Mask Mandates Fuel Demand for Sewing Supplies

Sewing Machine Sales Boom

Sewing machines are flying off the shelves during the pandemic. Analysts point to two factors contributing to the spike in demand.

People at home have turned to DIY projects from bread baking to home improvement in order to pass the time during quarantine, and many are discovering sewing as a way to stay entertained. But people are not just buying sewing machines for fun—much of the demand spike is coming from people wanting to sew cloth face masks for themselves and others. Etsy, (ETSY), an online marketplace for homemade goods, reported that about 29 million face masks have been sold on the platform, accounting for $346 million in sales.

Retailers Rush to Keep Up

“The sewing fervor really erupted in April, almost immediately after the CDC said everyone should wear face masks,” explained Jeff Fuller, Vice President of Marketing at Tacony Corporation, a St. Louis-based wholesale sewing machine supplier. Fuller reported that his company’s sales were up “five to eight times” in April.

After the CDC’s mask recommendations came out, Walmart (WMT) also reported a surge in demand for sewing machines. The company went from having a 100-day supply of sewing machine inventory to just five days worth in a period of 24 hours.

Looking Ahead

As of the beginning of this month, 34 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted some sort of face mask mandate to combat the spread of COVID-19. Many school districts have also announced that masks will be required for children and teachers returning to in-person school in the fall.

It is likely that demand for sewing supplies will stay strong for some time. Investors will have their eyes on sewing machine brands like Janome (6445:JP) and on craft supply retailers like Michaels (MIK).

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