Etsy makes masks

Etsy is experiencing unexpected growing profits during this pandemic. Best known for its vintage and homemade/handmade items, the do it yourself (DIY) giant has reported an unprecedented boom in sales, as the company makes masks for millions – both physically and financially. And it has done so by spotting trends, staying agile and pivoting quickly to capture a consumer demand unheard of a short month ago.

Etsy Isn’t Going Anywhere

While companies around the world grapple to stay afloat, the DIY one stop shop, with over 2.5 million sellers as of 2019, has already proven its staying power during the pandemic, with astronomical growth. As reported, “in the fourth week of March, recovery kicked in: Consolidated GMS [gross merchandise sales] in the fourth week of March was up 27 percent year-over-year. Within that fourth week, the swings returned with a negative 4 percent day and, just a few days later, a positive 23 percent day.”

The company has continued to attract consumers searching for ways to clean, declutter, or otherwise occupy themselves during lockdown. And there are upticks in sales for self-care, puzzles, and healthcare/beauty items. All things that are often hard to find in regular store front establishments.

As Adweek shared from an Etsy representative, “The current situation is causing people to think of Etsy for more than just special items . . . We’re proving that our marketplace and makers can meet the everyday needs of consumers.”

Etsy Online Articles & Conversation

Indeed, searching web conversation and articles about Etsy reveals the top items consumers are buying and talking about:


As stay-at-home restrictions begin to ease up, Etsy has once again found a way to not only help consumers, but their sellers as well. As Yahoo News reports, “Etsy CEO Josh Silverman explains that after the CDC updated its guidelines recommending Americans wear face masks in public, ‘we effectively woke up to discover traffic that was similar to Cyber Monday, but everyone in the world wanted only one product, which is a fabric face mask.’”

A timeline comparison shows that masks have dominated the conversation around Etsy over the last four weeks.


And how was Etsy able to get thousands of its sellers on-board with mask making – and so quickly, to meet this demand? By recognizing, reacting, and recruiting.

The ‘Go To’ for Lockdown Living

As the CDC released new guidelines and safety warnings, Etsy saw the proverbial “disinfectant on the wall” and jumped on the homemade mask bandwagon. As Robert Klara reported, “At a time when medical professionals need every N95 mask there is, Etsy has positioned itself as a viable and individual alternative, selling a huge array of face coverings (masks, scarves and bandanas) and even producing a video on how to choose the right one.”


According to Silverman, ‘“Within two weeks, we’d recruited over 20,000 sellers, and at this point there’s over 60,000 sellers that are making and selling masks on Etsy, and we continue to sell hundreds of thousands of masks per day.”’ In fact, the company sold over 12 million masks, with $133 million in revenue, over the course of four weeks last month alone.

With the topic of masks garnering 34% of the conversations, it’s no wonder Etsy has been able to thrive during these business-destroying times.


While the COVID-19 pandemic hopefully won’t last forever, Etsy is banking on attracting new consumers through sales of masks and keeping them as loyal customers once life returns to some resemblance of “normal.”

How? They’re not just a mask-making enterprise after all . . .

Associated Items Send Sales Skyrocketing

With many businesses and restaurants around the world reopening their doors, Etsy is still sitting in a prime spot, and not just for masks. Those consumers still wary of venturing out are discovering a whole new shopping experience with the online company.

According to CNBC, “Etsy also saw bright spots in the home furnishing, toys, games and gardening departments during the month. ‘“All of these categories are just doing fantastic,” CEO Silverman said, “and our sellers are so good at inventing products that are really relevant for the moment and then being ready to ship those.”’


With non-mask sales likewise up 79% over last year, Etsy has certainly found its niche in the homemade/handmade market. Consumer sentiment, shown in a visual word cloud, agrees:


And while Etsy may trail behind other large ecommerce companies, such as Walmart, Amazon and Shopify for market share, the “little company that could” has certainly proven that it is here to stay. It’s not only holding its own in the online retail sector, with over 75 million mentions in the last month alone as well as supporting thousands of independent sellers around the world.

Keeping Consumers Passionate

Though, it’s important to note – as we can see from the Brand Passion Index above, Etsy is capturing the lion’s share of consumer conversation of late, but it isn’t necessarily capturing the love. This will be an important metric for the DIY platform to monitor and improve as they move forward. They don’t want to rely on lukewarm like to bring consumers back, as we’ve seen they’re fickle and leaving love on the table can be as dangerous to a bottom line as leaving dollars.

Reach out for a demo of both NetBase and Quid to learn how to discover trends, innovate ahead of the curve and monitor consumer sentiment to be sure your hard work keeps your business solidly in consumers’ hearts for future purchases!


Premier social media analytics platform

Expand your social platform with LexisNexis news media

Power of social analytics for your entire team

Media analytics and market intelligence platform

Enrich your media analytics with social data

Media coverage for historical & real-time monitoring

Data streams & custom KPIs for advanced data science

AI, Image Analytics, Reporting Tools & more

Out-of-the-box integration with other data sources