Is Etsy Worth It in 2021?

Is Etsy Worth It in 2021?

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Easy to Use Interface
  3. Low Overheads and Fees
  4. High Traffic and Advertising
  5. Free Analytics for Insights
  6. Free Promotional Tools
  7. VAT Handling by Etsy
  8. Saturated Market
  9. Loss of Shop Identity
  10. Etsy Suggests Similar Shops
  11. Push for Free Shipping
  12. Confusing Fee Structure
  13. Etsy Off-Site Ads

Is Starting an Etsy Shop Worth It in 2021? Pros and Cons of Running an Etsy Shop

Introduction: Hi everyone, I'm Kim from The Ecotree and I've been an Etsy seller for almost 14 years now. Today, I want to share with you my thoughts on whether starting an Etsy shop is worth it in 2021. I'll be discussing the pros and cons of running an Etsy shop, so let's dive in and see if Etsy is the right platform for you.

Easy to Use Interface: One of the main reasons why Etsy is worth considering as a selling platform is its user-friendly interface. Setting up a shop on Etsy is incredibly easy and can be done within a few minutes. Etsy understands the importance of aesthetics, simplicity, and ease of navigation, making it a great website for both sellers and buyers. The platform's intuitive design allows sellers to quickly get their shop up and running, saving them valuable time and effort.

Low Overheads and Fees: When it comes to the financial aspect of selling on Etsy, it offers one of the lowest overheads and fees compared to other online marketplaces. Listing an item on Etsy only costs 20 cents, and when you make a sale, Etsy takes a 5% cut of the overall transaction price, including postage. This fee structure makes Etsy the most cost-effective platform for sellers looking to get started and sell their handmade goods. In comparison, other platforms like Amazon can charge higher fees, and having your own website often incurs monthly costs.

High Traffic and Advertising: Etsy boasts a vast amount of traffic, with millions of buyers visiting the platform each year. The platform invests heavily in advertising to promote listings and attract customers. Its reputation and presence in the market make it a trusted platform for buyers, improving the chances of making sales. Being part of a popular platform like Etsy gives sellers the advantage of exposure and access to a large pool of potential customers.

Free Analytics for Insights: Etsy provides sellers with free analytics tools that offer valuable insights into their shop's performance. Sellers can keep track of the number of views their shop and items receive, popular search phrases that lead customers to their shop, revenue breakdowns, conversion rates, and more. This data is crucial for understanding buyer behavior, measuring the effectiveness of SEO strategies, and making informed decisions to optimize shop performance.

Free Promotional Tools: Another benefit of selling on Etsy is the free promotional tools it offers. Sellers can run sales, offer coupon codes, and provide unique discounts to their customers. Coupon codes can be sent as a thank you to previous buyers or used to entice potential customers who have added items to their cart but haven't completed the purchase. These promotional tools help sellers attract and retain customers, ultimately driving sales and business growth.

VAT Handling by Etsy: For sellers who deal with VAT (Value Added Tax) in different countries, Etsy simplifies the process by handling it on their behalf. Etsy automatically adds the VAT amount to the listing price, and when a customer makes a purchase, Etsy collects the VAT and pays it to the relevant authorities. This convenient feature saves sellers from the complexities and hassles of managing VAT themselves, ensuring compliance with tax regulations in various regions.

Saturated Market: While Etsy offers numerous advantages for sellers, it's important to address the challenges they may face. One significant drawback is the saturation of the platform. Etsy has become increasingly crowded, making it harder for new sellers to get noticed among the sea of similar products. Standing out in this competitive marketplace requires additional effort and creativity to catch the attention of potential customers.

Loss of Shop Identity: When customers purchase items on Etsy, they often credit the platform rather than the specific shop. This can result in a loss of shop identity for sellers, as the focus is more on Etsy as a whole rather than individual sellers. It can be disheartening for sellers who put a lot of effort into their products and brand but receive less recognition compared to other e-commerce platforms.

Etsy Suggests Similar Shops: Etsy's recommendation system suggests similar shops at the bottom of a listing, potentially diverting customers' attention away from a seller's shop. While this feature can benefit sellers by exposing their items to a wider audience, it also poses the risk of losing customers to other sellers whose items are showcased alongside theirs. Sellers need to carefully monitor their conversion rates and assess whether the recommendation system positively impacts their sales.

Push for Free Shipping: Etsy strongly encourages sellers to offer free shipping, as listing with free shipping receives a boost in search results. While this might seem advantageous, sellers are often forced to raise their prices to compensate for the shipping costs. This approach can be challenging for sellers, especially those who sell bulkier or heavier items that incur higher shipping fees. The push for free shipping may not align with every seller's business model or affordability.

Confusing Fee Structure: Etsy's fee structure, although relatively low, can be confusing for sellers. The platform breaks down fees into various categories, which can be overwhelming and difficult to understand. Sellers often find themselves navigating through a complex fee system, making it challenging to assess their overall expenses and profits accurately. Understanding the fee structure is essential for sellers to determine the true cost of selling on Etsy.

Etsy Off-Site Ads: Once an Etsy seller reaches $10,000 or more in annual sales, their items may be used in off-site ads without their consent. Etsy automatically includes these items in its advertising campaigns, and sellers do not have control over which items are selected or the commission charged. While this feature may lead to increased exposure, some sellers are frustrated by the lack of control and transparency, as it affects their overall profits without their consent.

In conclusion, starting an Etsy shop in 2021 has its advantages and disadvantages. Etsy offers a user-friendly interface, low overheads and fees, access to high traffic, free analytics tools, and promotional opportunities. However, sellers should be prepared for a saturated market, potential loss of shop identity, Etsy's suggestions of similar shops, the push for free shipping, a confusing fee structure, and the inclusion of items in off-site ads. Success on Etsy requires hard work, creativity, and strategic planning.


  • Etsy is a user-friendly platform for both sellers and buyers.
  • Low overheads and fees make it an affordable option for sellers.
  • Etsy's high traffic and advertising provide exposure to potential customers.
  • Free analytics tools offer valuable insights for optimizing shop performance.
  • The platform offers free promotional tools to attract and retain customers.
  • Etsy handles VAT, saving sellers time and effort in managing tax compliance.
  • The marketplace is saturated, requiring extra effort to stand out.
  • Sellers may experience a loss of shop identity due to Etsy's branding dominance.
  • Suggestions of similar shops might divert customers' attention to competitors.
  • The push for free shipping can be challenging for sellers with higher shipping costs.
  • Etsy's fee structure can be confusing, requiring careful tracking of expenses.
  • Items may be used in off-site ads without seller consent after reaching a certain sales threshold.


Q: Is Etsy the best platform for selling handmade goods? A: Etsy is a popular platform for selling handmade goods due to its ease of use, low fees, and high traffic. However, it's important to consider other options and build a presence beyond Etsy to diversify your business.

Q: How can I stand out as a seller on Etsy? A: To stand out on Etsy, focus on unique product offerings, effective SEO strategies, professional product photography, excellent customer service, and targeted marketing efforts both within and outside of Etsy.

Q: Can I sell items other than handmade goods on Etsy? A: While Etsy primarily caters to handmade goods, they also allow the sale of certain vintage and craft supplies. It's important to review Etsy's guidelines and policies to ensure your products align with their criteria.

Q: How can I calculate my profits on Etsy accurately? A: To calculate your profits on Etsy, subtract all fees (listing fees, transaction fees, etc.) and shipping costs from your total revenue. Consider other expenses such as packaging materials and advertising costs to get a comprehensive view of your profits.

I am a ETSY merchant, I am opening several ETSY stores. I use Etsyshop to find ETSY stores and track competitor stores. Etsyshop really helped me a lot, I also subscribe to Etsyshop's service, I hope more people can like Etsyshop! — Ecomvy

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