A compilation of the various market
research projects conducted by and for industry-related trade
associations, publications, and others.
Industry Research Studies
An Informal History of Industry Research
How Not To Read Research Studies
INDUSTRY RESEARCH STUDIES
Note: These are listed in chronological order.
1. The preliminary results of the 2012 Artist & Art
Materials Study, sponsored by NAMTA, are
2. The new CHA Attitude and Usage Study for the
Canadian Market is now available to member on the CHA website at
The Study is available for purchase by non-members by emailing Keri
email@example.com or calling 201-835-1220.
3. The latest research conducted by the Craft Yarn Council,
conducted in the fall of 2011, is now available at
4. The updated Attitude & Usage Study conducted by
the research firm Ipsos for the Craft & Hobby Assn. is
available at the CHA website,
www.craftandhobby.org, in the "Member" section. For more
information, call Keri Cunningham at 201-835-1220 or email
5. Sewing & Craft Alliance conducted a study of consumers
who participated in various National Sewing Month activities.
For a free copy of the results, email Joyce Perhac at
6. The State of Specialty NeedleArts 2010, was
conducted by Hart Business Research for The National NeedleArts
Association. The Study is available at
7. The Quilting in America 2010 survey was conducted by
Quilts Inc., sponsor of the Quilt Markets and Festivals, and
Quilters Newsletter, published by Creative Crafts Group.
more information about the study, click
HERE or email
8. CHA surveyed attendees at the 2010
Craft Super Show (consumer) in Anaheim in January. To see the
complete results, visit
9. PMA. The 2009 PMA U.S. Consumer Photo Buying Report is
now available. The basic report is free to PMA members. Non-members may buy the report for $299.
10. Interweave/NAMTA. The 2009 Artists + Art Materials
Study. The Study is free to NAMTA members, and an
executive summary is free to all. Non-members may purchase the
complete Study for $5,000. Visit
11. Other CHA
CHA has also studied the mindset of multi-cultural crafting
consumers, examined the attitudes and usage of scrapbookers in more
detail, identified key influencers of crafting, and researched the
impact of hands-on projects in elementary schools. To read the
Executive Summaries of each of these studies, visit
12. Hobby Manufacturers Association. HMA released a new
study that pegs the size of the industry (plastic model kits,
radio-control, model railroading, etc.) at $1.2 billion. For more
information, visit www.hmahobby.org
and click on Press Releases.
13. Lion Brand Yarn conducted a study of knit/crochet
enthusiasts' use of the Internet, including blogs, podcasts, and
groups. Visit http://yarncraft.lionbrand.com
and scroll down to the Oct. 29 entry.
14. The State of Beading: Consumer Purchasing Habits, Trends, and
Motivation, sponsored by Interweave Press. Published in 2004. A four-page summary is
available by contacting Jaime Guthals, publicist, at JaimeG@interweave.com.
The complete survey is $200. Call 800-272-2193.
Others. Various consumer enthusiast magazines have surveyed their readers
concerning their buying habits, brand preferences, etc., and often
are willing to share the results with market researchers and
potential advertisers. Check with the publishers or ad directors for
AN INFORMAL HISTORY OF INDUSTRY RESEARCH
by Mike Hartnett
The first published record of the size of the craft industry
appeared in Profitable Craft Merchandising magazine in the
late 1960's or early 1970's. Publisher Jack Wax announced that the
total annual sales in the fledgling industry were $300 million.
At a trade show the following January, the late industry pioneer Bill
Mangelsen asked Jack how he had compiled that figure. Bill said Jack
looked around to make certain no one else was listening and
whispered, "We gotta start someplace."
That was the industry standard until the mid-late 1970's when the
Hobby Industry Assn., the forerunner of today's Craft & Hobby
Assn., conducted studies of its members. Unfortunately, many HIA
members were suspicious of revealing their sales figures to the HIA
staff HIA dues were determined by a company's sales volume
so they either ignored the questionnaire or under-reported their
The resulting studies were so inaccurate that they had little or
no credibility. By the early 1980's I was editor of Profitable
Craft Merchandising and one year when I happened to know that
the true sales of a single floral company were higher than what the
HIA study reported was the size of the entire floral category, I
refused to publish the results.
The HIA studies died soon afterwards.
For years there was no size of industry study at all. During that
time trade magazine editors such as myself and HIA staff members
were bombarded by market researchers, stock market analysts,
potential investors, and others desperate for data. Current and
potential industry businesses would call, too, needing data to show
We would explain to the callers that there was no data. They
would insist they had to have numbers. To get them to hang up, I
would give them HIA's phone number. I later learned HIA would give
them my number.
As tiresome as those phone calls were, I do understand the
callers' intent. Why would anyone invest money in an industry that
doesn't even know how big it is?
One year I was sitting at a bar one night during a trade show,
having a drink with the late Karen Ancona, then editor of CNA, and Susan
Brandt, then the HIA communications director. We complained about
the time spent talking to these people and how they wouldn't leave
We concluded the only way to get these people off our backs was
to give them a number. And if we all agreed on the same number, then
maybe these callers would leave us alone. We decided to settle on a
number, then say to the callers, "There is no study, but if I
had to guess, I'd say...."
We had another drink and decided that the size of the industry
was $3 billion. The three of us used that figure throughout the
year. The following year at the trade show we met in the hotel bar
again, decided our plan had been successful, and we should continue
So we asked ourselves, "Ok, so how much did the industry
grow this past year?" We had another drink and concluded that
it had grown 10%. Therefore, the new size of industry was $3.3
We used that $3.3 billion figure, and midway through the year one
of these market experts we'd talked to told the Wall Street
Journal, in what was no doubt a very authoritative manner, that
the size of the industry was $3.3 billion.
Hmmm. Maybe if we'd had a few more drinks first, the industry
would have been at $4 or $5 billion.
Finally, Real Results.
Probably one of the most significant events in the history of the
industry was in 1987 when Jim Scatena, now CEO/President of
FloraCraft, convinced the HIA board of directors to spend real
money to hire a market research firm to conduct a real size of
An outside firm gave the study instant credibility; members were
far more likely to respond when they knew their individual
questionnaires would remain confidential. There were doubts raised
by members about the veracity of the data, but that's inevitable. If
my retail store had flat sales in, say, acrylic paint, but the
survey said paint sales increased, I'm going to no doubt wonder
about the study. Many people probably doubted the results because
the results were averages, and no one has a perfectly average
But all those bankers, analysts, and others didn't doubt the
results. Now, finally, they had some numbers. Now, finally, it made
sense to invest in, or give loans to, an industry company.
It was expensive a lot more expensive than buying drinks for
Karen, Susan, and me but over time it inspired outsiders to pour
millions of dollars into the industry for expansion and new product
development. We wouldn't have grown to where we
are today without such investments.
So the study, which surveyed retailers, vendors, and consumers,
was conducted every other year, but as time went by the number of
responses declined, and some major players e.g., Wal-Mart and
Hobby Lobby declined to report their numbers, and so the
researchers had to guessitmate their sales. Their guesses were as
accurate as anybody's (sales/sq. ft., x number of feet x number of
stores, etc.) but they were still guesses.
By then the studies said the industry had grown to $10+ billion.
Finally some board members decided there were far more sales in the
industry than the study was capturing, and a new method was needed.
Instead of trying to capture all of the appropriate retailers and
manufacturers and plead with them to respond to the questionnaire,
why not just go directly to consumers and ask them what they spent
their money on, and how much?
That meant a new study, a new research company, and a completely
new methodology. And the results, published about 2001, showed the
industry had, uh, doubled. Now suddenly we're over $20 billion.
(This is a classic example of how you can't compare studies that
used different methodologies.)
Since then the subsequent studies have indicated that the
industry has usually continued to grow a far cry from "we
HOW NOT TO READ RESEARCH STUDIES
1. Remember, we have not died and gone to heaven, so no
study is perfect. And even if it was, it's a picture of the past,
not the present. It takes months to conduct research, then tabulate
and publish the results.
2. Every study has a different methodology, so comparing
one study to another is truly an apples-to-oranges dilemma. Trying
to take the CYCA yarn data and have it fit perfectly with the
TNNA yarn research and the CHA study will just give
you a headache. Each study is not a piece of a single jigsaw puzzle
that, when fit together with other pieces, forms a logical whole.
3. Was the study conducted for the first time or was it a
repeat of an earlier study? If it's a first-timer, consider it a
baseline. Any specific data might be a result of a flaw in the study
rather than the "truth." But if a study repeats the
methodology of a previous study, then the differences in the results are probably
4. Know a study's "margin of error." For
example, if a study with a margin of error of 5 reports the
percentage of households with a cross-stitcher is 20, then you can
assume the true percentage is somewhere in the range of 15% and 25%.
If an earlier version of the study revealed the percentage of
households was 18% with the same margin of error, then you cannot
conclude with 100% certainty that cross stitch has increased.