Turnover in crafts and design sector down 16% last year

New report highlights the ‘considerable impact’ of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and daa unveiled a photographic exhibition Design Island in 2015. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and daa unveiled a photographic exhibition Design Island in 2015. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Turnover at companies in the craft and design sector, which is closely linked to both tourism and retail, decreased by 16 per cent last year due to the “considerable impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

As part of a suite of events to mark the 50th anniversary of its foundation, the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCI) has launched a comprehensive Economic Impact Assessment of the Design and Crafts Sector in Ireland carried out by Grant Thornton.

Survey data from the top 150 DCCI client firms showed that 40 per cent of businesses reported revenue growth in 2020 when compared to 2019. This growth was driven by an increase in online sales, which accounted for 35 per cent of all sales in 2020.

There were 105,000 people employed across the craft and design-intensive sectors in 2019. This is broken down by 54,000 employees in craft and design and an additional 51,000 in “design in other sectors” cohort.

The report said there is potential that the craft and design-intensive sectors could provide up to 100,000 employees and a turnover of almost €14 billion by 2026.

DCCI chief executive Rosemary Steen said: “Like so many other sectors the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in challenges for those working in the craft and design-intensive sectors.

“Our survey data from the top 150 DCCI client firms show that between 2019 and 2020 turnover decreased by 16 per cent.

“There were strong signs of innovation also, the proportion of online sales grew from 18 per cent of total sales in 2019 to 35 per cent in 2020. This is a trend which reflects the resilience that has been present in the sector well before the foundation of the council in 1971.

“In my role as chief executive, I want to ensure that we achieve the potential of the sector. I firmly believe, if given the right supports the sector can achieve the potential of 100,000 employees and €14 billion in turnover in five years.”

Andrew Webb, chief economist at Grant Thornton said: “It was evident from our analysis that this is a diverse sector that supports jobs and generates an economic impact across all parts of the country.

“In addition to the economic impact, which is significant, the sector plays an important role in Ireland’s brand. Throughout our work, we were particularly struck by the overarching sense of vibrancy and potential for further growth from within the sector.”