For Pandemic-Weary Shoppers, Etsy Is 'A Dream Come True'

While COVID-19 has propelled ecommerce sales on virtually every platform, just-released results from Etsy  demonstrate how powerful the e-tail brand has become.

Wall Street analysts are crowing about its performance. The Brooklyn-based Etsy says gross market sales climbed 147% to $2.7 billion in the second quarter, while revenues gained 137% to $429 million.

Much of that can be chalked up to the frenzy of mask buying: The company added 12 million buyers in the quarter. (For perspective, it added 19 million in all of 2019.)

The number of new sellers on the crafty site rose 100%, driving 23% of mask sales. It sold some 29 million masks, and "face masks" was the top search item.



But the real story lies in its rising repeat purchase rate, with 45% of customers coming back for an additional purchase.

It says non-mask sales gained 93%, thanks to pandemic-inspired nesting and crafting trends.

For the quarter ahead, it is projecting a sales increase of between 80% and 110%, with revenue expected to climb between 85% and 110%

In a note titled "Dream Come True," Deutsche Bank analyst Kunal Madhukar says Etsy has increased its potential audience, "now that it caters to ‘everyday’ needs rather than just being a marketplace for unique and special products. It can be viewed as a credible alternative to other ecommerce platforms."

And while Madhukar concedes that much of the world may not be in the market for, let's say, a meticulously handcrafted desk, "however, what the lockdowns have done is expanded the awareness of Etsy and its diverse selection of products, which has materially improved its chances. We also think management has done a tremendous job capitalizing on the urgent need for masks to showcase its full array of products to a wider set of consumers."

The company appears to be in good position to hang on to that new and expanded audience.

"We see buyer growth as the key for Etsy to turn the current windfall into longer-term sustainable growth, and we point to the eye-popping 12 million new buyers … as an encouraging sign that Etsy is on the right track," writes Ygal Arounian, an analyst who follows the company for Wedbush Securities. "So far, the new cohorts are also performing better than usual, with frequency and retention remaining high."

The fact that these new customers are making an average of four or more purchases in two or more categories is "a strong indicator that said buyer will remain a long-term customer."

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