Generation Z shun their smartphones in favour of DIY – 8.6 million Brits have attended a craft class in the past year

  • Gen Z Brits are reigniting the UK ‘maker movement’, with two thirds (61%) attending a craft-based class in the past year.
  • Over a third (38%) say the desire for a digital detox is fuelling their interest, and one in five (21%) cite the need to be more eco-conscious.
  • Basic D.I.Y classes are tipped to be the next big trend for 2020.

Brits are going crazy for classes, with the number of these events on Eventbrite having risen by more than 350% across the UK from 2014 to 2018 – last year alone, we hosted more than 7,500 hobby and special interest workshops.

Featuring all sorts of weird and wonderful artforms including glass-blowing and underwear-making, collaging courses and Japanese Kintsugi, our figures indicate a boom in people seeking out new ways to learn creative skills and craft things with their own two hands.

To understand what’s fuelling the trend, we spoke to 1,000 British adults about their crafty habits. A staggering 22 million people have participated in a crafty class over the past twelve months, with the vast majority of those falling into the Gen Z bracket.

When asked about their motivations, more than a third of the UK population (39%) revealed they’ve taken up a craft class in order to challenge themselves to something new – and Gen Z are particularly motivated by a desire to immerse themselves in tech-free hobbies (38%), as well as bonding with other like-minded people (33%).

While unusual and quirky workshops are cropping up in their thousands, most Brits admit that mastering basic DIY skills is top of their agenda for 2020, with a quarter (26%) planning to attend a home repairs workshop in the new year, closely followed by upcycling furniture (25%), photography (22%), candle making, and jewellery making (18%).

Paul McCrudden, head of marketing at Eventbrite, UK and Ireland, said: “According to our data, the maker movement has been gaining pace rapidly over the past four years, with classes for quirky, hands-on hobbies leading the way.

“You can now find a masterclass to teach you how to create pretty much anything”

“You can now find a masterclass to teach you how to create pretty much anything – whether that’s learning how to turn discarded items into works of art, mastering the art of pottery or even getting to grips with making your own chocolate.

“It’s also fascinating to see that Brits are starting to break away from relying on tech to enhance their lives. Our data shows that almost a third of adults (29%) want to take part in an activity that doesn’t involve digital tech. Instead, learning to create something from nothing is becoming increasingly important – especially amongst Gen Z who are more likely (38%) than any other age group to choose a craft-led workshop to escape digital tech.”

People are striving to learn new talents, and it’s now so easy to learn from like-minded experts, whatever you’re into.

Claire Hemsley, founder of crafting company Dotty By Design runs regular Japanese Kintsugi classes. Speaking about the crafting movement she said: “Kintsugi is the traditional Japanese art of mending broken pottery with a golden seal – it’s a traditional technique that has been around in Japan for hundreds of years but is really starting to take off in the UK and we’ve had a lot of interest in it. Most of the people that come to our workshops do it because they love the thought of learning something new and experiencing the satisfaction that comes with creating something amazing with their own two hands. 

“Nowadays, we live in such a digitally-focussed world and we’re used to having everything we need at our fingertips. If something breaks, it can be replaced in just a matter of clicks on your smartphone – but so many people are starting to realise it doesn’t necessarily give them the satisfaction that crafting does. Plus there’s a real social side to the crafting movement too – it’s a great way to meet new people and try new things together.”

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