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Strong local consumer support driving continued export and employment growth for Ireland’s craft and design sector Design & Crafts Council Ireland AGM welcomes further growth in employment and turnover in design and craft sector

Posted 28.05.2024
Press Releases

  • Irish Government investment is delivering strong growth with circa. 63,000 directly employed in craft and design, an increase of 4,000 people employed in the sector.
  • Direct economic contribution of €4.2 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) accounting for c. 1.2% of GVA generated by Ireland’s economy in 2022*
  • 21,000 design and craft enterprises are in operation in Ireland
  • Over 7% growth in employees directly working in craft and design between 2020 to 2022
  • Research into DCCI’s top 150 clients reveals that revenue stood at €81.3 million
  • Design and craft sector has seen strong growth in exports particularly to North America
  • 79% of designers and craftspeople are looking to grow their business in the coming year
  • Ongoing sectoral growth despite the economic challenges due to a new generation of makers and designers using digital to unlock opportunities and consumer engagement with the making experience


28th May 2024: Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) holds its AGM today, Tuesday 28th May, in CREW, Creative Enterprise West, on the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Campus, Galway. CEO Rosemary Steen alongside Peter Hynes, Chair of DCCI Board, today announced the results following year two of DCCI’s 2022-2026 strategy.  Joseph Walsh, Irish Designer and  Maker is the keynote speaker at DCCI’s AGM.


Previously, 59,000 were directly employed in the design and craft sector, which has now grown to approximately 63,000. The growth of almost 7% in employees directly working in craft and design between 2020 and 2022 from the previous Economic Impact Assessment of the Design and Craft Sector of Ireland report 2021 by Grant Thornton, further solidifies the strong impact government investment has had on the sector. When taking into account the total number of design and craft enterprises, 21,000 are in operation across the country with the majority of these enterprises design related, approximately 14,000. The sector has contributed a total economic value of €4.2 billion worth of Gross Value Added (GVA), this accounts for approximately 1.2% of GVA generated by Ireland’s economy in 2022, which stood at €349 billion. DCCI, as the national agency for the design and craft sector in Ireland, continues to grow its contribution economically, socially and culturally. The results at the end of year two of the five-year strategy showed a growth of over 10% in membership registrations.


The survey also showed that 66% of design and craft businesses have implemented sustainability measures. Craft and Design come together most strongly in Ireland to support the circular economy. Design is being driven by innovations required of businesses in the circular economy and the global trend regarding product design. Year on year growth in design as a sector shows there are now more than 14,000 design businesses operating alongside 7,000 craft businesses.


Despite economic challenges, the sector has seen strong growth, often driven by a new generation of digital native designers and craftspeople. In craft in particular this creativity combined with innate digital skills is allowing a new generation to make low cost business prosper – they can launch their business and reach markets quickly. DCCI research shows that 79% of those who took part in the 2023 Annual Client Economic Survey have sold products via online platforms. That combined with the interest in consumers engaging with the maker experience is seeing DCCI activities like August Craft Month and the presence of makers in the DCCI Craft Village at Bord Bia’s Bloom, show strong growth year on year. This digitalisation is supported by the Council through education and training courses. DCCI is also growing digitally as well with the launch of a new website, CRM project and financial system to continue to future proof the organisation.


A survey of 560 DCCI clients reviewing 2023 by Market Dynamics, highlighted the top 150 DCCI clients domestic sales figure stood at €81.3m, an increase of almost 7% from €76.1m in 2022.DCCI has also seen growth in the support for the sector regionally. Research has shown that 60% of businesses are increasing their focus on selling their products in the domestic market, via retail distribution. With over 75% of craft businesses operating outside of Dublin, DCCI’s Made Local campaign is continuing to increase awareness and appreciation of Irish-made products


Along with the report findings from Market Dynamics Annual Economic Client Survey 2023, Grant Thornton Economic Impact Assessment, key performance indicators from KPMG and the Quarterly Sentiment Tracker of 2023, DCCI shared its highlights from 2023. This included Showcase Ireland 2023, which generated orders of over €25 million at the tradeshow along with the launch of the DCCI Academy. The survey also reported the total exports to the EU and North America by respondents in 2023 was €28.6m, which was significantly up from the previous year, showing the demand for Irish design and craft globally. Design Week, which delivered 56 events and was attended by over 2,000 people, gained attention from international design leaders including Design Museum London’s Tim Marlow. DCCI also held the most successful August Craft Month to date, the all-island initiative in partnership with Craft NI and Cork Craft & Design, delivered 420 events across all 32 counties. DCCI’s Made Local campaign also has over 1,767 participants, an increase of over 100 from the previous year.


Rosemary Steen, CEO of DCCI, commented: “I want to thank all our team and board at DCCI for their hard work during year two of our new strategy. We dedicate our time to supporting our community and it’s been inspiring to see how the digital generation is really embracing these tools to promote their products and business. It also shows real ambition within the sector as 79% of respondents to our survey revealed how they are actively seeking to grow their business. We are seeing this develop at a much quicker rate than ever before. This makes it a very exciting time for us all at DCCI and we look forward to what this year is also going to bring.


Peter Hynes Chair of DCCI, said: “Today I commend the hard work and determination of designer and makers in Ireland. The design and craft sector has shown real resilience as illustrated in the numbers we are publishing today. The focus on the continued growth in the move towards more sustainable practices is also to be welcomed and it’s a credit to all the makers and designers for all their work in this area. The sector has contributed greatly to the overall Irish economy and will continue to do so.”



For further press information please contact Elevate PR on 01 662 5652 or email [email protected]

Note to the Editors: 

Statements and statistics in this press release are sourced from the following –

1. Grant Thornton research findings for Design & Crafts Council Ireland, 2024:

A recent research update into the economic impact of the design and craft sector in Ireland was carried out for Design & Crafts Council Ireland by Grant Thornton in May 2024. The most recent findings outlined that the design and craft sector contributed the following:

  • 63,000 people were employed in the Design & Craft Sector in Ireland in 2022; accounting for 2.4% of all employment in Ireland;
  • The sector has seen rapid employment growth, with total employment between 2020 and 2022 growing by 7.4%.
  • There are c.21,000 Design & Craft Enterprises in operation in Ireland, of which the majority are Design related (c.14,000);
  • Turnover for the sector increased by 9.7% since 2020, standing at €11.3bn in 2022;
  • The sector generated €4.2bn worth of Gross Value Added (GVA), accounting for c.1.2% of GVA generated by Ireland’s economy in 2022 (€349bn).
Economic Impact Assessment of the Design and Crafts Sector of Ireland (2021) carried out for Design & Crafts Council Ireland by Grant Thornton is linked here.


2.  Design & Crafts Council Ireland Annual Client Economic Survey 2023 carried out by Market Dynamics.

DCCI’s Annual Client Economic Survey seeks to obtain detailed input on performance of businesses in design & craft industry in Ireland and among select businesses abroad. 560 businesses responded to the survey which focused on 2023 activity, through a link sent via email to the DCCI client database in Q2, 2024.


3.  The Design & Crafts Council Ireland Strategy 2022 – 2026 includes the following strategic pillars:

  • Building capability and capacity to deliver resilient growth
  • Championing design across Ireland
  • Leading & demonstrating sustainabilityCommon enabler: delivering a future proof council


Please find the full DCCI 2022-2026 strategy here.


For further information:

Please contact Eimear Harding, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, DCCI, 083 023 8743 or email [email protected]

For press information please contact Claire Feely at Elevate PR, 01 662 5652 or email [email protected] 


About Design & Crafts Council Ireland
Design & Crafts Council Ireland is the national agency for craft and design in Ireland, we support designers and makers to develop their businesses in a sustainable way, and advocate for the societal benefits of craft and design. DCCI’s activities are funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment via Enterprise Ireland. DCCI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,600 registered clients. @dccireland