Etsy Inc., an online marketplace for the 21st century that matches arts and crafts sellers with almost 100 million buyers annually, is facing a 20th century headache. Merchandise vendors who use the site went on strike last week to protest a 30 percent increase in transaction fees taking effect.
More than 47,000 sellers have signed a petition protesting the move, with some temporarily closing their online stores in protest of the move. Effective Monday, Etsy began charging 6.5% on each sale, versus 5% previously.
They're apparently not buying into the company's rationale for the increase. In February, when Etsy announced it would boost its seller transaction fee from from 5% to 6.5%, Chief Financial Officer Rachel Glaser told analysts that it would allow the company to "invest in more ways that benefit our sellers." On Monday, as the increase went into effect, the marketplace reiterated that.
“Etsy enables anyone with a creative idea to start a business and reach a built-in audience of more than 90 million shoppers,” Josh Silverman, Etsy’s chief executive officer, said in the release. “We have demonstrated our ability to make improvements that directly translate into more sales for our sellers, as evidenced by record sales per seller in 2021.”
The protesting vendors are asking Etsy regulars to support their efforts by boycotting Etsty from April 11–18.
Etsy reported revenue of $717 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, $32 million more than analysts were expecting.