December is a month of many traditions: from mistletoe to menorahs, holiday-centric searches run the internet gamut. However, there’s one tradition that people tend to physically wear on their sleeves: the ugly Christmas sweater, perennial party favorite. We wanted to see if this tradition has developed over time and if so, what unique search trends would guide consumers while ugly Christmas sweater shopping. We found that this particular garment is beginning to transcend the holiday season with a pop culture spin.
Sweaters From a New Kind of Elf
We analyzed consumer sweater searches in the United States between October 1 and December 31, 2015 using the Jumpshot Keywords Research tool. This tool quickly detects search trends on site and keyword-specific levels, which are displayed in easily digestible and customizable graphs. Once you’ve identified a search trend with the tool, you can dive deeper into the keywords data and analyze the exact consumer search phrases behind it, in addition to their roles in driving traffic and sales to that website.
The keywords report revealed a strong Christmas sweater themed search trend: a full 53 percent of people looking for sweaters were specifically interested in ugly Christmas sweaters, indicating that they weren’t relying on Santa’s elf army for sweater delivery. Amazon dominated search traffic bringing in 29.6 percent of the Christmas sweater searchers, a trend that increased steadily as Christmas drew closer.
Second place went surprisingly to a niche website called Tipsy Elves – this site was the destination for more than a quarter of the sweater searchers, swooping over the more established DIY marketplace Etsy, which only brought in 17 percent of the search click-throughs. Other notable niche sites deserve honorable mentions for gaining more search traffic than traditional e-commerce destinations, like uglychristmassweater.com and thesweaterstore.com, which each enjoyed 14 plus percent of the traffic.
By sweater bling, we are not talking about searches for bedazzlers. We’re talking about rapper Drake’s hit single ‘Hotline Bling’, which became a pop culture sensation just in time for the holiday shopping season. From October through December, 14.1 percent of total sweater searches were for pop-culture related sweaters, of which Drake’s ‘hotline bling’ accounted for 40 percent. In the words of TMZ, Drake’s hotline bling Xmas sweaters was selling like holiday hotcakes. Star Wars came in second place, accounting for 29 percent of pop-culture related searches. This is no surprise considering that the well-awaited ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ hit theaters in December.
As for Drake’s huge sweater success? Though the song dropped back in October, perhaps his multi-religious appeal (he’s half Jewish and half Christian), combined with his meme-worthy online presence, made Drake-inspired sweaters highly coveted this holiday season.
Bottom Line: While typical ugly Christmas sweaters continue to be popular, culturally relevant sweater searches were very significant. Our Keywords Research tool helps detect and track search trends like this one in just a couple of clicks. As for the future of this specific trend, considering that sweaters depicting Chewbacca or a rap star are not tied to a holiday, chances are that owners of such garments will continue to wear them with a sense of satirical pride until temperatures begin to rise. We’ll keep you posted about this and other unique consumer search and browsing trends soon, so stay tuned!