The most searched term on the Etsy e-commerce site this year is “personalized gifts,” CEO Josh Silverman told CNBC on Monday.
It’s even more popular than requests for masks, a category virtually nonexistent on Etsy this year before the coronavirus pandemic sparked a sales boom, Silverman said in a “Closing Bell” interview. Etsy sold over $ 600 million face masks in the second and third quarters alone.
Even so, interest in personalized gifts in the independent seller market in 2020 replaced all else as the global health crisis shifted birthday celebrations to zoom and turned traditional holiday gatherings on their head. The pandemic-induced interest in meaningful gifts is also evident elsewhere, for example on Pinterest.
“Large [online retailers] like Amazon are great for buying things that are very cheap and arrive very quickly, and you use them and forget about them two seconds later and then they’re in a landfill, “said Silverman.” I think there is always a need for things that will be cheap and will arrive quickly, but I think more and more that people want an alternative to it if they want this product to mean something to them when they want it feels special, and these opportunities happen all of time. “
Etsy generally had a big year that was part of a wider spike in ecommerce spending as people stayed home during the Covid-19 crisis. Etsy gross merchandise sales increased 101% for the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2019. On Monday, the stock made another all-time high, hitting $ 164.64 apiece during the session. Shares are up around 260% since the start of the year.
Questions have been raised about the sustainability of Etsy’s growing popularity, but Silverman expressed confidence that buyers who discovered the company during the pandemic will stay. He noted the strength of selling items like jewelry and home furnishings “and of course things like personalized gifts for the holidays”.
“These are things you will need every year in a pandemic, not a pandemic, and I think people are discovering that there is only one better way to shop,” said Silverman, former eBay general manager and CEO of Skype. “When you connect with the person who made the product and have it shipped to you only, you can shop better.”