All charts and graphs in this post were provided by Premier Needle Arts.
Every year for the past ten years Premier Needle Arts has conducted The Quilter’s Survey. The company works in cooperation with various brands in the quilting industry in order to conduct a survey to help them understand the quilting market, assess its size and growth potential, and collect data about the typical quilter and her consumer behavior. (See our summary of the 2019 survey here.) Premier Needle Arts shared the results of the survey at Virtual Quilt Market last week. (Download the summary here.)
The survey takes between 45-60 minutes to complete. This year, Premier Needle Arts sent the survey to randomized portions of its brand’s email lists (including Handi Quilter, Connecting Threads, and Superior Threads) as well as randomized portions of several of TN Marketing’s brand’s lists (Craftsy, National Sewing Circle, and National Quilters Circle). In total, over 1 million quilters received the survey in February 2021 and approximately 30,000 filled it out. 89% of respondents were in North America.
Demographic data, including race and ethnicity, were optional questions and CEO Mark Hyland says many quilters chose to skip this section. Of the demographic data the survey did collect, Hyland reports that there were no significant differences between groups.
According to the survey, as well as other data Premier Needle Arts accessed to understand the market, there are now 85 million “active creatives” in North America, meaning people who have done at least one creative project in the last year. Crafts generate $35 billion in annual sales. There are currently 10-12 million quilters and the quilting market is expected to approach $5 billion by 2026-2027. In 2020 there was a more than 12% increase in the number of new quilters. The quilting market is expected to grow to $5 billion by 2026.
The data indicates that the average quilter is a retired woman who is approximately 65 years old with a household income of $60,000 or more 17.5% have full-time jobs. Average quilters have been quilting for over 10 years and spend more than six hours each week working on quilting projects. The average quilter owns four sewing machines. Fewer than 30% of quilters pay someone else to quilt their quilts, preferring instead to do the quilting themselves.
The average quilter is now online every single day. They are doing research and shopping online 30% more today than they did in 2018, and YouTube is now the first place they go to learn new techniques (versus websites and blogs which was #1 last year).
New quilters report that sewing is their main hobby besides quilting, indicating that sewing is a gateway to quilting. There are now 33 million active sewists, a more than 10% increase over last year.
The majority of quilters prefer to shop for fabric, thread, and notions at independent quilt shops. The number of quilters shopping online for fabric, notions, and other quilting supplies continues to increase year-over-year, though, but ecommerce growth for supplies is greater than for fabric and notions.
63% of quilters still buy and read magazines, but overall magazine subscriptions have decreased by 15% over the last five years.
14% of quilters report that they attended at least one virtual show this year, but overall their experiences with online quilting events were subpar and 80% say they wouldn’t attend one again next year.
April 7, 2021: We have updated this post to remove the female pronouns from descriptions of the average quilter.