measuring the craft economy

In March 2015, The Crafts Council published 'Measuring the Craft Economy',a report which collated statistics from several sources to produce a fuller picture of the economic impact of the UK craft that appears in the official data published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

This report included the following statistics for the 2012/13 period:

  • There are an estimated 11,620 businesses involved in the craft industries, over 50% of which are unregistered micro businesses operating below the threshold at which they would need to charge Value Added Tax (VAT). Craft businesses generate nearly £1.9bn a year in turnover.
  • There are 43,250 people employed in craft industries in the UK, with an estimated additional 9,630 employed in craft occupations outside the creative industries, and 96,360 individuals employed in craft occupations in non-creative industries.
  • Using data from the Annual Population Survey and Annual Business Survey, the 'Measuring the Craft Economy' report estimates that businesses involved in the craft industries contribute £746m in GVA to the UK economy, with an additional £243m of GVA generated by craft occupations in other creative industries and £2.41bn of GVA generated by craft occupations in non-creative industries.

 Source: Measuring the Craft Economy, Crafts Council, March 2015.


Craft and the creative economy (Official data)

Estimated total number of craft jobs in the UK economy: 96,000. (i)

Estimated total number of craft jobs outside of the creative industries: 88,000. (ii)

Estimated total number of craft jobs in UK creative industries in 2015: 7,000. (iii)

Sources: (i, ii) Creative Industries Economic Estimates, January 2015, (iii) Creative Industries Focus on Employment, June 2016, DCMS.


UK contemporary craft 

  • Estimated number of contemporary craft-making businesses in the UK: 23,050
  • Estimated total income for all contemporary craft-making businesses: £457m.
  • Gross Value Added (GVA): £288m (2014)* (Note: this figure is calculated by the ONS on a single SIC O7 code and should be treated with caution.)
  • 88% of craft businesses are sole traders.
  • The average length of time a business has been trading: 16 years
  • Over 60% of makers have a first or second degree in craft, art or design.
  • 57% of makers are using digital technology in some form in their practice or production.
  • 31% of makers have changed their practice in the last three years in response to environmental concerns.
  • UK makers are increasingly working within a mixed economy, supplying other businesses whilst marketing their own products and services, and raising funding and other finance where possible for research and development.

 Source: Craft in an Age of Change, Crafts Council, (2012).


Rural contribution of uk CRAFT

  • It is estimated that craft practitioners contribute £500m to the UK rural economy.
  • Taking into account the numerous other arts festivals, new rural media initiatives,contemporary rural crafts, rural design and architecture and other cultural activities taking place in the countryside, it is possible to conclude that the rural sector is now contributing far in excess of the estimated £500 million p.a. to the national creative economy. This includes the contributions from all the professional urban artists, designers, musicians, film makers and other creatives known to be active in rural areas and, the equally significant contributions being made to the creative economy by rural tourism, rural heritage, rural foods (culinary arts) and beverage outlets, and other countryside recreational arts and sporting activities.
  • This contribution has been achieved without any of the strategic art and cultural investment or infrastructure provided by the previous Government for urban communities, urban creatives and in support of urban regeneration.

 Source: Creative Rural Communities, (2011)


collect 2015

COLLECT returned to the Saatchi Gallery for its twelfth edition from the 8 to 11 May 2015. The fair received over 12,000 visitors with sales set to exceed the 2014 total of £1.7 million.

This year saw new awards presented to Sarah Myerscough Gallery for Best Stand Design, as judged by Jonathan Reed, from Studio Reed, and Gabby Deeming, Acting Editor of House & Garden, and to Mariko Sumioka, represented by Katie Jones, for Jewellery of the Year as judged by Joanna Hardy, jewellery expert and writer, and Annie Warburton, Creative Programmes Director, Crafts Council.

A strong museum presence at the fair included curators from 33 museums and public collections from across UK as well as Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands and Norway. There were 14 works purchased for UK public museum collections, including the following four works purchased for the Crafts Council Collection via the new Museum Purchase Fund which are to be placed in regional museums.

Source: Crafts Council.(2015).