft: Handmade, Workmanship, Decorative, Rural, Genuine
- Words related to design: Cutting Edge, Contemporary, Functional, Distinctive
- Words related to Luxury Brands: Expensive, Valuable, Status, High Quality
Although the words related to craft are important I wonder how I can also make a craft product be seen as High Quality, Functional and Contemporary? This would help it appeal to an even wider audience than just the craft niche and avoid the piece being too ‘twee’.
I also found a number of interesting articles on Etsy blog referring to craft selling. When providing tips on how to sell your products on an online marketplace Etsy advises it’s users to take advantage of traditional heritage. “Etsy buyers are looking for unique work they can’t find anywhere else. As a seller in a far off land, you may just have a leg up! AThousandJoys says, “The best thing a European Etsian can do is really show off your heritage and be proud of your traditions and where you are from. That’s what makes your work so unique and exciting and sets you apart from the thousands of other goodies that can catch a buyer’s eye right in their backyard.” (Maveal, 2010: Online). This again shows how traditional technique can be used as way to boost sales in the craft market.
This research has lead me to the conclusion I am targeting customers ages 35+ with an interest in craft and culture. They shop in independent stores and are looking for quality products which are both unique and built to last. I feel they would also be prepared to spend more as long as this equated to high quality.
- Caines, R. (2010) Lighting – UK – October 2010. Mintel [Online][Date accessed 28/03/16] http://academic.mintel.com.ezproxy.mmu.ac.uk/display/479937/
- Hargreaves McIntyre, M (2010) Consuming Craft. The Craft Council [Online] [Date Accessed 29th April 2017] http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/content/files/consuming_craft_full_report.pdf
- Maceal, D (2010) Etsy’s Guide to Selling From Europe: Part 1. Etsy [Online] 22nd March 2010 [Date Accessed 27th June 2017] https://blog.etsy.com/en/etsys-guide-to-selling-from-europe-part-1/
- McGuirk, J (2011) The art of craft: the rise of the designer-maker. The Guardian [Online] 1st August 2011 [Date Accessed 27th June 2017] https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/aug/01/rise-designer-maker-craftsman-handmade
Fig 1: Pie chart showing craft customers
Fig 2: Diagram showing the words most associated with craft (2010) The Craft Council [Online] [Date Accessed 29th April 2017] http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/content/files/consuming_craft_full_report.pdf