Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade: Where to Buy the Best Hand-Crafted Finds Online

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Deciding between shopping Etsy or Amazon Handmade? We broke down the differences between each handcrafted gifts retailer so you can find the best fit for your gifting needs.

When you’re looking for the perfect handmade gift or something unique for your own home, online shops are an easy go-to. It’s fun to browse thousands of individually handmade items, from unusual candles and plants to new job gifts. The items are made with love by individual sellers, and it’s a great way to support small businesses—many of which are operated by women and people of color.

Right now, there are two main online retailers competing for your attention when it comes to showcasing artisans and handcrafted goods: Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade. But is one a better fit for your shopping needs than the other? Before you start filling that cart with handmade goodies, check out the differences between Etsy and Amazon Handmade on shipping, prices, sales and returns.

What’s the difference between Etsy and Amazon Handmade?

Etsy’s humble beginnings started in 2005. Since then, the site has operated as an outlet for millions of crafty artisans to sell their wares from personalized wedding gifts and jewelry to handmade soaps and tea towels. Etsy is the place to shop for party decorations, holiday gifts and home accents you simply can’t find anywhere else.

Amazon launched its Amazon Handmade section in 2015. Now, the online retailer boasts products from over two million sellers. You can shop everything from knitted throws and custom cutting boards to candles from the handmade department all in one place. And since you likely already have an Amazon account, adding Handmade finds to your cart is easy. Keep reading for everything you need to know about Amazon Handmade in time for Amazon Prime Day.

All About Etsy

Whether you’re shopping from your desktop or using Etsy’s mobile app, the shopping experience is seamless. Shop by category, browse curated top picks or shop by gift category. If all else fails, it’s easy to search within the site and find matches for what you’re looking for.

Etsy’s marketplace includes handmade items, vintage finds and craft supplies. Reselling is only allowed in the vintage and craft supplies categories. Everything listed in the handmade category must be made or designed by the seller.

Some products found on Etsy may be a bit more expensive than your average retailer. Etsy sellers set their own prices, but they also have to pay Etsy listing, transaction and process fees to sell their wares on the platform. Items are crafted by the seller and made without mass production equipment, which also explains the higher costs. But it’s all due to the handmade touch! The superior quality from skilled artisans far outweighs the slight cost increase.

Some of Our Favorite Etsy Finds

All About Amazon Handmade

Shopping categories on Amazon Handmade include everything from jewelry and home decor to clothing and bath products. You can choose the Handmade department when shopping Amazon on a computer, or find it under the Home & DIY category on the mobile app. Everything sold on Handmade must be handmade, hand-altered or hand-assembled. Mass-produced products are not allowed to be sold on the marketplace and an application process ensures sellers meet that standard.

It’s easy to find the perfect item by filtering categories or finding gift suggestions sorted by recipient, price or occasion. Some items may seem a bit pricier on Handmade due to the quality craftsmanship, but overall, pricing isn’t overly expensive. Amazon Handmade doesn’t charge listing fees to their sellers. Instead, there’s a 15% fee per sale.

If you’re an Amazon shopper already, the Amazon Handmade shopping experience will be just like you’re used to. Plus, if you’re a Prime member, you can sort by Prime-eligible products to find handmade items that will arrive to your door with free delivery. With Amazon Prime Day right around the corner, it’s the best time to shop from independent creators.

Some of Our Favorite Amazon Handmade Finds

Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade: Which costs more?

Because both retailers spotlight handcrafted items and quality craftsmanship, the pricing for like products on Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade are neck and neck. Both sites charge fees for sellers, which can often be reflected in the cost of an item. Amazon charges a flat fee of 15% per sale, while Etsy charges fees for transactions, listings and processing.

Really, where the cost differs most is shipping. Most often, sellers on Etsy don’t offer free shipping, and that’s mainly because items are shipped directly from the artisan. Amazon Handmade offers more items with free shipping because of the option to use the Amazon Prime shipping system (but you’ll have to pay to become a Prime member). Plenty of items still require additional payment for shipping, but there’s an entire section of gifts and other goods on Amazon Handmade that ship for free.

Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade: Which has sales?

Depending on the seller and occasion, both Etsy and Amazon Handmade offer sales and deals. On a daily basis, Amazon Handmade features a Today’s Deals page showcasing savings across the department. Don’t miss out on shopping discounted Handmade finds on Amazon Prime Day, which runs July 12-13. Check out what items are eligible via the Handmade Prime Day Launches category.

Etsy leaves it up to individual sellers to offer a deal. But if there’s a steal to be found, you can find it by clicking the “on sale” button on the homepage. There are certainly other sales events and promos from time to time for both retailers, especially around the holidays. But for everyday discounted shopping, you’ll find the best deals on these sales pages. When it comes to Etsy vs. Amazon handmade for sales, it’s a tie.

When it comes to Black Friday deals, both Etsy and Amazon are excellent sites to shop. Etsy typically hosts an entire Cyber Week Sales Event, complete with discounts of up to 60 percent off. Shoppers who use the Etsy app get exclusive early access to the sale. The Black Friday discount is an excellent opportunity to stock up on special, heartfelt gifts for everyone on your list.

You can also expect to find deals on Amazon Handmade items throughout Amazon’s Black Friday event. Just like the online retailer’s serious discounts on electronics, toys, and more, you’ll likely find deals on Amazon Handmade items, too. The sales tend to run quickly, though, so be sure and check Amazon often for the most up-to-date information.

Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade: What are the return policies?

One of the best things about Amazon is the retailer’s return policy. And the beauty of Amazon Handmade is that it pretty well follows suit. Purchases are backed by Amazon’s 30-day return policy, with some exclusions for customized products. Be sure to check the fine print before you hit buy.

On Etsy, sellers aren’t required by the platform to accept returns and exchanges or provide refunds. There isn’t a sitewide policy, so any return policies fall to the seller’s discretion. Each shop clearly states its return policy in its profile. Some artisans may accept returns, but it’s all up to their individual preference. Again, take a look at the policy before you buy.

If you’re comparing Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade for returns, Amazon has the competitive edge.

The Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, there really is no right or wrong answer between Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade for shopping. While it’s simple to hop on Amazon and shop, it’s just as accessible on Etsy. Plus, not all artisans are on both sites so you may have to shop both Etsy and Amazon Handmade. We certainly do!

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Molly Allen
Molly Allen is a previous bakery owner and former event planner. Now, a freelance writer and editor focused on food and beverage, lifestyle, travel and parties, she brings her years of experience and industry knowledge to readers across a variety of platforms.