Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Stockinette Market: October 2014

Hello, knitters! As I write this, the sun is beginning to disappear at the ripe old time of 3:30 in the afternoon, I have the space heater trained on my feet, and there's a lot of what sounds suspiciously like holiday music playing in the stores.  October saw the end of the fall knitting season, and we are well and truly into gift-giving land for the knitters of the world.  Before I get started on stats, I wanted to give a shout out to an awesome event starting tomorrow(!!!), November 13th, over on Ravelry: the Gift-a-Long 2014! With a whopping 293 participating designers (including myself) offering discounts on over 3,800 patterns, you can't help but find something you love.  After the sale is complete, we'll all join in on the KAL, working furiously on those presents for the holiday season.  More details are up in the Gift-a-Long 2014 group on Ravelry--including the massive list of all participating designers and their patterns--but in the meantime, check out the sweet stats one of the organizers put together!

All right, let's look back at October, when leaves were orange on the trees, "Rhinebeck sweater" were the words on everyone's lips, and on October 9th, Casey at Ravelry made some serious changes to the way Hot Right Now is structured.  Starting with this thread and this poll, you can see some very interesting discussions about how different people utilize, understand, and appreciate Hot Right Now.  After long discussion, Casey made these changes to the Hot Right Now algorithms (detailed in post #266), which should significantly cut down on patterns whose place on Hot Right Now is gained by clicking through from a blind link and then leaving soon thereafter.   How is this important to us? Often times, those blind links are in the Ravelry forums, announcing that X pattern is free for a limited time, or on discount for a limited time. 

In addition, on the 29th, this change was announced for all patterns going forward: patterns will no longer be able to have promotional text on the photo or additional keywords besides the title in the pattern name.  You all know from reading the Stockinette Market that free patterns, especially those that are free for a limited time, have held a significant place in the rankings, and in recent months more and more people have begun using text in the main photo to indicate a discount or promo.  Though I didn't see a huge difference in any of our major categories once these shifts occurred (garment, yarn, model, fabric, and color), the composition of Hot Right Now itself looks very different as a page. Definitely check it out if you haven't been looking in a while!

With those details in mind, let's take a look at the numbers! (Also known as, Bristol's been talking for a while; bring on the pretty graphs.)

Neck accessories continued to decline over the month, going from 30% in September to 24% in October.  Cowls and hats took the second and third spot, with cowls up 4% and hats remaining steady.  Garments also remained steady at 12% each.  We kept the same number of categories as we had last month, but swapped out toys for ponchos as that accessory begins to make its presence known again in the knitting world.  Overall, I definitely want to continue to watch how cowls and neck accessories interact in the future. At this time last year, neck accessories held 31% of the average and cowls held 14%; while there are certain ebbs and flows of popularity (for example, cowls are at around 4% through much of the summer), that falling number for neck accessories is definitely an important one.

We saw a few major spikes in garment type in October, but the interesting thing is that, despite several publications and promos, only one was really associated with these; this was with children's garments at the beginning of the month, concurrent with a "free for a limited time" promo by Mon Petit Violon.  There were two large organic spikes in neck accessories a week later, and two smaller organic ones throughout the month.  Pullovers had an organic spike mid month, and there were several further spikes throughout the month.  Indeed, many different garment types traded for dominance in October.  The one clear winner in terms of trajectory was cardigans; this saw strong play (but no real spikes) at the end of the month with the publication of Pom Pom Quarterly Winter 14, Vogue Holiday 2014, and Interweave Winter 2015.  Pullovers, hats, cowls, kids, and socks all fell over the month. 

Solid and semi-solid yarns traded for dominance throughout October, with solids spiking concurrent with the Mon Petit Violon promo (along with 2-color projects, typical of Mon Petit Violon's work).  They then fell as the month continued, with semi-solids climbing slightly.  There were slight climbs in tweeds and multi-color knits through the month, and a notable spike in self-striping yarns near the end of the month both organically and in association with a Ravelry spotlight on gradients.

Model type remained steady through the month, with modeled garments retaining a clear dominance.  It's interested to note that there was a clear spike in mystery knits towards the end of the month, something we haven't really seen before, perhaps associated with the Halloween holiday.  Items shown flat also had several spikes, the first associated with Mon Petit Violon and the rest organic.  Dressforms also saw a small spike on the 12th.
Texture remained the dominant fabric type almost entirely through October, with two small trades for stockinette at the beginning and at the end of the month.  Stockinette saw several further spikes, along with colorwork and one spike in lace.  Cables were still low, but maintained a decent chunk of the market.  Each category remained steady across the month.

Colors were as wildly variable as we've come to expect, but grey and blue continued to dominate (though the former climbed and the latter dropped).  Again, as we saw above, the only color spike associated with a promo or publication came with Mon Petit Violon at the beginning of the month with a spike in white; all other spikes appear to be organic.  Interesting to note is that several colors spikes that don't typically see the spotlight: purple (falling throughout the month) and brown (climbing).  Yellow and green had slight rises as well, but all others maintained or fell slightly.

This has been an interesting month for data; despite several publications and promos, the data was truly in the hands of the knitters.  This seems to be the case both pre- and post-Hot Right Now changes, so it will be interesting to see what will happen moving forward.  Stay tuned, and I'll see you in December!