Craft Yarn Council of America

CYCA Study Shows Younger Women Fuel Yarn Evolution

Young women ages 25-34 are the secret spark that’s fueling knitting and crochet yarn sales across the country, according to research commissioned in Fall, 2004, by Craft Yarn Council of America (CYCA).

Since 2002, participation in these crafts increased more than 150% in the 25-34 age category, jumping from 13% to 33% and representing 6.5 million. The 18-years-and-under age group increased 100%, growing from 8% to 16% or 5.7 million women. Women ages 55-64, followed by a 74% increase in participation, or 7.8 million.

Overall, 36% of American women–53 million-know how to knit or crochet, a 51% increase over the past ten years. Coincidentally, 13% of those surveyed can do both crafts.

The two-part market research study conducted for the Council by Research Incorporated of Atlanta, GA, closely paralleled research conducted by the CYCA in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002.

The 2004 study was designed to measure the incidence of U.S. women who know how to knit and crochet; describe yarn usage and shopping patterns among these women; identify which projects are popular and expenditures; and track changes over time. During October and November, 2004, Phase I of the study conducted 1200 telephone interviews from a random, nationally projectable sampling of U.S. households; and Phase II involved in-depth phone interviews among active knitters/crocheters (those who purchased yarn AND knitted or crocheted a project during the past year), again a nationally projectable sampling.

Not only is the incidence level up, but activity also is holding strong, as yarn purchasers made an average of 15.3 projects in 2004, virtually unchanged from 2002. Boding well for the future is the fact that 85% of crocheters and knitters interviewed said they will make as many or more projects next year. More than half of those under 35 years of age plan more projects in 2005.

The Craft Yarn Council’s own programs may be a secret weapon in the growth of this lifestyle trend, as its marketing and promotion efforts have produced a steady stream of editorials on knitting and crochet, and a strong Internet presence in the form of message boards, free instructions and helpful hints.

The new research indicates that 30% of women who knit or crochet refer to pattern books for project sources, 25% refer to magazines, 20% get their ideas from friends, while one out of 10 use the Internet to find project ideas. A growing number are using the Internet to find patterns, seek advice, purchase supplies, and chat with or meet other knitters and crocheters.

Up-to-date patterns are of major importance to respondents, as only 47% said they were “very satisfied” with up-to-date patterns available at their primary yarn retailer. More than 25% said they purchased “fashion yarn” in 2004 (defined as yarn with interesting textures, such as fur looks, metallics, chenille, and boucle).

The majority of knitters and crocheters, 37%, spend between $4-$7 per skein/ball of yarn, followed closely by 35% who spend between $2-$4 per skein/ball. 11% spend $7 -$10 per skein/ball, and another 11% spend $10 and up per skein/ball. CYCA’s Chairman, Richard Brown, confirms that “The investment that has been made in new yarns, new magazines and new patterns by our members is phenomenal, but it has paid off.”

Throws and afghans continue to be the favorite projects of both knitters and crocheters, with 53% reporting they made at least one in 2004, followed by baby blankets at 42%, and scarves at 35%. The top expenditures, however, were for shawl and poncho projects, which averaged $36, an increase of more than 60% from 2002, followed by throws/afghans at $32.40, and sweaters and vests at $31.30.

All project expenditures, except those for bazaar items, increased since 2002. These customers make an average of 2.8 visits to their primary yarn retailer per project, and buy other items when they’re in the store as well.

What research has shown over time is that knitters and crocheters are passionate about their crafts and grow more so with age. “It’s not a fad,” says Richard Brown, “it’s an evolution, a lifestyle phenomenon. And we at CYCA are committed to encouraging and developing this burgeoning craft network of devoted enthusiasts.”

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