The Year of the Ugly Sweater

Vice President, Consumer Insights Products

Most people are now familiar with "Ugly Sweater" theme parties. They have been around for years and are an excuse for people to get together around the holidays. However, something I accidentally discovered recently in our data suggests that this year the trendy purchase has reached a tipping point and accelerated into hypergrowth.

The 1010data Online Insights product line measures the online shopping activity of over 5 million consumers in the U.S. We help consumer brands understand which products and brands are most popular on which sites so they can optimize product lines, pricing, and promotions. For some holiday fun, I took a quick look at products with "ugly sweater" in the name. For total sweaters sold, this also only includes item names with "sweater" in it. Since this article was just for fun, I didn't want to burn a lot of our data scientists’ time trying to determine every type of sweater or debate what is and what is not a sweater.

In looking at the data, I discovered that Ugly Sweater sales are skyrocketing this year.

Particularly, a brand called Alex Stevens (never heard of them). According to our data their sales volume went from zero units all year to selling 60k ugly sweaters just last month with an average price of around $30 that adds up to an impressive single month growth for Alex Stevens.

In all there have been over 200k ugly sweater purchases online this year according to our data, 180k just from last month (November). This is just online and items with "ugly sweater" in the title. When you search "ugly sweater" on major shopping sites, there are a lot more that don't have that in the title, so these estimates are conservative.

Ugly Sweater Online Sales By Month Ugly sweaters made up 4% of the over 6 million sweaters sold online in November through mass merchants. Out of 1200 sweater brands, Alex Stevens ranked 14 in unit volume in November.

Top Ugly Sweater Brands

Top Ugly Sweater Brands Google Trends supports this ugly sweater growth trend. There are 4 times more searches for ugly sweaters this holiday season than last year and 20-times that of 5 years ago.

Google Trends Searches for "Ugly Sweater"

Google Trends Searches For Ugly Sweater  Many may remember 2014 as the year of the selfie, but I’ll remember it as the year ugly sweaters became oh so pretty. The lesson here is that the next time someone tells you their business is ugly, be sure to congratulate them on their great success!

What about you? Have you, or anyone you know, bought an ugly sweater this holiday season?  I’d love to hear your feedback and see the sweaters. Tweet us pictures @1010data !