Premier Needle Arts has released the results of its annual Quilter’s Survey. Data for the survey was collected in February 2022. Over 1 million quilters were invited to participate via email using the email lists of five leading brands (the brands were not specified) and over 26,000 responses came in. 92% of those who responded to the survey were from the US, 6% from Canada, and 2% from other countries. (See our summary of the results of this survey from 2021 and 2020.)
One of the primary goals of this survey is to better understand consumer behavior within the quilting industry. The gender question included three options: male, female, and other. There was a question asking about ethnicity but according to Mark Hyland, CEO of Handi Quilter, who helped spearhead the study, “there was no meaningful difference as 90% plus answered Caucasian.”
The average quilter
According to the data collected, the average quilter is a woman in her 60s who is retired and has a household income of $65k+. 17.5% of average quilters have full-time jobs. The average quilter today is comfortable with technology, has been quilting for over 10 years, and starts 10-12 quilt projects each year, mostly lap quilts or queen-sized quilts, in a traditional style. The average quilter spends more than six hours per week working on quilting projects.
Three main factors determine where the average quilter shops. First is product availability. Then, the convenience of the location. If they’re shopping in person, they prefer to visit a brick-and-mortar shop that is 30 minutes or less drive from their home. The third determining factor when it comes to shopping is fabric choices and, according to the data collected, product availability is more important than price.
Quilters still prefer to shop in person rather than online, but they are now using social media daily. This is an uptick from 2020 when the survey showed that about 46% of quilters were searching online for quilting products and education every day. Now that quilters are online every day, they are seeking out how-to content, including video content on YouTube.
We know there was a pandemic bump in sewing in general due to mask making, and in quilting in particular due to people staying at home. As we come out of the pandemic, this survey reveals that 84% of quilters are spending the same or more time quilting than they did in previous years which is encouraging for the industry, although quilters also report using more of their stash rather than shopping for new fabric when compared to years past. According to the survey data, increasing costs driven by inflation will have minimal impact on the number of new projects a quilter begins in 2023.
The second purpose of this survey is to examine the trajectory of the quilting and creative demographic at large. According to the survey summary, there are currently over 85 million “active creatives” in the US and Canada representing more than $35 billion in sales (an “active creative” is defined as an individual who has made a creative project in the past 12 months).
Graph courtesy of the Quilting Trends Survey.
The quilting industry is expected to reach $5 billion in 2026-2027. There are currently an estimated 30 million active sewists which is a slight decrease from 33 million during the pandemic years. The quilting industry continues to experience steady annual growth consistent with the growth seen over the last 10 years. There are currently 9-11 million active quilters in the US and Canada.
New quilters represent 8-10% of the quilting population and the majority of new quilters begin quilting in their 50s when they have additional time and discretionary spending. In the overall population, the demographic profile of women over age 50 will continue to expand through 2040 which means there will continue to be more potential quilters in the population over time.
Download the full survey summary right here.
Abby co-founded Craft Industry Alliance and now serves as its president. She’s a sewing pattern designer, teacher, and journalist. She’s dedicated to creating an outstanding trade association for the crafts industry. Abby lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.