Preview: A Crafty Channel

The art and craft channel has traditionally been on the fringe in hardware retail stores but it is a channel that is expected to grow significantly in the next few years…

In the United States, the craft industry is growing rapidly, with a 26% increase in sales recorded between 2000 and 2002. The major growth has been in General Crafts – scrapbooking, rubber stamping, gifts, adhesives and kids crafts – with this segment of the market representing 37% of the total craft market. Other categories include needle craft, painting /finishing and floral crafts.

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Caption: Art and craft products are set to grow in the hardware channel

The demographic of crafters is primarily female, aged between late 20s to late 50s. They enjoy a middle-income lifestyle ensuring a leisurely spending attitude, and show a desire for creative pursuit. Early statistics indicate that over 40% of scrapbookers and papercrafters spend in excess of $150 per month, 15% of these spend in excess of $200 per month.

Trends from the US indicate that distribution of craft products is expanding as the enormity of growth in this segment is realised. The hardware channel has been a major focus for distribution in the US with the assimilation in target demographic. Distribution of craft categories in American hardware outlets grew by 2% in 2002 alone.

Australia looks set to follow this trend, particularly with regard to scrapbooking. There are currently more than 900 scrapbooking stores in Australia and research has shown a rapid increase in the number of people scrapbooking over the past five years. It is currently a US$2.5 billion industry in the US and it is suggested that Australia is hot on their heels as one of the fastest growing scrapbooking nations. The average scrapper spends around $300 per month and quality is the key. These trends are supported by the latest results published last year by the ABC (Australian Bureau of Circulations), listing Scrapbooking Memories as the fastest growing magazine for the third audit in a row. This publication alone has a circulation of 50,000 per issue indicating a strong demand in the marketplace. Scrapbooking is loosely defined as the hobby of composing photos and memorabilia into custom made albums and pages. In recent times this has grown to include ‘off the page’ projects such as frames, desk accessories and journals, to name but a few. Product Manager for 3M brand, Scotch® Art & Craft, Tanya White said: “Scrapbooking is a celebration of life and our consumers seek products they can trust to treasure and protect their memories for a long time to come.”

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Caption: Scrapbooking is a phenomenon taking off all over the world

Historically, the demographic of the hardware channel has been primarily targeted at the male, late 20s to late 50s.The past decade has seen a huge swing towards DIY home renovations and interior decorating, creating a shift in target demographic within the hardware channel towards the female population. Aged between late 20s and mid-50s with a medium income and leisurely spending attitude, this segment of the population holds family values as a priority and home is a place of pride. These women are the decision makers on home renovations and interior decorating, hence this demographic has become a major focus in product ranging and marketing programs of major hardware chains. The introduction of gardening, outdoor entertainment, home decor accessories and craft into the hardware channel are all indicators of the shift towards the female demographic and it can be assumed the changing demographic of the hardware consumer is as a result of these introductions. The Scotch® brand distributed by 3M Australia is one of the leading crafts brands in the world. Scotch mounting products, targeted primarily at females aged 24-36, have enjoyed rapid growth in the hardware channel over the past 12-18 months.

The Scotch range of scrapbooking products covers the spectrum of craft adhesive solutions. Scotch Vellum, once a well kept secret within the graphic arts industry, is now taking the Scrapbooking world by storm. Foam Layering Tape brings a three-dimensional look to projects, and Press and Place allows scrapbookers to stick even the most awkward shapes onto their page with confidence. Scotch also offers a growing range of embellishments. Keepsake Boxes, Tie Downs and the very popular Decorative Tape range have all become essential components for on and off the page scrapbooking projects.

Beyond the page, Scotch products also encompass the broader art and craft industry. Ideal for use on a variety of surfaces including metal and plastic, whilst maintaining acid free qualities the range is ideal for a myriad of school and household projects. Scotch Adhesives are synonymous with quality. They have been on the market for 75 years developing a reputation as the reliable, time saving alternative for quality conscious consumers. The range is quality tested and approved to ensure the products are acid free and photo safe. The range is suitable for all ages, providing easy clean up glue sticks, a variety of adhesive application options and easy to use decorations (or embellishments for the scrapbook savvy) that will ensure consumers finish with a top quality project they know will stick around long after the glue has dried.

To find out more, read the rest of this article in the Australian Hardware Journal March 06 edition.