Etsy Tops $1 Billion in 2013 Product Sales on Mobile Lift

Etsy Inc., a website for handmade and vintage goods, has already sold more than $1 billion in merchandise this year as customers increasingly view products on mobile devices.

The New York startup, which had $895 million in gross merchandise sales for all of last year, passed the $1 billion milestone in October, setting the company up for another year of growth, Chief Executive Officer Chad Dickerson said in an interview.

The company’s biggest quarter tends to be the holiday season, during which Dickerson expects customers to start coming to the site mostly via mobile phones. Etsy has updated its applications for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google Inc.’s Android in anticipation of the trend, with a design emphasizing product images.

“This will be the holiday of mobile,” Dickerson said. “Customers will start visiting the site mostly via mobile sometime during the holiday season, or definitely by early 2014.”

Etsy, which is profitable though has not disclosed its revenue, takes a 3.5 percent cut of all merchandise sold on its site, plus 20 cents for listing products. It also makes money via advertising.

The company expects a new revenue line to come out of its business putting Etsy sellers’ products in brick and mortar stores, like Nordstrom Inc., but hasn’t yet figured out that business model, Dickerson said.

Last month, the company loosened rules for sellers on its platform to allow them to use outside manufacturers and hire employees. The change allowed vendors that had cultivated their businesses on Etsy to keep expanding on the site while still qualifying as “handmade.”