Below are some headline statistics about the UK's crafts sector. You can find a list of research publications from the Crafts Council on its website here.



Estimated total number of craft jobs in the UK creative industries: 7,000. (i)

Estimated total number of craft jobs outside of the creative industries: 88,000. (ii)

Estimated total number of craft jobs in UK creative industries in 2017: 10,000(iii)

Sources: (i) Creative Industries Economic Estimates, November 2017; (ii) Creative Industries Economic Estimates, January 2015; (iii) DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates, July 2018, DCMS. Note: DCMS no longer publishes a figure for number of UK crafts jobs outside the creative industries. Research published in 2015 by the Crafts Council (see below) provides quite different estimates  It estimates that the total craft employment footprint in the UK was 182,860 employees.


measuring the craft economy

In March 2015, The Crafts Council published 'Measuring the Craft Economy',a report which collated statistics from several sources to produce a fuller picture of the economic impact of the UK craft that appears in the official data published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

This report included the following statistics for the 2012/13 period:

  • There are an estimated 11,620 businesses involved in the craft industries, over 50% of which are unregistered micro businesses operating below the threshold at which they would need to charge Value Added Tax (VAT). Craft businesses generate nearly £1.9bn a year in turnover.
  • There are 43,250 people employed in craft industries in the UK, with an estimated additional 9,630 employed in craft occupations outside the creative industries, and 96,360 individuals employed in craft occupations in non-creative industries.
  • Using data from the Annual Population Survey and Annual Business Survey, the 'Measuring the Craft Economy' report estimates that businesses involved in the craft industries contribute £746m in GVA to the UK economy, with an additional £243m of GVA generated by craft occupations in other creative industries and £2.41bn of GVA generated by craft occupations in non-creative industries. This makes an estimated total GVA for the craft economy of £3.398bn.

 Source: Measuring the Craft Economy, Crafts Council, March 2015.



  • According to DCMS data, the total value of crafts exports from the UK was £4,605m in 2016, an increase of 24.5 per cent between 2010 and 2016. Crafts accounts for 1.5 per cent of the total value of goods exports, the highest level of contribution of any creative industry category to UK exports.
  • Key European exports markets for UK crafts practitioners include France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Ireland, and globally, the Gulf markets and the USA are also considered important.
  • The Crafts Council surveyed makers on their export activity and published the results in 'Supporting Makers' Needs: Survey Findings 2018'  in October 2018.  The research found that 32 per cent of respondents sales are from international work, up from 25 per cent in the previous survey. Those exporting tend to have been in business for longer, with 44 per cent of established makers selling overseas, compared to only 5 per cent of start-up makers.
  • The biggest perceived barriers to exporting internationally are logistics and shipping, closely followed by lack of networks and contacts and/or knowledge and experience. The study found that the perception of respondents identifying marketing as a barrier fell from 40 per cent to 26 per cent, and there was also a reduction in the perception of paperwork as a barrier from 26 per cent to 13 per cent, compared to a previous survey by the Crafts Council.

Source: Supporting Makers' Needs: Survey Findings 2018, Crafts Council (2018)


People working in Craft - characteristics

  • About four fifths of those working in craft are male, and 40 per cent are over 50. Craft participants are more liely to be female if they are self-employed, part-time
  • Those in craft occupations are more likely to have a completed an apprenticeship than the national population (13 per cent v four per cent of the overall workforce)
  • They are more likely to work full-time, be self-employed and earn less than the national wage, compared to the total UK workforce

UK contemporary craft 

  • Estimated number of contemporary craft-making businesses in the UK: 23,050
  • Estimated total income for all contemporary craft-making businesses: £457m.
  • Gross Value Added (GVA): £288m (2014)* (Note: this figure is calculated by the ONS on a single SIC O7 code and should be treated with caution.)
  • 88% of craft businesses are sole traders.
  • The average length of time a business has been trading: 16 years
  • Over 60% of makers have a first or second degree in craft, art or design.
  • 57% of makers are using digital technology in some form in their practice or production.
  • 31% of makers have changed their practice in the last three years in response to environmental concerns.
  • UK makers are increasingly working within a mixed economy, supplying other businesses whilst marketing their own products and services, and raising funding and other finance where possible for research and development.

 Source: Craft in an Age of Change, Crafts Council, (2012).


Rural contribution of uk CRAFT

  • It is estimated that craft practitioners contribute £500m to the UK rural economy.
  • Taking into account the numerous other arts festivals, new rural media initiatives,contemporary rural crafts, rural design and architecture and other cultural activities taking place in the countryside, it is possible to conclude that the rural sector is now contributing far in excess of the estimated £500 million p.a. to the national creative economy. This includes the contributions from all the professional urban artists, designers, musicians, film makers and other creatives known to be active in rural areas and, the equally significant contributions being made to the creative economy by rural tourism, rural heritage, rural foods (culinary arts) and beverage outlets, and other countryside recreational arts and sporting activities.
  • This contribution has been achieved without any of the strategic art and cultural investment or infrastructure provided by the previous Government for urban communities, urban creatives and in support of urban regeneration.

 Source: Creative Rural Communities, (2011)