Thanks again to everyone who took the International Seller Survey, which was live from January 14-26, 2009. Below are some of the findings. Please bear in mind that this survey was not scientific and findings are provided for informational purposes only. Etsy makes no guarantees about the accuracy of the results.
International Seller Survey Demographics
Nearly 1600 people took the survey, and almost all (97%) were women. Sixty-seven different countries from around the world were represented—from every continent except Antarctica!
Here is a quick look at survey takers by country and/or region (e.g., Europe) – no country within a region had more than 3% of the respondents. (Note: Countries are not double counted in regions, e.g,. UK is not also counted in Europe.)
For languages other than English, 20%-25% of survey respondents speak French, Spanish or Dutch with another 10%-15% each speaking Italian or German. Many other languages, such as Hebrew and Thai, were also represented. Interestingly, however, when asked about what languages other than English respondents’ customers speak, the most common answer by far was French at over 40%, with German a distant second at 20%.
International Currency, Payments & Shipping
We have heard from many non-U.S. sellers that would like more currency options on Etsy, and that they would also like Etsy to more clearly indicate that prices are in United States Dollars (USD). We are looking at the best way to make this clearer. Although we don’t have an exact timetable yet, we’ll keep you posted.
In terms of payment options, nearly 100% of you chose PayPal as a preferred form of payment (multiple answers to this question were allowed), with the next most popular selection being credit card transactions processed by PayPal. Direct Debit/Bank Transfer was an option that 21% of international sellers would like, especially those in Germany, Singapore and Australia, where these sorts of transactions are most common.
Shipping preferences and standards differ from country to country and region to region. Almost all survey respondents are using local post offices to ship their items to customers, though the Italians noted their postal service was relatively unreliable. Not many survey respondents use a premium shipper, but if they did it would likely be DHL. Our friends in Canada are hampered by relatively high shipping costs—which they often do not feel they can pass on to their customers—and those in Singapore and Israel note that while their cost of shipping is not exceptionally high, home package delivery is not yet entirely commonplace in their countries.
One thing most survey respondents agreed upon is that buyers often do not realize their orders are coming from another country. As a result of this misunderstanding, many buyers often “convo” sellers outside their home countries to ask why shipment is taking so long. In speaking with a few non-U.S. sellers about the possibility of somehow identifying a seller as international (based on the location of the buyer), there were equal arguments for and against this idea. As it stands now, most sellers find that a “convo” or two is enough to properly set delivery expectations. Some survey respondents also mentioned that they make a note of their location in the “message to buyers” email that buyers receive after making a purchase—great idea!
International Seller Marketing Approaches
The questions around marketing elicited some interesting information. When asked how they had heard about Etsy for the first time, non-U.S. sellers said “word of mouth” most often (36%), with online avenues such as blogs or other websites making up the vast majority of the balance of answers.
The majority of international sellers also responded that their Etsy shop is their primary sales channel. Craft or art fairs and their own websites follow in relatively distant second and third places.
In terms of promoting Etsy shops, many respondents indicated that social networking tools are becoming nearly as popular as their own blogs. Multiple answers were allowed to this question, and Facebook, along with the seller’s own blog, are the dominant online promotion tools. Twitter is also quite popular.
Regional social networking sites like Mixi, hi5 and StudioVZ did not rank particularly high overall. Of the 1,335 non-U.S. sellers who answered this question, 204 (15%) said they do not use any social networking sites to promote their Etsy shops. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of these respondents came from places (e.g., Israel) where offline sales accounted for a higher percentage of overall sales as compared to the international seller average. Be sure to check out the Resources area for tools you can use to help promote your Etsy shop!
Over 1,000 respondents chose to answer the question: If you could ask Etsy to do one thing for international buyers, what would it be? We received lots of useful comments and ideas, including several we’ve already touched upon like currency conversion and language translation. We also heard a more general plea for continued attention to issues unique to non-U.S. sellers. Our hope is that this survey is a step in that direction and we look forward to many more conversations with Etsians from around the world!
We also wanted to let you know that we want to make good on a couple of the more common requests, including an effort to add “Europe” as a shipping option. We will definitely keep you posted!
We are adding several countries and territories to the shipping options (e.g., Kosovo, Dominica, Aruba) and made a few corrections and clarifications in the shipping profile area. I’m sure these findings are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the learning we can glean from our sellers around the world, and again we really appreciate all of the international respondents taking the time to share your experience and ideas.
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