Whether you're a novice scrapbooker or someone who has been preserving memories for several years, industry statistics provide a fascinating glimpse into this fun and enjoyable hobby. The statistics show that scrapbooking has gone through several changes in the last decade, but still remains one of the most popular craft activities.
Scrapbooking at Its Peak
Scrapbooking reached its peak popularity in 2004, as reported by The National Survey of Scrapbooking in America. This survey, sponsored by Creating Keepsakes scrapbooking magazine, evaluated scrapbookers across the United States.
The survey showed an addition of 4.4 million new scrapbooking households from 2001 to 2004, which represented a 27.8% growth in sales over the same time period. The size of the scrapbooking industry was estimated to be $2.55 billion for the 2004 calendar year.
Other interesting findings from the survey include:
- The majority of scrapbookers were females age 30 to 50.
- Nearly 50% of scrapbookers worked full time.
- 82% of scrapbookers were college educated.
- The value of tools and supplies owned by the average scrapbooker was $1,853.
- 76% of scrapbooking enthusiasts had a separate space for scrapbooking in their home.
- 51% of scrapbookers reported spending at least 10 hours per month scrapbooking.
The scrapbooking industry started to experience problems in 2006 when the housing bubble burst and people began to worry about their long-term job security. The country didn't officially land in a recession until late 2007, but people had less discretionary income to spend on hobbies of any type. Scrapbookers were especially vulnerable to the economic downturn since many of them did not work outside the home on a full time basis.
Scrapbook Update reports that US-based Google searches for scrapbooking related terms peaked in late 2006/early 2007. The number of people searching for topics on Google is considered a solid indicator of consumer interest in a particular area.
The decline in Google searches for scrapbooking related terms appears to have been foreshadowing a reduced interest in scrapbooking specialty print magazines:
- Memory Makers magazine ceased publication in September/October 2009.
- Scrapbooks Etc. ceased publication in August 2012.
- Creating Keepsakes, which had long been considered the strongest of the three magazines, ceased publication with its November/December 2013 issue and merged with Paper Crafts to form a new digital magazine called Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking.
When Archiver's filed for bankruptcy in May 2013, Chief Executive Jann Olsten said that the scrapbooking industry had declined to around $1.5 billion since its peak in 2004. Olsten stated that he believed the popularity of digital scrapbooking had made it easier for cost-conscious crafters to defer hobby-related spending.
Olsten's assessment is supported by the experience of Creative Memories. Once considered an industry leader, Creative Memories filed for bankruptcy in November 2008 and again in April 2013. As part of the company's recovery plan, Creative Memories unveiled a new product line in early 2014 that included an app for easier ordering of digital prints and cloud-based storage of photos or digital scrapbook pages.
The Future of Scrapbooking
Scrapbooking may not be quite as popular as it was in 2004, but the industry is far from dead. The 2012 State of the Craft Industry report by the Craft & Hobby Association found that scrapbooking and paper crafting was the most common hobby enjoyed by the 62.5 million crafters in the United States. Scrapbooking and paper crafting was the most popular category of the 12 craft groups listed in the survey, with 10% of respondents reporting scrapbooking or completing other paper crafts during the previous calendar year
Many people see the future of scrapbooking as a hobby that is focused primarily on the artistic display of digital photos and less on accumulating pricey collections of papers and embellishments. The 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts found:
- 26% of adults reported sharing their photography in some form
- Photo editing as a hobby was reported by 13% of participants
- 12% did photography for artistic enjoyment
Same Hobby, Different Format
Although the scrapbooks of the future may look a little different from those created during the hobby's peak in 2004, there's no reason to believe that the need to preserve special memories will ever disappear. Whether you create layouts on paper or digitally, scrapbooking remains a popular hobby.