Etsy Sellers Go on Strike Over Fees Hike

Thousands of independent sellers on online marketplace Etsy have gone on strike.

The strike stems from a 30% increase in transaction fees from Etsy. The fee was due to go into effect April 11, which comes after fees last increased in July 2018. The strike asks sellers to put their shops on vacation mode from April 11-18. However, some sellers are only striking on April 11 in an effort to protest Etsy’s latest changes.

Sellers are opposed to the fee hike in part because it comes at a time when Etsy is bigger than ever. The company “made bank over the pandemic,” according to a petition website with more than 50,000 signatures asking Etsy to cancel the fees. The company more than doubled its marketplace sales in 2020 and reported another record year in 2021.

“They followed up these record pandemic gains by turning around and sticking it to their sellers,” the petition reads.

Etsy also has been making a series of acquisitions as the company grows, buying resale marketplace Depop for $1.25 billion and Elo7, the “Etsy of Brazil,” to the tune of $217 million dollars cash.

With the new fee increase, Etsy has doubled the basic fees for sellers to use the platform in less than four years. Sellers are also disgruntled that Etsy has additional fees for Offsite Ads, which pushes Etsy’s advertising costs onto sellers with an additional 12%-15% fee for each item sold through the Offsite Ads program.

“Thanks to Offsite Ads, Etsy fees are an unpredictable expense that can take more than 20% of each transaction,” the petition site stated. “We have no control over how these ads are administered, or how much of our money is spent.”

Furthermore, Etsy created the Star Seller Program during the pandemic, which manages the terms of engagement with sellers and buyers, according to the protestors. The petition asks Etsy to dismantle the “bizarre” program altogether.

Protest organizers have asked sellers to turn on their vacation modes with a specific message alerting customers to the strike. Vacation mode essentially turns off a sellers’ Etsy shop.

According to Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, the fee increases will go to “significant investments in marketing, seller tools and creating a world-class customer experience so we can continue this tremendous growth,” he wrote in a February blog post announcing the changes to sellers. Etsy also plans to invest in other services and tools to make it easier for sellers to grow their business, including a new seller app.

Approximately 14,000 Etsy sellers are expected to participate in the strike.