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Podcast Transcript: Your 2021 Trends Questions, Answered

From checkerboard print to Zoom-leisure looks, our trend expert responds to your questions about what’s on the rise this year.

By Etsy Staff Feb 10, 2021
Dayna Isom Johnson

The following is a transcript of a podcast episode released in February 2021. The transcript has been edited slightly for this format. You can listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Jed: In this episode, we’re going to be answering some questions from Etsy sellers about upcoming trends. But before we dive into the future, let’s talk a little bit about how we got here: Are there any trends from 2020 that you’re seeing carrying over into 2021?

Dayna: Yes, we’ve got some things that are sticking around. The first one is all about personalization. It’s one of the biggest reasons why people come to us, so our shoppers are still very much looking for personalization. Last year sparked a lot of creativity in people and we’ll still be spending a lot of time at home, so those DIY kits that were very popular last year will continue in popularity this year. So baking kits, paint by numbers, anything that’s going to allow shoppers to be a little more creative at home.

And then it’s still all about the home. Home everything. Shoppers are wanting to add—what I'm calling “the two Bs”—balance and boundaries to their home this year. So room dividers, Murphy beds, fold-down desks, and we can get into that more a little later.

Jed: Moving on to 2021, what are some overarching themes that we can expect to see in the coming year?

Dayna: One very exciting piece of news for 2021 is the announcement of our Color of the Year, which is sky blue. It’s giving a nod for everyone to have brighter days ahead, to really look up to the sky and feel better and feel a little bit more positive. It’s also connected to another key theme. Have you heard of hygge and maximalism and wabi-sabi?

Jed: Oh, yeah.

Dayna: Right, all these concepts that have been trending in the past. Well, 2021 is all about a Nordic concept and it’s called "friluftsliv". This concept directly translates to "open-air living," so it’s about making the most of being outdoors. The other thing to build off of that is that shoppers are wanting to continue to stay connected, so they’re thinking of ways to creatively connect with their loved ones, with nature, and with themselves. People are really craving and wanting these connections coming off the heels of 2020, in a safe way, of course.

And then reimagined spaces, which I touched on earlier, but really bringing in those two Bs again: balance and boundaries. Room dividers, fold-down desks, anything that brings a little bit more balance into the home.

Next up is style 2.0. This is above-the-keyboard dressing. Comfort isn’t going anywhere but people are really focusing on how to add small pieces of impact to their home looks. And then last year, there was a huge pet boom. So for 2021, shoppers are going to want to cement their fur baby’s place in the family and find some really great pieces for them.

I also want to mention a key trend for kids: outer space. The kids have been through a lot lately, from virtual classrooms to limited playdates. I like this trend because it allows them to escape the craziness of the world, expand their imaginations, and also learn about the solar system.

Next is wellness. Everyone needs a little extra wellness these days and so shoppers are already showing that they’re going to be looking for more natural beauty items, gratitude journals, meditation cushions, yoga mats, all the relaxation goodies.

Another major trend is sustainability. It’s going to continue to be important in 2021 so I really want our sellers to think about how they can incorporate recycled materials, or coming up with a new take on something using natural fibers. Anything that can just be a little bit more earth-friendly because I’ve read so many pieces about this and shoppers are just really looking more than ever to be more intentional with their purchases and make conscious decisions, so it’s something that I’d love for our community to think about.

Jed: Mother’s Day is coming up next month in the UK, and in May in the US. Are there any trends around that that we should know about?

Dayna: The key thing that I want people to think about is togetherness, so whether near or far for Mother’s Day, shoppers really want to find that special piece. The items that have really been spiking are baking kits, cocktail kits, and crafting kits. The reason is because you can do them together to celebrate Mother’s Day in person, or you can do it virtually and still feel like you’re doing something in the same space.

Jed: Oh, so sending kits to both places and then you can do them together while being apart? That’s great.

Dayna: Exactly. The next thing is all about self-care treats. Every mom loves pampering, especially during these stressful times, so this is a year that shoppers are going to be looking for bath and beauty items, specialty teas, candles, anything that’s going to make the celebration of Mother’s Day feel special and relaxing.

Another thing that has started to see some traction that I just purchased for myself are tea bombs. Have you heard of tea bombs?

Jed: Tea bombs? I haven’t but I’ve heard of bath bombs.

Dayna: OK, keep that mental picture in your head because they look very similar. Or have you seen hot chocolate bombs?

Jed: I have! Yes, I’ve seen videos.

Dayna: Yes, so over the holiday season there was a lot of interest in hot chocolate bombs. Shoppers were coming to us and they were loving it. It’s fun for kids and for adults. But now I’ve started seeing a few sellers create these beautiful tea bombs. It’s like an explosion of these beautiful tea leaves and sometimes some botanicals that just explode in the water. I can’t wait to see it for myself. Like I said, we just started seeing these spike, so that’s something to consider and I think it’s a really good option for Mother’s Day. Be on the lookout for this because it’s something that’s starting to gain some traction.

Distance gifting is something that I really want our community to think about, especially during these times right now where we can’t always be around the people that we want to be, especially for Mother’s Day. Shoppers are coming to us for those customized pieces like initial necklaces that continue to be top performers, alongside newcomers like pocket hugs.

Pocket hugs are small trinkets that can fit in a pocket or a purse or wherever that person wants to put it. It might be made of wood, metal, or acrylic, and it just says sweet phrases like “pocket hug” or “I love you always.” It’s one of those things that a person can receive and just really feel the love, even from afar. Again, this is a new thing that’s just started popping up that we’ve seen within our community. I'm guessing that some of our sellers are going to jump on this because it’s a great gift, especially when considering those distance gifts to make people feel special.

Jed: So it’s a little trinket that you can keep in your pocket that you can touch and it’s a reminder of the person who sent it to you? That’s wonderful.

Dayna: Exactly. So the final thing for Mother’s Day that I want our sellers to think about is about being inclusive, and having Mother’s Day being an inclusive celebration for any maternal figure in your life. Someone who has made an impression on your life, whether that’s an aunt, a friend, a grandmother, a cousin, whoever that person is who made a mark on your life. Let’s make sure that they get a chance to be celebrated as well. I know that shoppers are going to be looking for that, so something for our sellers to keep in mind.

Jed: OK, let’s get to the questions from sellers. First up, we’ve got Mixie and Moxie and they want to know about trends in vintage home decor and vintage clothing.

Dayna: Vintage sellers, I think a huge opportunity for you this year rolls into that overarching trend of reimagined spaces that I was talking about. Right now, shoppers are looking for those two Bs, balance and boundaries. Last year, everyone was thrown into working from home or learning at home, so 2021 is about how people can make their spaces functional and really work in their flow.

So for our vintage sellers, the ‘70s continues to be a big influence. So those rattan room dividers, that wicker style. Anything that’s bringing that balance and those boundaries within the vintage category is a great opportunity here.

Now, I'm going to share some stats because that’s how I get all of the information that I receive. It’s all based on what our shoppers are engaging with, so all the stats that I'm going to share today are from the last three months compared to the same time the previous year. So anytime you hear me say a number, it’s all going to go back to that.

We saw a 134% increase in searches for room dividers in these last three months, so this shows that shoppers are wanting to create these functional spaces in their homes. I want vintage sellers to think about that.

As we continue to work remotely, above-the-keyboard fashion is going to be here and it’s still a thing. For our vintage sellers, jewelry and accessories are key. Statement earrings, statement brooches, removable collars, eyeglass chains. These are all great opportunities because people at home are wanting to have high-impact visuals that don’t require them to leave the home. Comfort is still key, and people are still going to be in sweatpants on the bottom. But they may have on a collared shirt, or even just a t-shirt but they want to adorn it with something really beautiful.

Even things like headbands, because they’re simple. They’re simple additions that make people feel so much better about how they’re presenting themselves. Because we’re still at work and we’re still at school. It’s just through a screen and we still want to feel good. Our shoppers are increasingly going to be opting for apparel with eye-catching detail, so frills, collars, and voluminous sleeves. Past decades—like the ‘80s for the voluminous sleeves—are opportunities for our vintage sellers to really capitalize on this above-the-keyboard dressing.

Jed: Breezy Tee asks, “I know animal print is on the list this year but are there any other prints we should be looking out for?”

Dayna: First of all, hi, Breezy Tee! I’m such a big fan. Breezy Tee makes incredible hats. I purchased one for my sister that’s satin-lined that keeps your hair nice and soft. I just want to give her a quick-shout out.

But in terms of prints, I think we’ve got one star print that is really going to break the waves this year and it’s checkerboard. Checkerboard is making waves because that print has appeared in a popular TV series that highlights playing chess. This is one of those examples of how pop culture can really influence a lot of categories. In terms of numbers, we’ve already seen a 63% increase in searches on Etsy for these checkerboard items.

Jed: Graciosa asks another print-related question: “Regarding prints, are people still looking for tie-dye?”

Dayna: As we all know, tie-dye was one of the biggest trends of 2020. What’s interesting is that I haven’t seen the popularity slowing, but I'm not sure how long this is going to last because it’s been here for so long. What I will say is that when we look at the data it is still very, very strong. There has been a 284% increase in searches for tie-dye items so the people still love it. They still want it right now. They’re still searching for it. Again, I'm not sure how long we can expect to see this because it’s been around for a couple of years now. But it’s making people happy, these bright colors and prints, so we’ll see how long it lasts.

Jed: All right, this one is from Art on a Journey: “Since Etsy’s color of 2021 is sky blue and Pantone just announced that their color of 2021 is a combo of ultimate grey and illuminating, do you envision these colors mixing and matching?”

Dayna: The interesting thing about this is that I always love seeing all the different companies that announce their colors of the year because many times all of our colors are very similar. Other times they align nicely and maybe sometimes they don’t, but in this instance I think what’s great about these colors is that the majority of them are rooted in nature as the influence or just hues that are mood-enhancing. Cheerful, optimistic.

Jed: I know what sky blue is and I can guess what ultimate grey is, but what is illuminating?

Dayna: Illuminating is like a soft yellow.

Jed: Oh, I love it!

Dayna: Yeah, it’s a color that’s cheerful, that is mood-enhancing. That’s one of the reasons I really love that we selected sky blue, because it aligns with that mood enhancement and looking up to brighter days and looks to nature for the reference. And I do think that these colors are easy to pair. Like sky blue would look really beautiful with Pantone’s ultimate grey and maybe in some instances, if you like having a pastel party, you could do the illuminating alongside sky blue. It’s really a personal preference. But I think all in all, we just want to be a little bit more cheerful for 2021.

Jed: Jill Makes asks, “Any new trends you’re seeing in personalized jewelry, especially concerning Mother’s Day?”

Dayna: Hey, Jill! First of all, I love Jill. We’ve talked so many times. I'm a big fan of her stuff as well. Like I said before, shoppers are looking for these items that are long-lasting, that are almost like heirloom pieces because, again, you’re not seeing all your loved ones in person right now. As so many people are going to be sending out these Mother’s Day gifts, especially for these people not spending time in person, it’s so important that they stand out.

One style that I called out last year that had started gaining some traction but is now gaining steam like nobody’s business, is birth flower jewelry. It’s so beautiful. Some sellers are doing it with dried flowers, others might be manipulating metal or any other type of material into the flower shape.

Jed: I love this idea. It’s personalized and it’s also got that connection to nature.

Dayna: Yes, and just has a creative touch that stretches beyond other personalized items. And get ready for this number: On Etsy we’ve seen a 452% increase in searches for birth flower jewelry. This is clear evidence that shows shoppers are really into this. It’s a new and creative way for our sellers to incorporate another layer of personalized jewelry to their collections.

Jed: Whispere Dreams says, “I’d love to hear more detailed insights on jewelry.”

Dayna: So we tagged a new phrase at Etsy: “Zoom-leisure” looks. This is another way of talking about that above-the-keyboard dressing I mentioned earlier. Zoom-leisure refers to people putting comfort front and center of what they are looking like when they show up to their virtual school or their virtual office.

These Zoom-leisure looks are being paired with statement earrings, statement necklaces, headbands, detachable collars. And then they’re choosing these luxurious fabrics like cashmere. Again, comfort is still front and center but you can elevate it a bit with these statement pieces of jewelry. So I want to share some specific searches for items, particularly jewelry.

All in all, searches for earrings are up 43%, so that’s already showing people are interested in earrings generally. And then when you break that down, hoop earrings are up 34%. I love a hoop earring, they are one of my favorites. They’re classic and can just brighten any t-shirt up.

Jed: You’re wearing hoop earrings right now!

Dayna: I am! Made by one of my favorite Etsy sellers, Lingua Nigra. Hey, Alicia, if you're out there! OK and then one style of earrings that I really love are polymer clay earrings. They’re gaining more and more steam. We’ve seen searches increase 122% on Etsy, so shoppers are loving this style. And the reason is because there are so many different ways that these can be translated into different shapes, colors, and prints. It’s really allowing shoppers to find the right pair that aligns with their personal style.

And going back to headbands, these are a great option for our accessory sellers. We’ve seen a 36% increase in searches for headbands, especially pearl-adorned headpieces, but we can get into that later.

And then the last one, which is super important, are eyeglass chains. We’ve seen a 203% increase in searches for eyeglass chains and here is why: These eyeglass chains can be used in multiple ways. The first way is just like how you think, for your eyeglasses. You’ll never lose your glasses because they’re always around your neck, right? The second way that these are being used are for our face masks. I have a few myself and I love them. They’re great because, let’s say you go to a restaurant and you’re seated outside and you have to take your mask off. These eyeglass chains are such a stylish way for you to just let them dangle around your neck, and then when it’s time to go you pop it right back on your face.

Jed: The Urban Hedgehog wants to hear about nursery decor trends: “What kinds of motifs are trending? Any predictions for 2021?”

Dayna: Yes, so space themes are really the emerging trend for 2021 in kids. And like I said before, kids have been through a lot so this is really a chance for them to use their imagination and escape a bit. When I look at specific items with this space theme, there was a 163% increase in searches for space-themed wallpaper and an 89% increase in searches for space-themed kids or baby items. So this is a great theme to lean into for nursery decor and for kids as well.

Jed: This next question is from Colorado Catnip Toys and they say, “I make blankets for cats and small dogs. Are there any special themes or colors that are popular this year? Also, do pet owners choose their pet’s furniture and bedding to match their home decor or do they buy things on a whim?”

Dayna: Like I said before, in 2020 we saw one of the biggest pet adoption booms in a long time. For 2021, it’s all about those new pet parents making investments for their fur babies. They’re finding those special pieces that fit in with their home decor so that it doesn’t feel like it’s sitting outside of their personal preference. I think it’s great for any pet seller to amp up anything personalized, so for example, personalized collars or personalized beds. This year, I started talking about matching sweaters and bowties, or sweater and sweater sets with the pet and pet parents.

Jed: Zip Therapy asks, “What trends are there for lingerie, apart from loungewear?”

Dayna: Lingerie is such a big category right now. I was talking about how a recent television series influenced the checkerboard trend, and that is the same situation with this. There is a certain royal television series that's making an impact on current trends and it’s actually taken on a whole new name. The trends that are inspired by this show are called “regency core.” This thought is about taking on aesthetics from royal themes, so lots of lace and corsets and pearl-adorned items. We were talking about headbands earlier, so pearl-adorned headbands.

But back to Zip Therapy's question. For lingerie, corsets have seen an incredible interest. When we look at the data, there has been a 91% increase in searches for corsets. And again, that’s all going back to that regency core theme. There’s also been a 50% increase in searches for lingerie in general.

Now here’s the biggest one of them all and I hope this helps Zip Therapy, as well as others who are in the lingerie or accessories business, as well: There has been a 744% increase in searches for lace gloves. I think this regency core trend is allowing people to escape the craziness of the world right now, invite a little bit of royalty and fun, and just a feeling of being fancy, even if it is just in your home.

Jed: Last question for the day: Sam Artisan wants to know about art trends.

Dayna: Art has been such a popular category for the last eight months or so because shoppers are wanting to refresh their homes with new wall hangings and original art pieces. When I look at some research outside of Etsy and into the outside world and the larger market, it looks like fiber art is still really going strong, face line art, and then printables.

We’ve seen a 78% increase in searches for digital downloads, so this is showing that people are interested in this. Printables are so great because it allows shoppers to quickly switch out prints, especially in this world of Zoom backgrounds for kids and for adults. We all want to make sure that we are framing ourselves with these beautiful backgrounds, and these printables make it very easy for people to print them out at home and not spend a ton of money.

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