More than a third of consumers say handmade, artisan products are the ‘must have’ gift this Christmas, yet a new study from Mercedes-Benz Vans reveals 49% have seen local crafts become extinct.
The recent surge in interest in age-old crafts and skills – from pottery and artisan baking to sewing, stone-masonry and upholstery – is something we now see played out on primetime TV – and 44% of us say they see a ‘handmade revival’ taking place.
But despite all of this, individual craftspeople and their businesses can sometimes struggle to compete with the bigger companies, especially in the digital age where fast-track delivery and lightning speed responsiveness can win out against the pull of lovingly hand-crafted one-offs.
In fact, one in five craftspeople are feeling pessimistic about their future survival according to the study conducted with not only consumers, but also skilled craftspeople who run their own business.
It found that two of the biggest business challenges they can face are ‘getting products to consumers’ and ‘speed/reliability of delivery’ – little wonder that one of their secret weapons comes on four wheels – two thirds say they couldn’t survive without a van
Encouragingly, the study is evidence of overwhelming support for local crafts and skills and the talented people keeping them alive even if most of us can’t tell our swillers from our mesters, or a trug maker from a cooper!
Nearly 90% (87%) of consumers feel it’s important to support local craftspeople, 39% say it is easier to get hold of their products than ever before and one in three say ‘handmade and artisan’ are the must-have gift ingredients this Christmas.
Steve Bridge, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “Craftspeople are for life and not just for Christmas! We are passionate about keeping businesses moving and are encouraged by the findings of our research study, but more needs to be done to support the lesser known local crafts around the UK.
“At Mercedes-Benz Vans, we have a long history of innovation and brining new ideas to market, so therefore we have a natural affinity with other businesses that look to do the same. This means small businesses form a major part of our customer base and we are proud to support these companies, offering insight and resources including free, downloadable industry reports and Driver Safety Guides that we want to share to benefit everyone, not just our customers.
“We’re a partner, supporting our customers with anything from finance to managing driver behaviour. Our whole business is geared around support – our Dealers are open late and in many cases 24 hours to be there for customers when they need us, for example.
“We are passionate about keeping businesses moving and with this research, we hope that it highlights how important these companies are, especially at this time of year.”
All the Industry Insight materials can be downloaded for free via www.mbvans.co.uk/industryinsight.