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Design and Crafts Council Ireland launches new report on the economic potential of sector

Posted 17.10.2021
Press Releases

New report shows that the craft and design intensive sector generated €2.9 billion in Gross Value Added, 18,000 enterprises in the sector and supports 54,000 employees


14 October 2021: As part of a suite of events to mark the 50th anniversary of its foundation, the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) is launching a comprehensive Economic Impact Assessment of the Design and Crafts Sector in Ireland carried out by Grant Thornton.

The report highlights the value the sector offers:

  • In 2019 the craft and design-intensive sectors generated €2.9 billion in Gross Value Added
  • There were 105,000 people employed across the craft and design-intensive sectors in 2019.
    (This is broken down by 54,000 employees in craft and design and an additional and 51,000 in “design in other sectors” cohort).
  • The craft and design-intensive sector is closely linked to both tourism and retail.  The impact of Covid-19 has been considerable.  Survey data from the top 150 DCCI client firms show that between 2019 and 2020 turnover decreased by 16%.
  • Despite these challenging conditions the DCCI Annual Client Economic Survey showed that 40% of businesses reported revenue growth in 2020 when compared to 2019.  This growth was driven by an increase in online sales which accounted for 35% of all sales in 2020.
  • The craft and design-intensive sector is an engine for economic growth. There is potential that the craft and design-intensive sectors could provide up to 100,000 employees and a turnover of almost €14 billion by 2026.
  • According to data from the CSO there are over 18,000 enterprises engaged in craft and design intensive enterprises. This makes the sector the 8th largest in Ireland.
  • The report highlights the nature of the enterprises allow for greater dispersion across Ireland than other sector While Dublin represents 25% of the population, it only represents 20% of the design-intensive and craft sector businesses.
  • In 2020, Europe (35%) outstripped Britain and NI (26%) significantly to become the largest export market for the sector


Speaking on the findings of the report, Rosemary Steen, Chief Executive Officer of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, said: “Like so many other sectors the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in challenges for those working in the craft and design -intensive sectors. Our survey data from the top 150 DCCI client firms show that between 2019 and 2020 turnover decreased by 16%. There were strong signs of innovation also, the proportion of online sales grew from 18% of total sales in 2019 to 35% in 2020.  This is a trend which reflets the resilience that has been present in the sector well before the foundation of the council in 1971. In my role as Chief Executive I want to ensure that we achieve the potential of the sector.  I firmly believe, if given the right supports the sector can achieve the potential of 100,000 employees and €14 billion in turnover in five years.”

Speaking on the occasion of the publication of the report, Andrew Webb, Chief Economist, Grant Thornton said: “It was evident from our analysis that this is a diverse sector that supports jobs and generates an economic impact across all parts of the country. In addition to the economic impact, which is significant, the sector plays an important role in Ireland’s brand.  Throughout our work, we were particularly struck by the overarching sense of vibrancy and potential for further growth from within the sector.”

The full text of the Economic Impact Assessment of the Design and Crafts Sector of Ireland report authored by Grant Thornton can be found HERE.


For further information, please contact [email protected]