Is Cross Stitch Dead?

A horrific thought, I know; but with many cross stitch forums suffering with low engagement, and the size of haberdasheries getting smaller in all the major stores, is it time to face facts?

The stats

I know, a graph straight away! How mean of me. But its the best way of showing the facts (and there’s only one, I promise!). I’ve used google trends to create a report since 2005, showing cross stitch and embroidery.

Google searches for cross stitch and embroidery over the last 10 years (source: Google Trends)
Google searches for cross stitch and embroidery over the last 10 years (source: Google Trends)

The first thing to note is that they’ve both dropped since their initial high (more on that later), but it also shows that cross stitch has JUST dropped. Other than monthly variance, the general trend is down.
But does this actually show you a true story? I don’t think it does. There are three main reasons for this:

  • Initial guide surge
  • Category dip
  • Knowledge

Initial guide surges: Back in the earlier days of the internet, you went to find out how to do something. And whilst there are loads of great guides out there for cross stitch now; there wasn’t back in 2005. Now-a-days with the rise of cross stitch, (almost) everyone knows how to stitch. As a result, less people are searching in google for it.

Category dip: I used to work in category analysis, so I’ll keep this brief. Following the economic dip, craft, in general, got a major boost, and cross stitch rode the wave. However as recession comes to a close, and the average person has more money, craft is starting to decline. So the question here is actually, is cross stitch dipping faster? And the answers no. A big fat no. Craft, in general, is dropping out at a massively fast pace, mainly due to the rise of baking.

Knowledge: I know. Not what you expected. However, as all cross stitchers know, cross stitch is a form of embroidery. With people pushing the envelope when it comes to new ways of stitching, the lines are being blurred a bit. Embroidery is a better term for it sometimes.

So is that a yes?

I’m sad to say that the popularity of cross stitch is definitely dropping. Whilst this is sad to hear from the die-hard community, it’s definitely far from dead. I work in a company turning over £10 million a year, and our keyword gets maybe half as many views as cross stitch. And we’re growing faster than we can count! So no, it’s not dead.

Will it make the slightest bit of difference?

No. No, it won’t.

Actually, that’s one of the best things about cross stitch. Throughout history it’s gone through peaks and troughs of interest, and despite that, it keeps coming back. Why should now be any different? In fact, most recently I’ve seen cross stitch in museums, been published (and again), and without meaning to brag, my site views are through the roof. So long as amazing pieces are still being produced, we have no issues!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Holly

    Cross stitching is the oldest form of embroidery, been around for thousands of years…we practically have cross stitching in our genes. Its popularity may come and go but it’s not going anywhere

  2. Elizabeth Dawn McCoy

    I did a lot of cross stitch in the 80’s and just within the past two years have taken it up again. Have hundreds of threads that were well stored and held up well. It is relaxing and makes perfect gifts !

    1. Virginia Schauf

      Same here. I just rediscovered my love for cross stitching after 20 years. Discovering beautiful patterns on Etsy & Pinterest. I love that patterns now can be downloaded as a PDF.

  3. Mary

    I started cross stitching 4 years ago and became obsessed,even started a blog with my cross stitching friend. I try to encourage others to take up this relaxing hobby without much luck. People think it’s too time consuming but they will spend hours on social media sites. At least I have something pretty to show for my time! I truly hope it’s not a dying hobby…

    1. maR

      I agree, cross stitching is relaxing. you, do have something pretty to show for your time and work and the ones on social media, only have heard gossip, remarks, and most generally nothing to important to speak of. I might add, my mother tried teaching me to crochet, but I’m left handed and she’s right handed and it didn’t work out to well.

  4. I take solace in the fact that embroidery and cross stitch have been around for centuries, so I figure they’ll never really die away. Until humanity collapses in on itself, that is. 🙂