Updated May 10, 2023.
Although the statistical information in this article is older, the trends and the numbers have stayed the same.
First, I noted that over half of all stitchers want stitch guides for their canvases but shops generally carry guides for less than a quarter of their canvases. I’d guess that most of those are guides that come free with the canvas (like Princess & Me).
That’s a disconnect. We, as stitchers, want something. The shops aren’t providing it.
Second, our average age is getting to the point where costs become significant. The average needlepointer is 61. That’s a few years from retirement. While many of us will have good incomes after 65, they often will be fixed. That means costs are important. Many of us have more canvases in our stashes than we’ll ever stitch. Survey data bears this out, with only 30% of sales coming from canvases. With fixed incomes, this number will get smaller, especially as canvas prices increase.
In 2023, inflation worries are making this a concern for everyone. And there are shops and designers that just don’t get it. If I can buy a canvas for $50, use thread from my stash, and finish it myself, I’ll get good results for something I can afford. But if I only have a certain amount. to spend why would I go over that amount to buy a $100 book?
Do shops do enough to attract you to buy supplies outside of canvases? Do they tie into what stitchers might want more often with lower incomes: stash projects and smaller projects? Do they put the emphasis on large projects, costly services, and complete kits that add to your stash?
Patterns of buying reflect something as well. While shop sales account for 2/3’s of all sales, on-line stores account for 30%, an amount that increased significantly in the last three years. The data does not reflect if that 2/3’s includes email and web orders from physical shops. My independent research tells me that significant sales come to shops this way, Something that will only increase as gas gets more expensive.
So having an online presence is important and is growing more important all the time. But many shops don’t have websites, and many that do have sites that have no inventory and work poorly. Many will turn off even motivated stitchers.
We can and should help our shops by saying what we’d like to see in a shop. We have a choice about where to spend our money. Good shops will do better.
You can let me know what you want to see in a shop. Do not use any shop’s name, I don’t want to deal with complaints here. Tell me what you wish needlepoint shops would do by adding your comment. I’ll summarize the answers and put them in an article.