I did a secondary research few months ago on Handicraft Industry, and here, I’m sharing some general findings I found.
The following definition, adopted in 1997 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization/Information Technology Community (UNESCO/ITC) Symposium on Crafts and the International Market, is also helpful because of its breadth and depth in capturing the diversity and complexity of the handicraft sector:
“Artisanal products or handicrafts are those produced by artisans, completely by hand or with the help of hand-tools and even mechanical means, as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product. Their special nature derives from their distinctive features, which can be utilitarian, aesthetic, artistic, creative, culturally attached, decorative, functional, traditional, and religiously and socially symbolic and significant. They are made of sustainably produced raw materials and there is no particular restriction in terms of production quantity. Even when artisans make quantities of the same design, no two pieces are ever exactly alike.”
Handicraft production is a major form of employment in many developing countries and often a significant part of the export economy. Globalization combined with growing markets for home accessories—especially in the United States, Canada, and Europe—also creates many new opportunities. In particular, the demand for “cultural goods” is projected to grow with rising international tourism and an increasing focus on interior decoration, and as a reaction (notably in upscale markets) to the homogenization of mass-produced products. Consumers buy handicrafts because they like to feel connected with indigenous traditions and cultures in a global and increasingly commoditized world.
Global Market Assessment for Handicrafts specified that handicrafts are part of a much larger home accessory market, which includes handcrafted, semi handcrafted, and machine made goods. The global market for home accessories was estimated to be at least $100 billion in 2006 according to the study. The U.S. is the largest importer of the home accessories and was valued at $67 billion, the second largest market is the E.U. collectively followed by Japan and Hong Kong.
Another notable growth trend is seen in the popularity of garden/outdoor décor items. This category includes products from sculptures, planters, and outdoor furniture, and opens up new market opportunities for producers.
In addition to home accessories, the market for jewelry has been growing as a result of its expanding availability at all retail levels. Jewelry has become an affordable luxury for fashion, as well as a favorite gift item in all price ranges. In 2000, the U.S. consumer market for fine and costume jewelry rose 5 percent over 1999 levels to $39.8 billion; today, the United States is the largest market for jewelry in the world. It is followed by the EU, with total sales in 2003 estimated at $25 billion, an increase of 8 percent between 1999 and 2003. According to retailers, although ceramics and glass have historically been their number one selling category, it is now jewelry and other fashion accessories such as belts and handbags. Textile products, ceramics and pottery and mosaic products are the three main handicraft sub-sectors.
In conclusion, Handicraft Industry plays a big part in the global economy. This industry has created jobs for many lower and middle class families around the world, and it has introduced home country’s cultures globally. But, this industry has not yet reached its potential. There is a lot of opportunity for growth and development. Overall, I like this industry because of its vast culture, uniqueness, and no two pieces are alike.