It is difficult to accurately determine the number of businesses involved in the production and sale of art and craft items. Data sources usually used to count the number of businesses in an industry, such as the Australian Business Register, do not separately identify art and craft producers - they are generally combined with other businesses in the creative arts industry such as self-employed composers, songwriters and writers.
As art and craft producers generally work independently and are often not part of any formal network, developing a list of organisations (including people working for themselves) who are representative of the industry is problematic. Consequently, the ABS has not undertaken surveys of art and craft producers in the past.
Collecting information on the activities of those who sell art and craft items is also difficult. Those involved in the sale of arts and crafts are generally counted with retailers of a range of other items in any business listings. Sales also regularly by-pass formal retail channels with producers selling directly, or selling through markets or fairs.
The 1999-2000 ABS survey of Commercial Art Galleries, Australia (cat. no. 8651.0) is one of the few business surveys to be conducted to gather information on those who sell art and craft items. This publication is available on the ABS website.