Future Thinking

This morning, I was listening to some episodes of Quilty Biz Chat by Cheryl Sloboda (I recommend you support her over at Patreon if you run a quilt biz).

The episodes talked about recent changes in the quilting industry. There has been a steady decline in the global birthrate since 1950, and it is expected to continue to decline:

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53409521

What does this mean for the quilting industry? According to a 2020 survey by Premier Needle Arts, “The average quilter is a retired woman in her 60’s” (https://craftindustryalliance.org/quilting-trends-survey-results-2020). Quilters are primarily Baby Boomers. Although younger (primarily) women do quilt, they tend to have different purchasing habits than we’ve been used to seeing in the industry. Baby Boomers often have steady and high retirement income, whereas Gen X has less retirement savings, and Millennials have even less (https://medium.datadriveninvestor.com/how-much-each-generation-has-saved-for-retirement-f211edde7442).

Although quilting was historically a way to “make do,” with quilts being made out of family clothing that was so worn out that it could no longer be worn, that is not the case with modern quilting. Quilters often buy multiple sewing machines (many at a price of more than $10,000 USD), new fabric that costs $12-$15 USD/yard, and a vast amount of notions. The Baby Boomers who are the typical quilter now can afford this sometimes expensive hobby. It’s less clear whether younger quilters will be able to.

The information has given me some things to think about as I plan the future of my business. What do you think? Will quilting change in the next decade or so?

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