What's new in various product categories; monthly
Yarn Sales: The Evidence
The data discounts a reporter's glib
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
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
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
(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 email@example.com.)