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Quilting in America™ 2010 Survey Shows Industry Worth $3.6 Billion Annually

Quilting enthusiasts spend almost $3.6 billion annually on their passion, proof that the vibrant art of quilting is both alive and thriving in the United States, even in the face of recent economic challenges all across the country. According to the just-released Quilting in America™ 2010 survey, enthusiasts’ spending has increased by 9% since the release of the last survey results in 2006.

“I’ll admit, I was concerned that the news might not look good given the economic realities,” said Karey Bresenhan, president of Quilts, Inc., which produces the consumer show International Quilt Festival and trade show International Quilt Market. The company, along with the consumer magazine Quilters Newsletter, published by enthusiast media company Creative Crafts Group, sponsored the independent survey. “But as a fifth generation quilter myself, I should have known better. Nothing keeps quilters from enjoying something that allows them to explore both their talents and their creativity.”

The survey results showed that numbers were up from 2006 in several other categories as well. The number of U.S. households with a “Dedicated Quilter” (one who spends more than $600 annually on quilting supplies) is a little over one million (up 13%), and the average yearly expenditure is $2442 (up 10%).

“The Dedicated Quilters have continued to spend and will keep on spending if we inspire them. They know what they like, and they like quilting!” Bresenhan added. “They’ll maintain that dedication to quilts as long as we make it fun and challenging and the industry suppliers continue to produce the new fabrics, magazines, books and innovations that interest them.”

The survey also reflected that the total number of quilting households in the U.S. is 16.38 million -- a 14% decline from 2006 -- almost all of which is attributed to casual quilters whose interests encompass other crafts. While the Dedicated Quilter has continued to spend, the past three years of economic uncertainty have meant that the casual quilter has been less able or less willing to commit funds to a hobby. However, the average yearly expenditure among all quilting households is up a healthy 27%.

“Although the total number of people quilting in the U.S. has contracted, I think that the rest of the results are a positive sign given overall economic conditions,” noted Tina Battock, vice president, Group Publisher of Creative Crafts Group. “And the decline among casual quilters is a reminder to all committed to the long-term welfare of the quilting industry that we need to cast a broader net when looking for new consumers. Still, the core group of quilting enthusiasts retains its relative affluence and ability to direct discretionary spending toward its interests.”

Quilting in America™ 2010 is the sixth in a series of studies done since 1994 with the intent of measuring the amount of time and money quilters spend on their hobby and profiling the key segments of the market.

The study is conducted in two phases. Phase I, administered by TNS Global, Inc., surveys 20,000 U.S. households to measure the incidence of participation and the dollar value of the quilting industry. This phase reported a 63% response in 2010.

Phase II, conducted by DP Research Solutions, surveys in-depth, 2,500 qualified “Dedicated Quilters” to learn more about them, their quilting habits, and buying behaviors. This phase reported a 60% response in 2010.

The Dedicated Quilter portion also measures what techniques of quilting they enjoy, what quilting-related products and supplies they own, book/magazine/Internet surfing preferences, and their skill levels.

For complete details on the Quilting in America survey, e-mail Quilts, Inc. at pubs@quilts.com or call 713-781-6864, extension 116.

Reprinted from SQE Professional, July 2010