bed with quilt
For the past decade, the quilt industry has maintained a steady presence with 9 million to 11 million active participants.

At h+h americas 2024 Mark Hyland, CEO of HandiQuilter, presented a summary of the results of the Quilter’s Survey. (See 2020, 2021, and 2022 results.) Data was collected in February 2024. Over 1.8 million quilters were invited to participate via email from leading brands including HandiQuilter, C&T Publishing, Connecting Threads, Shabby Fabrics, Superior Threads, and the American Quilter’s Society (AQS). Study design partners included EY Parthenon and Emperitas.

Over 37,000 quilters responded to the survey which took an average of 66 minutes to complete. Overall, nearly 100 million data points were collected. 93% of the respondents were from the US, 5% from Canada, and 1% from other countries and the responses were well-distributed. As in prior years, no demographic data based on race or ethnicity was shared.

According to Hyland’s presentation of the survey results, the quilt market is expected to reach $5 billion by 2027. There are now 85 million “active creatives” in the US and Canada, representing more than $35 billion in sales. (Active creatives are defined as individuals who have made a creative project in the past 12 months.) There’s an estimated 30 million active sewists in the US and Canada, a decrease since the pandemic years, but the quilt industry continues to have 9-11 million active participants which has been consistent over the past 10 years.

According to the study, the average quilter identifies as female (98%) and is retired (70%) and in her 60s with a household income of $70k or more. The average quilter began quilting regularly at age 48 and considers themselves to be at an intermediate level. After having sewn for an average of 22 years, the average quilter started a first quilt at age 39. They are comfortable with technology and have 10 years of quilt-making under their belt. The average quilter starts 11 projects a year, and finishes 9, spending six hours per week dedicated to working on quilting projects. Most projects are small, such as lap quilts, and are made in a traditional style. 65% of quilters are spending more than six hours per week working on quilts. The average quilter owns four different types of sewing machines.

When it comes to choosing where to shop, average quilters have two preferred places to shop for quilting supplies in general: 61% prefer their local quilt shop and 16% prefer to shop online.  On a more granular level, 48% of quilters most frequently shop for fabric at their local quilt shop and 25% shop for fabric online, but for notions online shopping wins out at 36% vs. the 30% who are buying notions locally. When choosing a local quilt shop, the average quilter prioritizes fabric assortment, then location (preferring a shop located within 30 minutes from home), and then the availability of hands-on education and classes.

Overall, there’s a steady upward trend in quilters searching and shopping more online for products and projects. In February 2020, prior to the pandemic, the percentage who answered yes to this question was 24.4%. Of course, it surged upward to 42.2% by February 2021, but that number never fully came down, remaining at 31.8% in February 2024.

New quilters represent 11% of the total quilting population. Quilters prefer free video content on YouTube as a primary source of inspiration, motivation, and education.

The majority of quilters (80%) say they are spending the same or more time and dollars now than they were in previous years, but increasing costs due to inflation are also driving them to use more of their stash rather than replenishing, versus prior years.

Abby Glassenberg

Abby Glassenberg

Abby co-founded Craft Industry Alliance and now serves as its president. She’s a sewing pattern designer, teacher, and journalist. She’s dedicated to creating an outstanding trade association for the crafts industry. Abby lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.