Craft Focus - February / March 2021 (Issue 83)

39 BUSINESS Crafting & mental wellbeing The marketplace for makers,, has reported huge growth in the UK this year, as the public turns to crafting as a primary method to manage their mental health during the pandemic The platform,, experienced a 114 per cent increase in traffic from March to November this year, compared with the same period last year, with 73 per cent of traffic generated from new visitors. The community for makers has reported huge growth in the UK since lockdown was imposed in countries around the world. Research has also shown that crafting has become a popular method to improve mental wellbeing in 2020. A survey of 1,500 members of the public conducted by the platform in October, showed that four out of five (80 per cent) adults have suffered with their mental health this year, with anxiety and stress cited as what people suffer with most (67 per cent and 61 per cent respectively). Further insights show that three fifths (58 per cent) say the global pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, just less than a fifth (18 per cent) said it’s had no impact and less than a tenth (9 per cent) said it’s had a positive impact. The research also revealed that nearly all (97 per cent) respondents used craft as a way to improve their mental health, followed by listening to music (56 per cent) and exercise (49 per cent). When asked why they craft, four fifths (81 per cent) of applicable respondents said ‘it relaxes me’. Scientific research shows that knitting reduces the heart rate by an average of 11 beats per minute, and induces an enhanced state of calm, similar to yoga*. Additionally, its rhythmic yet skilled process has the potential to free up thinking and promote reflection**. The increasingly popular trend in crafting has reflected positively in sales, with’s product revenue has almost quadrupled (194 per cent) this year, compared to the same period in 2019. According to LoveCrafts’ site data, tutorials have been incredibly popular, with the platform’s beginner craft guide experiencing a 5342 per cent increase in visits during the height of the pandemic. POPULAR CRAFTS Knitting has been the most popular craft in the UK since March and through lockdown, with the site’s ‘how to knit’ page experiencing a 759 per cent increase in traffic during the first two weeks of September, and has continued to be popular, peaking in traffic once again at the start of November. LoveCrafts’ ‘Kids crafts’ pages also noted a traffic surge of 44,000 per cent in mid-October. PANDEMIC MAKES Search term analysis shows what people have been looking to craft this year, with searches for ‘face mask’ up by 11,666 per cent from March to May this year, peaking once again in mid-July. LoveCrafts’ DIY no-sew face mask tutorial page experienced this in particular as it saw a 5825 per cent increase in traffic during the last week of April, Searches for Christmas related crafts are up by 118 per cent compared to last year, with Christmas stockings and jumpers the most popular search terms, increasing by 74 per cent and 42 per cent respectively, compared to 2019. Pattern downloads have also increased by 144 per cent from March to November 2020, compared to the same period last year. Beginner craft kits have also proven incredibly popular through lockdown, with sales for beginner crochet, knitting and sewing kits increasing by +1892 per cent YTD vs last year. is an online home for makers. A place to find inspiration, learn new techniques, shop craft supplies, and connect with like-minded people around the world. Yarn, free patterns, needles, threads, fabrics, hooks, craft books and kits can all be found via the site. Edward Griffith, founder of, said, “We’ve experienced a huge amount of support from our community of makers since the Spring. Crafting has brought people both joy and distraction during these stressful times and our data certainly shows how it’s more popular than ever.” * Harvard Medical School (2007) The Relaxation Response **Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2004). Finding the Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life. Basic Books