Etsy has been around for quite a few years now, but its popularity has really exploded in just the last few. As an online marketplace it's a great place for people to sell handmade goods, vintage items, and various supplies. But has its recent exponential growth made it too saturated to start your business on?

A lot of new sellers coming into the marketplace say yes. But in reality the answer isn't that simple. It's certainly harder to stand out and get found than it used to be, but not impossible. The Etsy of today is not the Etsy of 10 years ago. And sellers need to up their game to get in and do well, but there is definitely room for new products and new ideas.

HOW MANY SELLERS ARE ON ETSY

As of early 2023 the number of seller accounts are being reported as active on Etsy are approx 5.4 million - with 89 million total users on the site. An active seller account means that the shop had at least one transaction in the last reported 12 month period.

HOW DOES THAT COMPARE TO OTHER VENUES?

If we look to Ebay as a comparison (and ebay has been around a lot longer) there are 18.3 million sellers with 138 million total users. So more than double the sellers but no one is saying Ebay is over saturated.

Meanwhile, Instagram is currently at 2.3 billion users. So selling via social media would be just as, if not more challenging.

The internet as a whole is quite crowded, so it will likely always be difficult to be seen or found. Not impossible, you'll just need to work at it.

ARE CERTAIN PRODUCTS OVER-SATURATED ON ETSY?

This comes up quite a bit. There are certainly quite a few specific product groups that are very heavy in selection, jewelry is a popular example. But over-saturation means that product availability has out-stripped demand. And I'm not sure that this is true for any category on Etsy. 

You really have to look beyond Etsy to the wider market when you analyze this question. Is there more jewelry on Etsy for example than the rest of the internet combined? Hardly. Because Etsy is a marketplace though you're going to find a broader selection than single retailer sites. 

For some perspective the word 'jewelry' on Etsy had 25.3 million results. On Ebay there were 1.8 billion.

SO WHY IS SELLING ON ETSY SO HARD?

This is complicated, and the answer is, it depends on the seller in question. Here are a few factors to consider when starting out as an Etsy seller:

1. Most new sellers to Etsy don't have real world business experience or even a relevant education in a useful business field (like marketing maybe). So sellers are learning 'on the job' and that takes time.

2. A lot of new Etsy sellers jump in feet first without a lot of prep work or research beforehand. This step can make a big difference to how quickly or how well a shop does.

3. There's a common misconception that selling on Etsy is easy. It isn't. It's usually hard work.

4. Too many sellers make mistakes that get them shut down or simply ranked so poorly they'll never be found in search. See points 1 and 2.

5. Lastly, shops that are creative and original do better than those who just add more of the same that's already there. 


I hope this helps de-mystify the Etsy saturation question!
Shawnna