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What's new in various product categories; monthly update.

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Yarn Sales: The Evidence

The data discounts a reporter's glib assumption.

by Marilyn Murphy, Interweave Press (January 2, 2006)

(Note: A recent issue of Crain's Chicago Business included an article on the growth of needlepoint, but included a casual aside, "the recent knitting craze is dying down." There was no evidence to support that statement. That inspired Marilyn Murphy, President and Publisher of Interweave Press and VP of The National NeedleArts Assn., to write to Crain's with a copy to CLN.)

Dear Editor:

Gretchen Wahlís article "On point: new stitch trend" in the December 12 issue, which states that "the recent knitting craze is dying down," is false reporting without supporting evidence. If Ms. Wahl had done her research, she would know that the knitting industry is still going strong; more men and women are picking up the needles and learning to knit then ever before.

The 6th annual Craftrends magazine 2005 Consumer Participation Survey, released earlier this month, reports that 18 percent of all crafters bought knitting kits or supplies in the last year, up from 15 percent in 2004 and 13 percent in 2003.

The National NeedleArts Association just finished a third-party survey of the independent side of the wholesale, retail and active needleartist consumer market. There were over 3,600 needlearts shops in early 2005, two-thirds of them knitting and crochet, one-quarter needlepoint, and one-eighth counted thread. Active U.S. needleartists spent an estimated $1.07 billion in 2004--about $760 million on knitting and crochet supplies, $230 million on needlepoint, and $80 million on counted thread and embroidery.

Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. women know how to knit or crochet, according to the Craft Yarn Council of Americaís consumer research study, released in Feb. 2005. This change represents a 51 percent increase in the past ten years and significant gains since 2002. The biggest gains are in the 25 to 34 age group, where the percentage jumped from 13 percent to 33 percent between 2002 and 2004, more than a 150 percent increase in two years.

The knitting trend gained national attention in the late 1990s when Hollywood celebrities started knitting backstage on movie and television sets. Today, knitting is still just as cool. Itís become part of the culture, like running or playing poker. Knitting yarns are showing up in chain stores like Target and in expanded retail space in other national retail shops, knitting cafes are opening around the country for those who want to link their java with their knitting, new knitting television shows and magazines are launching each year, like Knitscene, our new magazine geared for the new generation of knitters, and books about knitting dominate the Nielsen Bookscan Craft and Hobbies best-seller list.

Thatís not a dying craze Ė and Crainís Chicago Business should recognize this.

(Note: To read previous "Category Reports" articles, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To comment on Marilyn's letter, email CLN at mike@clnonline.com.)

xxx

 

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Category Reports Recent Columns...
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QUILT MARKET, PT. I; Changing colors, more wool -- lots of trends.

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