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Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy [2023 Guide]

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If you’re an artisan willing to start and scale your ecommerce empire by selling handmade products, you should take an in-depth look into Amazon Handmade and Etsy, the two platforms leaders in the handmade market.

We’ll break down the differences between selling on Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy and help you decide which handmade retailer is the best fit for you and your business.

Related Reading: Selling on Etsy in 2022: Is It Worth It?

Overview of Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy

Amazon is a place where you can sell almost anything. This includes craft, vintage and handmade goods. 

Amazon Handmade was launched in 2015, about two decades after However, despite belonging to the Amazon platform, its functionality works a little differently for those who are looking to sell in the handmade category.

Etsy, on the other hand, started earlier, back in 2005. Etsy was one of the first online platforms made for artisans and makers, allowing them to sell their unique products, like crafts, handmade and vintage items. 

Amazon Handmade and Etsy are the biggest competitors in the handmade market and there are some major differences between these two main online retailers that you need to know before choosing the place where to showcase your handcrafted items.

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Where Is It Easier To Sell: Amazon Handmade or Etsy?

The process of becoming a seller on Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade is quite different.

We'll go through a step-by-step guide on how to register on each platform further down this article, but let me tell you right off the bat that it’s much easier to be approved as a seller on Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade

You can get your shop set up on Etsy in a few clicks while on Amazon Handmade, you’ll have to complete an application process and wait to be approved (and this can take from days to weeks). 

Advantage Etsy

It’s much easier to become a seller on Etsy. Amazon’s Maker Application takes longer to get set up because you have to be approved as a maker first.

Which Has Lower Fees: Amazon Handmade or Etsy?

Before you can list a product on Amazon, you’ll need to choose between the individual plan or the professional plan. 

For artisans selling more than 40 items per month, it’s a no-brainer to go for the professional account, for which Amazon charges a flat monthly fee of $39.99. 

On top of that, Amazon Handmade sellers pay a 15% commission and a minimum of $1 referral fee per product sale. 

However, if you don't have a Professional selling plan, you are subject to Amazon's standard referral fees. The percentage varies based on the product category and can go from 8% to 45%.

On the other hand, it’s free to sign up on Etsy, and there's no subscription fee. Although you have the option to upgrade to Etsy Plus, which is $10 monthly. and you have access to a few seller tools.

Unlike Amazon Handmade, Etsy imposes a listing fee of $0.20 per item and a 5% transaction fee for each sale. Despite this and the fact that Amazon offers free product listings with no expiration, Amazon Handmade still has higher fees than Etsy.

*The fee varies from 3 to 6% for international sellers.

Advantage Etsy

Fees can be a huge expense especially if the platform charges more for a category your product falls into, and most artisans will find it cheaper to sell on Etsy compared to Amazon Handmade.

Which Has Better Fulfillment Services: Amazon Handmade or Etsy?

If you sell on Amazon Handmade, you have two shipping options: Amazon FBA and Amazon FBM.

One of the biggest advantages of selling on Amazon is the well-established Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which takes the hard work out of inventory management and saves the seller lots of time. This service includes storage, picking, packing, shipping, and handling of returns.

If you want to fulfill your orders yourself or have a 3PL do it, you can go for Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). 

On the other hand, Etsy sellers have no other option but to be responsible for fulfilling and shipping their orders.

Advantage Amazon

Amazon's FBA service is hard to beat. Etsy sellers still need to take care of their inventory management.

Which Has Less Competition: Amazon Handmade or Etsy?

Currently, Amazon has 6 million active sellers worldwide, while Etsy has 4.4 million. Surprisingly for many artisans, Etsy takes a big slice of the pie when we compare active sellers to a marketplace like Amazon.

Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy
Source: Marketpulse and Statista

Unsurprisingly, Amazon has a much bigger overall revenue compared to Etsy as you can see in the table below.

Source: Statista

However, Etsy's total revenue per year has been increasing year by year, and not exactly slowly. It hasn’t disclosed its revenue for 2021 yet, but it’s expected to be double the amount of 2020, which would put Etsy under Amazon’s spotlight. 

Advantage Etsy

Etsy is a less competitive platform than Amazon, so there is more opportunity to make your product stand out.

Which Has More Customers: Amazon Handmade or Etsy?

Etsy is a small part compared to Amazon’s marketplace. In 2020, Etsy had close to 81.9 million users who purchased goods through the Etsy ecosystem, while Amazon has over 200 million Prime members alone.

Statistic: Number of active Etsy buyers from 2012 to 2020 (in millions) | Statista
Source: Statista

According to SimilarWeb, Etsy gets roughly 422 million visitors every month, and that’s a huge opportunity for an ecommerce business owner.

Advantage Amazon

There is no competition in this area. Amazon is bigger than Etsy.

Which Pays You Quicker: Amazon Handmade or Etsy?

Once you decide to start selling on any of these platforms, you want to get the money as soon as customers are ordering your products!

Amazon Handmade, just like in the other categories of Amazon, releases payment for goods as soon as products are shipped. However, there's a holding period of approximately two weeks on your funds.

On the other hand, Etsy releases payment as soon as the customer has purchased your product with no holding time. So, in terms of payment time, Etsy is much better than Amazon.

Advantage Etsy

Etsy pays you more quicker than Amazon. The latter has about a two-week holding period, while the former does not.

Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon Handmade vs. Etsy

When you’re deciding between Amazon Handmade and Etsy, here are the main benefits and the pitfalls you should watch out for:

  Amazon Handmade Etsy
Fulfillment Amazon offers their FBA service, where they pick, pack and ship your orders for you. While with Etsy, each seller needs to do it on their own.
Popularity Amazon’s marketplace is the most popular ecommerce platform. The Etsy marketplace is not as popular.
Handmade Market Amazon Handmade is not that popular in the handcrafted category. Amazon Handmade is like McDonald's in the gastronomy market, where they offer fast and cheap products. However, Etsy is known as a craft platform. The culture of the vintage and artisan market is quite the opposite, where the consumer is looking for something unique and creative as Etsy offers.
Customers Amazon gives you access to 300 million customers. Etsy only 35 million.
Target On Amazon, you can reach a most “generic” audience. While Etsy has an established audience.
Listing Fees Amazon Handmade offers free item listings with no expiry. With Etsy, you’ll need to pay $0.20 per item and a 5% transaction fee.
Renewing Listings Sellers don’t need to renew their listing when selling on Amazon Handmade. However, Etsy’s users will need to do it every 4 months or set up for automatic renewal.
Selling Fees Amazon Handmade doesn’t charge selling fees. On Etsy, you need to pay them.
Other fees For artisans selling more than 40 items, Amazon charges a 15% commission and $39.99/> Etsy is free to register.
Categories Access Amazon Handmade has limited product categories, offering only 14 categories. If your product doesn't fit in one of these categories, you cannot sell this product. Etsy offers 160 categories
Registration You need to complete an artisan application to sign up for Amazon Handmade which can take weeks. While with Etsy the process is a few clicks.
User-friendly Platform Amazon Handmade is not a user-friendly platform to sell on. Etsy is user-friendly.

Final Thoughts: Is It Better to Sell on Etsy or Amazon?

Even though Amazon is the king of ecommerce, it still has a territory it has yet to conquer. Etsy already has an established audience and it specializes in handmade items, so it’s hard to compete with, despite Amazon’s size. When a shopper looks for a handmade item, Amazon is probably not the first place he or she will go to. 

Do you think Etsy is a better handmade channel for artisans? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Helena Fernandez Morano

I'm proud to be part of an amazing group of talented political scientists who never shy away from blazing new trails, especially in uncertain times. Outside of my work in this field, I delve into the fascinating world of eCommerce. I'm always eager to join projects with scope, where I can team up with people who inspire me.

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  1. Etsy payment transfer is fine until they impose a 75% payment ‘reserve’ which can mean you waiting 45 days for your money. Sellers are never given a reason, its just imposed. An interest making scam as far as I can see with no justifiable reason.

  2. I have tried amazon handmade I found getting paid the hardest and especially when they keept moving the payment dates. I didn’t get many order through amazon. Etsy however I have been selling well until the cost of living crisis came in and I’ve found that I am 60% down on my orders. The good part about etsy is that you do get paid every day if you want too.

    1. Exactly, Etsy releases funds immediately, while Amazon holds funds until the order ships, so for all the artisans working on custom commissions, this is a crucial differentiation that will impact the cash flow of the business.

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