Thousands of e-commerce sellers on Etsy went on strike in response to the platform’s decision to increase transaction fees from 5% to 6.5%. The fee hike, which represented a 30% increase, was announced in February and took effect on April 11th. This decision came after Etsy experienced a record-breaking fourth quarter in 2021.
The week-long strike saw many Etsy sellers putting their accounts in vacation mode and taking to social media to voice their dissatisfaction with the company’s decision. Thousands of sellers signed a petition demanding an end to the fee increase and other reforms. In support of the strike, organizers provided tools such as customizable shop banners, sample “vacation mode” notices, and messages for customers that could be attached to outgoing packages.
Etsy sellers argued that the fee increase was a significant burden, especially when considering additional charges such as listing fees, processing fees, and advertising fees, which could amount to as much as 20% of their revenue.
The strike highlighted concerns about Etsy‘s business model, particularly its impact on marginalized communities, including women and LGBTQ+ individuals who may have fewer financial alternatives and face challenges in finding other platforms to sell their products.
The official #EtsyStrike and it’s supporters on Etsystrike.org demands included:
- Cancel the fee increase.
- Crack down on resellers with a comprehensive plan that is transparent, so sellers can hold Etsy accountable.
- Give ‘Golden’ support tickets to sellers affected by extreme AI actions (account termination, 45/90 day holds, etc.)
- End the Star Seller Program.
- Give all sellers the ability to opt out of off site ads.
In response to the strike, Etsy stated that the fee increase would enable the company to invest in areas outlined in the petition, such as marketing, customer support, and removing listings that do not meet their policies. However, many sellers remained unconvinced by the company’s rationale, arguing that the fee increase was the last straw in a series of issues they faced on the platform, including lack of transparency, difficulty in communication, and competition with resellers and mass merchants.
The Etsy strike raised important questions about the sustainability and fairness of e-commerce business models, particularly for platforms that rely on the labor of marginalized communities. As the strike concluded, it remained to be seen whether Etsy would address the concerns of its sellers and implement changes to better support their needs and the unique nature of the marketplace.