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Boom or bust? Great British craft revival revealed by Mercedes-Benz Vans

The recent surge in interest in age-old crafts and skills – from pottery and artisan baking to sewing, stone-masonry and upholstery – is something we now see played out on primetime TV, yet a new study from Mercedes-Benz Vans reveals that 49% of consumers have seen local crafts become extinct.


According to the survey, 44% of us see a ‘handmade revival’ taking place. What’s more, 60% said they support or buy from local skilled craftspeople and 39% said authenticity was now more important than ever.

But despite all this, individual craftspeople and their businesses can sometimes struggle to compete with the bigger companies, especially in the digital age where fast-track delivery and lightning speed responsiveness can win out against the pull of lovingly hand-crafted one-offs.

In fact, one in five craftspeople are feeling pessimistic about their future survival according to the study, which was conducted with not only consumers but also skilled craftspeople who run their own business.

It found that two of the biggest business challenges they can face are ‘getting products to consumers’ and ‘speed/reliability of delivery’ – little wonder, then, that one of their secret weapons comes on four wheels – two thirds say they couldn’t survive without a van.

Encouragingly, the study is evidence of overwhelming support for local crafts and skills and the talented people keeping them alive, even if most of us can’t tell our swillers from our mesters, or a trug maker from a cooper!

Some 87% of consumers said they feel it’s important to support local craftspeople, 39% said it is easier to get hold of their products than ever before and one in three said ‘handmade and artisan’ were the must-have gift ingredients this Christmas.

“We are encouraged by the findings of our research study, but more needs to be done to support the lesser-known local crafts around the UK,” Steve Bridge, the Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said. “We have a long history of innovation and bringing new ideas to market, so we have a natural affinity with other businesses that look to do the same. Small businesses form a major part of our customer base and we are proud to support these companies, offering insight and resources including free, downloadable industry reports and Driver Safety Guides that we want to share to benefit everyone, not just our customers.

“We’re a partner, supporting our customers with anything from finance to managing driver behaviour. Our whole business is geared around support – our dealers are open late, and in many cases 24 hours, to be there for customers when they need us, for example. We are passionate about keeping businesses moving, and we hope this research highlights how important these companies are.”

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