Untapped Market?

Today’s post is a reprint from a forum post by Lesley of ButterflyGardenCreations. Thank you for allowing me to reprint it here, Lesley, and thank you for sharing your market research with the team!

bgardenHi everyone- now that the holidays are over and things have slowed down a tiny bit, I am trying to be more active in this team. I’ve created a couple of team treasuries, the most recent of which is this one:

Masculine Valentine Gifts from Teamhandmade

This was a challenging treasury to make! I wanted to make a collection of masculine items in a red-brown color palette that would represent our team well, but searching for qualifying items was tedious, due to the lack of relevant tags. Here is the process I used for searching and search terms included:

1. teamhandmade masculine valentine. Sadly the only items that showed up for this string of terms were my cards. Some of you are missing the boat here!

2. teamhandmade men valentine. Only 13 items come up with these terms, 7 of which are my cards. Again, lost opportunities for many team members!

3. teamhandmade men red. Better- 41 items, but I have to think that with nearly 1,000 members now, there HAVE to be more than 41 red products that would appeal to men!

4. teamhandmade men brown. Only 30 items- not even a full page of items. Oh, come on!!

5. teamhandmade red: Over 1,000 results- great! But I bet there are a LOT more that are not showing up here.

6. teamhandmade brown: Over 600 results- also pretty good, but again, why not more?

7. teamhandmade valentine red: only 85 results. Really?! That’s IT??

8. teamhandmade valentine: 363 items. Ok, but could be WAY better.

9. teamhandmade masculine: only 21 results. 6 were mine.

10. teamhandmade men: 331 items. Good, but I know there has to be more.

So, here are my thoughts, based on my recent experience:

– team tagging (using the teamhandmade tag) is important
– Color tagging is important
– occasion tagging is important
– gender tagging, if applicable, is important
– Let me repeat that last one. GENDER TAGGING, IF APPLICABLE, IS IMPORTANT
– Using the above tags in combination is important

Here is some perspective. When I search for teamhandmade men, I get 331 items. teamhandmade women gets over 900. teamhandmade children- over 600. teamhandmade by itself gets over 10,000. So….what gives?

Are we not listing much for men?
Or are we just not tagging appropriately for men?

I can believe that there are more items marketed toward women than men. My guess (not researched and substantiated) is that there are more female sellers than male here. Lots of us women like to make stuff that we like or that our kids like, and a lot of that stuff appeals to women, but not so much to men. My hunch is that there is not as much on Etsy that is geared toward men, and even less that is tagged for them. And that is not only sad, but a huge missed opportunity on the part of many sellers!

More perspective- right now for sale on Etsy:

masculine valentine cards: 120
valentine cards for men: 659
valentine cards: 32,274

I used cards as my example, because I sell them, and already know that this is a huge untapped market. Think about this: Etsy has lots of female buyers. My hunch (again, unsubstantiated, just intuitive) is that there are more female buyers than male. In general, are women going to be buying Valentine items for themselves or other women? Except for a specific demographic of women, the majority of women shopping for Valentine items will be buying them for MEN.

So whywhywhywhy are not more sellers 1) selling items for men, and 2) tagging for them?

This is really worth giving some thought, and not just for Valentine’s day either. I think this issue comes more to light around Valentine’s day, but can really apply to any occasion or time of year. Men are undermarketed-to here on Etsy.

My unsolicited advice, based upon my own experiences: take a look at your shop. Do you have items to offer to men? If not, why not? If so, are you tagging properly so that buyers who are shopping for them can find them?

One more set of search stats:
valentine men: 8,102
valentine: 273,449

Enough said?

(Answering my own question- probably more than enough. Sorry for the long ramble!)



3 thoughts on “Untapped Market?

  1. I think this is an interesting topic but perhaps not as simple as you might think.

    For instance, I have a high ratio of male buyers, as well as a high number of women purchasing for men. Probably more than the average Etsy seller because of the type of item I sell. However, my items are extremely non-gender specific–meaning they work for both men and women. I have very, very few items that appeal to one specific gender so the majority of my listings don’t have any gender or age designation on them.

    I think my biggest concern with being too gender specific is that I don’t want to lose the other half of the equation for my market by focusing on one gender. I would never use the gender attributes in my listings, except for the one or two items that are actually gender or age specific.

    Valentine–while it would be wonderful to tag all sorts of thing for Valentine’s Day, I think I’ve only got one item that literally qualifies for a Valentine tag. Beyond that, you’re not supposed to tag items with holidays unless they specifically pertain to that holiday which means that just because I have a red item, doesn’t mean I can tag it Valentine. Plus, I don’t really want to limit my item to one holiday so I tend to avoid using that attribute and tag unless I literally have something that can’t qualify for anything else.

    I have tried to take advantage of holiday tags before by using a loose definition of Etsy’s rules about holiday/occasion tags and found that it didn’t really garner me any additional views or sales. I think it’s more important to tag your items with what they actually are than to try and cash in on a holiday or occasion that might or might not fit. Of course cards, gift wrap, holiday decorations, etc., DO qualify for the use of a holiday tag but, as I mentioned, most of my items don’t really fit. And this wasn’t meant as an argument against your article, more in addition to so people don’t think that they could or should tag everything they can with the upcoming holiday to try and get more views. Views don’t mean anything if someone isn’t seeing something they were looking for to begin with.

    Colors–I’ve debated this one pretty much every time I list. I do mostly custom work and though the sample item in the first picture might be a particular color, I can literally do just about any color someone wants so tagging an item for a particular color gets me concerned that someone will think the item only comes in that color, which isn’t accurate.

    With all that said, I think it’s a good wake up call for me in light of the gender and color aspects. I can include the men/man tag on some of my items so that they’ll pull up in a search for men’s items (again, I won’t use the attributes because I don’t want to limit my audience). And I can probably include some color tags on many of my items because most buyers don’t read tags and I suspect they aren’t going to be upset if I ask them what color they want even though they searched for “red” in particular.

    This is a really good topic to think through. I suspect many of us did an SEO shop revision shortly after the switch from recency to relevancy on Etsy and then pretty much ignored things. I’ve done a sweep through my shop twice since then in light of tagging and SEO and made some changes each time but do tend to then let things run their course and tend to forget to check things regularly. I do try to check the tags every time I renew something but sometimes I just get lazy about it or feel to stressed for time to do it.

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I definitely have thought a lot about making more masculine items and plan on adding them to my shop as I can. It’s interesting to hear about your experience with searching for manly things.

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