How Etsy Became a Thriving Business During the Pandemic

How Etsy Became a Thriving Business During the Pandemic

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of Etsy's performance in the second quarter
  3. The impact of masks on Etsy's sales
  4. Non-mask sales and the growth of other categories
  5. Home furnishings as a leading category on Etsy
  6. Apparel and jewelry sales on Etsy
  7. The reliability of Etsy buyers
  8. The evolution of Etsy's brand and reputation
  9. The profile of Etsy sellers
  10. Looking ahead: predictions for active buyers and future growth

Etsy's Strong Performance in the Second Quarter

In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, one company that has truly stood out is Etsy. The online marketplace reported impressive earnings earlier this week, highlighting the significant boost in online shopping overall. However, what catapulted Etsy's success was the sale of masks. In the last quarter alone, Etsy sellers generated a staggering $346 million in revenue from face coverings. To gain further insight into Etsy's performance, we had the opportunity to speak with CEO Josh Silverman, who shared his thoughts on the company's remarkable growth and its potential moving forward.

The Impact of Masks on Etsy's Sales

Firstly, it's important to acknowledge the crucial role played by masks in Etsy's second-quarter sales. While the pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the entire e-commerce sector, masks played a pivotal role in driving Etsy's revenue during this period. However, Josh Silverman is keen to emphasize that masks were just one part of the larger picture. Non-mask sales were also substantial, showcasing the breadth and depth of products available on Etsy. These sales, which amounted to approximately $2.4 billion, demonstrate that the marketplace is thriving beyond just face coverings.

Non-Mask Sales and the Growth of Other Categories

While masks may have dominated the sales figures for the second quarter, the growth of non-mask sales on Etsy is equally impressive. Year over year, non-mask sales increased by an astounding 93%, highlighting the marketplace's diverse offerings. One category that notably excelled during this period was home furnishings. In fact, home furnishing sales on Etsy increased by 128% compared to the previous year. This surge in demand demonstrates that Etsy is a go-to destination not just for masks, but for a wide range of unique and personalized home decor products.

Home Furnishings as a Leading Category on Etsy

Etsy's success in the home furnishings category is worth noting, as it surpasses the sales of masks and highlights the marketplace's versatility. Over the last 12 months, Etsy sellers have amassed approximately $2 billion in sales from home furnishings alone. This data underscores the fact that consumers are increasingly turning to Etsy for their home decor needs. With its vast selection of handmade and vintage items, Etsy offers buyers a chance to make their living spaces truly special and unique.

Apparel and Jewelry Sales on Etsy

Apart from home furnishings, apparel and jewelry are two other leading categories on Etsy. Over the last year, Etsy sellers have sold an impressive $775 million worth of apparel, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 60%. Similarly, jewelry sales on Etsy have reached a remarkable $1.2 billion over the last 12 months, with a 50% year-over-year growth. These numbers highlight the growing popularity of Etsy as a platform for fashion and accessories, solidifying its position as a major player in the e-commerce industry.

The Reliability of Etsy Buyers

One of the key factors contributing to Etsy's success is the loyalty and reliability of its buyer base. Etsy buyers have historically proven to be dependable, returning year after year for their specific purchase occasions. Whether it's for Mother's Day or other holidays, buyers have consistently shown up on Etsy. However, what's truly encouraging is that new buyers and reactivated buyers are now exhibiting more diverse shopping behavior. In the past 30 days, 10% of these buyers have made purchases on at least four different occasions across two different categories. This trend indicates a promising shift towards forming a long-term habit of shopping on Etsy.

The Evolution of Etsy's Brand and Reputation

Over time, Etsy has evolved from being merely seen as an alternative to mainstream e-commerce platforms into a destination that offers almost anything a shopper could desire. While Etsy may not match Amazon or Target in terms of volume, it outshines them in terms of personalization and connection. Every product on Etsy is unique, often handmade, and buyers have the privilege of interacting directly with the person who created it. The personal touch, along with the absence of handwritten notes and the sense of supporting small businesses, has elevated Etsy's brand and reputation. To further capitalize on this, Etsy has made significant investments in marketing, particularly through television advertisements, to increase top-of-mind awareness and capture a larger market share.

The Profile of Etsy Sellers

The growth of Etsy as a go-to platform extends not only to buyers but also to sellers. With the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, many individuals have sought new avenues to supplement their income. Etsy has proven to be an ideal platform for these sellers, providing them with an opportunity to earn a living while pursuing their passions. Take, for example, John, a baker from Florida, who had to close down his retail operations due to the pandemic. He discovered Etsy and established a shop to sell his bread and specialized yeast mix. Not only has John experienced great success in terms of sales but he's also connected with passionate bread-making enthusiasts from all over the world. Etsy's global reach provides sellers with a platform to engage with a like-minded community and create a fulfilling business.

Looking Ahead: Predictions for Active Buyers and Future Growth

While it's challenging to make precise predictions for the future, Etsy has provided guidance for the third quarter. They anticipate that gross merchandise sales will increase between 80% and 110% compared to the previous year. This forecast assumes continued acquisition of new buyers and increased frequency of purchases from existing buyers. The fourth quarter's performance and beyond remain uncertain, as external factors such as government stimulus packages and the overall economic climate will come into play. Nonetheless, Etsy remains steadfast in its long-term vision and commitment to building a sustainable business. The breakout moment experienced during the pandemic has brought Etsy to the forefront of consumers' minds and cemented new shopping habits. As Etsy continues to meet a diverse range of consumer needs, its sellers and buyers alike are poised for continued success.


  1. In the second quarter, Etsy reported a remarkable boost in sales due to the sale of masks during the pandemic.
  2. While masks generated significant revenue, non-mask sales on Etsy also saw impressive growth, with home furnishings emerging as a leading category.
  3. Etsy sellers have experienced success in apparel and jewelry sales, showcasing the marketplace's diverse offerings.
  4. The reliability and loyalty of Etsy buyers have been consistently strong, with new and reactivated buyers exhibiting diverse shopping behavior.
  5. Etsy's brand has evolved from an alternative marketplace to a mainstream platform known for personalized and unique products.
  6. Etsy has become a fulfilling platform for sellers, offering a chance to earn a living while pursuing their passions.
  7. Looking ahead, Etsy anticipates further growth in active buyers and gross merchandise sales, though the future remains uncertain due to external factors.


Q: What contributed to Etsy's strong performance in the second quarter? A: The sale of masks played a significant role, but non-mask sales, particularly home furnishings, also contributed to Etsy's success.

Q: How have Etsy buyers shown loyalty and reliability? A: Etsy buyers have historically returned for specific purchase occasions, and there is now a trend of new and reactivated buyers purchasing across different categories and occasions.

Q: Has Etsy's brand and reputation evolved over time? A: Yes, Etsy has transitioned from being seen as an alternative marketplace to a mainstream platform that offers personalized and unique products.

Q: How has Etsy supported sellers during the pandemic? A: Etsy has provided an avenue for individuals to supplement their income by pursuing their passions and connecting with a like-minded community.

Q: What are Etsy's predictions for future growth? A: Etsy expects continued growth in active buyers and gross merchandise sales, though uncertainties remain due to factors such as government stimulus packages and the overall economic climate.

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