1. Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade

Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade

Jun 29th, 2023


Etsy and Amazon Handmade are leading platforms for selling handmade and vintage items. Etsy focuses on community, customization, and unique products, while Amazon Handmade offers a wider audience and advanced logistics. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, so sellers and buyers should consider their specific needs and goals when choosing between them.

The world of ecommerce has seen a dramatic rise in platforms that allow artisans to share their unique crafts with a global audience. Among these platforms, Etsy and Amazon Handmade have emerged as giants, representing the new face of retail for handmade and vintage items. This comprehensive analysis will delve into the subtle nuances and blatant differences between Etsy and Amazon Handmade, and provide an in-depth comparison from a seller's and buyer's perspective. We will explore their histories, structures, selling processes, fees, tools, global reach, and potential futures. The aim is to provide insights that can help entrepreneurs, hobbyists, and consumers make informed choices in this rapidly evolving space.

Brief History of Etsy and Amazon Handmade

The Evolution of Etsy

Etsy was launched in 2005 as a vibrant online marketplace for independent creators and vintage treasure hunters. The company was started by Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire, and Haim Schoppik in Brooklyn, New York, with an aim to provide an easy-to-use ecommerce platform for artisans to sell their handcrafted goods. Over the years, it has evolved into a global marketplace, serving millions of sellers and buyers across the world.

The Emergence of Amazon Handmade

Amazon Handmade, on the other hand, was launched by the ecommerce behemoth Amazon in 2015. This was seen as a direct response to the popularity and success of Etsy. Amazon Handmade offered artisans an opportunity to sell their products to a much larger audience, leveraging Amazon's expansive customer base and advanced logistics network.

Platform Structure

Etsy's Marketplace Structure

Etsy provides a platform for a wide array of products, from handcrafted jewelry to vintage furniture. The marketplace structure is quite user-friendly, with listings categorized based on product type, making it easy for potential buyers to find what they are looking for.

Amazon Handmade's Marketplace Structure

Amazon Handmade, in contrast, is part of the larger Amazon marketplace. While this could provide greater exposure for the sellers, it might also make handmade items harder to find among the sea of mass-produced products.

The Sellers: Who are They?

Understanding Etsy Sellers

Etsy's sellers are primarily independent artisans and vintage collectors. A study by Liang, Czaplewski, Klein, and Jiang (2018) found that Etsy sellers often start as hobbyists and eventually turn their passion into a business.

Decoding Amazon Handmade Sellers

Amazon Handmade sellers, on the other hand, range from independent creators to small businesses. They benefit from Amazon's wider audience but also face stiff competition from mass-produced items on the platform.

Selling Process: A Comparative Analysis

Listing a Product on Etsy

The selling process on Etsy begins with setting up a shop and listing products. Each listing costs a nominal fee and stays active for four months or until it gets sold. Sellers can also customize their shop's look and feel to create a unique brand identity.

Listing a Product on Amazon Handmade

Listing a product on Amazon Handmade is also straightforward. Sellers must apply to join the handmade category, and once approved, they can list their products. Unlike Etsy, Amazon Handmade does not charge a listing fee, but there is a referral fee for each sale.

Seller Fees and Pricing

Understanding Etsy's Fee Structure

In addition to the listing fee, Etsy charges a 5% transaction fee and a payment processing fee. These costs, combined with the competitive nature of the marketplace, can influence pricing strategies and profit margins.

Unraveling Amazon Handmade's Fee Structure

Amazon Handmade meanwhile, does not charge a listing fee but takes a 15% referral fee from each sale. For sales under $20, the referral fee is $1. This fee structure could be beneficial for sellers of higher-priced items but may be a disadvantage for those selling lower-priced goods.

Seller Tools and Support

Seller Tools Offered by Etsy

Etsy offers a variety of seller tools including promotional features, SEO guidance, and shipping labels. It also has a vibrant community forum and support network where sellers can share experiences and advice.

Seller Tools Offered by Amazon Handmade

Amazon Handmade provides advanced analytics, sponsored product features, and Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) service. However, it may lack the intimate community feel that Etsy offers, which could make problem-solving more challenging for sellers.

Buyer Experience

Purchasing on Etsy: A Buyer's Perspective

Etsy’s aesthetic and layout lend itself to the discovery of unique items. It feels more personal, almost like a digital craft fair. Buyers can also interact directly with sellers, adding to the personal touch.

Purchasing on Amazon Handmade: A Buyer's Perspective

Amazon Handmade offers a reliable Amazon shopping experience with the added benefit of finding handmade items. The buyer-seller interaction may not be as direct as Etsy, but Amazon's customer service and easy return policies add to buyer confidence.

Reach and Market Presence

Etsy's Global Presence

With over 60 million items listed and buyers from nearly every country, Etsy has a strong global presence. It's a bustling digital bazaar that celebrates creativity and individuality.

Amazon Handmade's Global Presence

Amazon Handmade, being part of Amazon's global marketplace, potentially has an even larger reach. Sellers have the opportunity to access Amazon's customer base, which stretches across the globe.

Success Stories

Successful Sellers on Etsy

Etsy has nurtured numerous success stories. Artisans have turned their hobbies into thriving businesses, with some even branching out into brick-and-mortar stores.

Successful Sellers on Amazon Handmade

Similarly, Amazon Handmade has enabled crafters to reach a vast audience. Some sellers have leveraged Amazon's advanced infrastructure to scale up their businesses significantly.

Strengths and Weaknesses: A Balanced View

Strengths and Weaknesses of Etsy

Etsy's strengths lie in its community-oriented approach, its focus on handmade and vintage items, and its range of seller tools. However, sellers may struggle with increased competition and the challenge of standing out among millions of products.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Amazon Handmade

The main strength of Amazon Handmade is Amazon's massive customer base and sophisticated logistics. Yet, it may not offer the same community feel as Etsy and handmade items can get lost among other products on Amazon.

Future Outlook: Where Are They Heading?

Future of Etsy: Predictions and Speculations

Despite facing competition from Amazon Handmade, Etsy continues to thrive by nurturing its artisan community and emphasizing the uniqueness of its offerings. According to a study by Bughin, Hazan, Ramaswamy, Chui, Allas, Dahlstrom, Henke, and Trench (2017), platforms like Etsy are poised to grow as more people seek unique and personalized products.

Future of Amazon Handmade: Predictions and Speculations

Amazon Handmade has the potential to leverage Amazon's technological prowess and customer base to grow further. However, maintaining the balance between artisanal offerings and mass-produced items will be a crucial challenge.


Choosing between Etsy and Amazon Handmade ultimately depends on the individual seller's or buyer's preferences and objectives. While Etsy offers a vibrant artisan community and a specialized platform for handmade and vintage items, Amazon Handmade provides a vast reach and advanced logistics. Both platforms have unique strengths and pose certain challenges, making it essential for sellers and buyers to consider their specific needs and goals when choosing between them.

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