Etsy’s Entrepreneurs Want Independence Over Growth

A new survey released by online marketplace Etsy suggests that for most entrepreneurs operating business via the site, bigger isn’t better – and in fact, growth may not even be a top priority.

Despite having lower-than-average incomes, most of the sellers on say they don’t prize growth over all else, according to a new survey. While 91% of the site’s 5,500 active sellers surveyed say they want to increase sales, 61% want to keep their shops at a size they can manage and maintain themselves.

The survey authors say the majority of sellers value “independence and long-term sustainability” over growth.

Etsy, which specializes in handmade and vintage goods, attracts a mostly female demographic. While just under one-third of all U.S. business owners are women, that percentage shoots up to 88% for Etsy.  Additionally, half of Etsy sellers are independent, part time or temporary workers, and the household income is just under $45,000 – 10.2% lower than the national average.

When faced with unexpected demand, only 7% of sellers say their hired outside help; 76% preferred to increase their own working hours.

The site, which hosts 1 million active shops, generated more than $895 million in total sales in 2012, according to the company. Etsy’s survey was conducted online by research firm GfK from November 13 – 27, 2012.