Friday, September 19, 2014

Stockinette Market: Summer 2014

Well hello there! It seems like it was just yesterday that I had the space heater trained on my feet at my desk, a hot mug of tea at my elbow as I wrote the previous Stockinette Market post (it was not a warm start to the summer here in Maine).  And suddenly here we are in the third week of September, a glorious, balmy fall day, poised and ready for prime knitting season! Though--as you'll see from the data below--summer is a slower, mellower time for knitting consumers, that's definitely not the case when you work in the industry.  Despite my best intentions to keep up with stats posts throughout the summer, the amount of traveling, teaching, day-to-day work, and deadlines on my plate made it very tricky.  So, my apologies for the unintended hiatus! But hopefully I can make it up to you with a super-sized edition this time around.
Though the organic trends we saw in May slowed down and there were only a few publications throughout most of the summer, there were no radical changes in percentages.  The big three--neck accessories, cardigans, and pullovers--maintained their lead, but lost a few points to each of a few other categories: homegoods, kid's, and hats.  Kid's patterns benefited greatly from a few separate incidences: Brooklyn Tweed's BT Kids launch in mid-June, new children's patterns from Melissa LaBarre and Ysolda, and the "going out of business" freebie release of Boomer Beanies at the end of June.  But, as you can see from the individual months' breakdowns below, kid's items dropped 5% from June to July, back closer to their previous percentage; garments also saw a good amount of play in June due to the release of Knitty First Fall, Norah Gaughan vol. 15, and Knitscene Fall 14.  July saw neck accessories gaining back a few points, almost to their May numbers, while garments dropped.  This slack was taken up by homegoods, thanks to a Ravelry spotlight on bags.  August saw cardigans taking a further percentage, due to the release of several garment-heavy collections: Twist Collective Fall 14, Interweave Knits Fall 14, Pom Pom Quarterly Autumn 14, Kelbourne Woolens' Knightsbridge Collection, Kirsten Johnstone's Monochrome collection for Shibui, Shibui's own Fall 14 collection, and Kim Hargreaves' North--most of which were published within a few days of each other.  Whew! We're also starting to see the creeping return of cold-weather necessities: for the first time since March, mitts are making an appearance.

Overall, though, in comparison to this time last year, one trend to watch is the overall drop in neck accessory percentages.  Last year in June they held an average of 46%, and continued strong throughout the summer.  They dropped for the winter slightly, and while they've climbed from their lowest point (22% in December), they haven't yet made up the ground lost.  It will be interesting to see where they go over the coming northern hemisphere winter.
Though most garment trends remained relatively steady over the summer, there was a slight decrease in neck accessories, and an even more marked decline in pullovers, despite the garment-heavy collections mentioned above (themselves responsible for the spike in pullovers at the beginning of August).  It remains unclear whether this trend is a result of a bias within the collections themselves, or whether it's an all-over trend towards cardigans after a pullover-heavy year.  It's one to watch, for sure!

There was one massive spike in kid's garments late in June as a result of the Boomer Beanies promo, and a smaller spike in kid's garments concurrent with BT Kids. There were also several neck accessory spikes arising organically throughout.  There was also a slight rise in homegoods, tied to the Ravelry spotlight on bags mentioned above.  All other categories remained relatively steady.

Though yarn type remained pretty much steady across the summer, dominance traded several times between solid and semi-solid yarn during that time.  The former had a huge spike in relation to the Boomer Beanies promo and also in association with the Ravelry spotlight on bags.  Also prominent with the Boomer Beanies promo was a spike in 3+ -color projects, as many of the items featured were in multiple colors.  Semi-solids saw play organically throughout the summer, and tweed got a boost during BT Kids and during the Shibui collections in August.  2-color projects also saw a lot of organic action across the summer.

Modeled garments saw a very slight decline over the summer, with a spikes corresponding to the Boomer Beanies promo, the early August release of the model-heavy magazines and collections.  Items modeled flat also fell slightly, and there was a small organic rise in dressforms over the summer as well.  Mystery knits remained steady; though several prominent designers held summer MKALs, there were not enough at one time to make a dent.

Though there were many variations in fabric type over the summer, the only clear spikes were in texture and colorwork, corresponding with the Boomer Beanies promo.  Lace continued its decline from May, and texture, colorwork, and stockinette all rose.  Cables continued steadily as the smallest portion of the group, but they may shift higher in September's report due to some heavy use in collections and individual pieces.
The steady, clear trendlines of the other categories were also reflected in color throughout the summer.  Though there were several large spikes in white, blue, and grey, non of them especially swayed the course of their respective trends over the months.  Grey, red, and orange all rose very slightly and mostly organically.  All others remained relatively steady.  It's interesting to note that even with the shift of seasons and with the rise in those trendlines, we didn't see much by way of brighter, warmer colors this summer; the most prevalent colors (cool tones and neutrals) were the same as have been popular throughout the year.  We'll see what those look like as autumnal colors start to make their presence known!

So all in all, a calm summer in terms of trends.  I've heard it said multiple times that a knitter's interest shifts outside in the summertime, away from yarn, and back inside once the first cold snap hits in the fall.  Though my own attention never leaves the needles, it's true that once fall hits, it turns up to 11.  So it will be interesting to see what September's numbers bring!

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