Ready to level up your merch game? Well then, welcome to the first quarterly edition of Fan Study.
Earlier this year we launched the very first Fan Study – an exploration into Spotify data to uncover insights about how fans behave all over the world. These insights are designed to help you and your team better understand your fans and get one step closer to developing the fanbase you need to reach your goals.
Today, we’re excited to share with you the latest from our Fan Study program: Editions. These quarterly installments will each focus on a specific theme, starting with a topic that’s important to artists everywhere – merch. Tens of thousands of artists on Spotify list merch in the Offers section of their artist profiles, so we dug into the data and analyzed how hundreds of millions of listeners engage with merch. Our data shows that the way fans listen to your music may just hold the key to stepping up your merch game.
You may have heard that most people shop online in the middle of the week – but when it comes to merch, it’s the exact opposite.
According to Spotify data, more clicks on artists’ merch happen over the weekend. On average, you can expect to see 18.4% more clicks each day Friday through Sunday than the remaining days of the week.
And merch trends don’t just fluctuate within the week – they also change with the seasons:
- April and May show the biggest overall spikes, with an average of 16.8% more merch sales per month compared to rest of the year
- Vinyl also spikes in April and May, with an average 29.0% higher sales per month
- November and December see 25.5% higher sales for outerwear compared to all other months
- T-shirt sales are highest in August, up 17.2% compared to the monthly average for the rest of the year
Timing alone isn’t everything. Make the most of new merch drops, restocks, and promotions by connecting your Shopify store with your Spotify for Artists account. Once connected, you can select up to three merch items from Shopify to list on your Spotify artist profile. Add your most exciting new items on Fridays to take advantage of merch click spikes throughout the weekend, and update new merch offerings with the seasons to keep up with trends and optimize clicks.
More than half of all merch clicks come in the first 24 days after a new release.
In the days and weeks surrounding a new release, fans flock to your artist profile. And while they’re there, they click on your merch more than any other time – and it’s not even close.
When we look at the first six months after a release, on average we see that fans view merch 7.2x more on release day vs. other days, 4.0x more in the first week vs. other weeks, and 2.1x more in the first month vs. other months.
Your new release helps you grab the attention of listeners, new and old, and this vital window can provide you with lots of organic opportunities to promote your merch.
You can make the most of this boost in traffic by refreshing the photos, bio, and merch featured on your artist profile in the weeks surrounding your launch. Every little thing you do will encourage fans to linger a little longer, explore your shop, and dig deeper.
It comes as no surprise that diehard fans of your music are also diehard fans of your merch. But our data shows that making even the smallest connection with fans can have a big impact on their engagement with your merch. For example: Fans who have followed an artist, playlisted a track, or simply liked a track account for more than 67% of fans clicking on that artist’s merch.
Staying top-of-mind with fans can have a big impact on the success of your merch. Consider using Marquee, which can increase how much fans save or playlist your music by an average of 2.2x – because your music and your merch are better together.
Surprisingly, Spotify data shows that a lot of merch engagement also comes from new fans who just discovered you. And not the first week or month – we are talking day one.
New fans are 7.8x more likely to click on your merch the very first day they discover you, compared to just one day later. That first day represents more merch clicks on average than the next 40 days combined.
And this trend doesn’t stop with merch. New fans are also 7.0x more likely to click your Artist Fundraising Pick the first day they listen to your music, compared to the following day. On average, the number of first day Artist Fundraising Pick clicks is larger than the next 37 days combined.
In addition to featuring your latest merch, add an Artist Fundraising Pick to your artist profile so new fans can support you right after they fall in love with your music.
We already know that fans come to your artist profile to do a lot more than listen. They get to know you, they discover your favorite things, they make plans to see you live, and, of course, they eye your merch. And as any apparel designer will tell you, when your customers are window shopping, your product needs to pop.
But when we did a little browsing of our own, we were surprised to see that nearly half of all the T-shirts stocked by artists on Spotify are black. And if you add white and gray shirts into the mix, that number goes up to nearly 80%.
So if you want your next run of merch to turn heads, and have a better shot at turning clicks into sales, the answer might be as simple as letting your true colors show.
When you link your Shopify store to Spotify, you can also update the items featured in your artist profile with the click of a button. And, if you’re so inclined, make sure your colorful tees are front and center.
While there are some tried-and-true rules for merch, as with anything in music, the rule breakers tend to stand out. Look no further than Fans First, a Spotify email marketing program that enables artists to sell unique or exclusive offers – like concert presales, merch, and more – to their biggest fans on Spotify.
Creating unique merch has not only allowed artists to stand out with their Fans First offers, but it’s helped them create a closer connection with fans. For inspiration, here are some of the top-performing Fans First merch campaigns from 2021:
Our Top Tips To Help You Get The Most Out of Your Merch
While it’s next to impossible to perfectly predict merch trends or which items will hit next, the way your fans consume your music can give you a lot of clues about how they behave as consumers. And as we combed through our data, we landed on four things you and your team can do – quickly – to get the most out of your merch on Spotify.
Link your Shopify store to Spotify to get more control over how your merch is featured in your artist profile. Manage the three items that your fans see, easily update featured items with the seasons, and make sure your new merch is front and center when your new music drops.
Add an Artist Fundraising Pick to your artist profile so your fans can support you – whether they’re in the mood for merch or not.
Consider using Marquee to deepen your connection with fans and increase the likelihood they’ll save or playlist your music. Don’t forget: Your high-intent fans drive the majority of merch clicks.
Make sure your concert and festival dates are set up correctly with our ticketing partner sites to make sure your fans know when to catch you – and your merch – IRL.
Creating, producing and getting your merch into the hands of fans is no small task. But we’ve seen time and time again that your music and your merch perform better together. So we’ll keep digging for more ways to use Spotify tools to help you turn fans of your music into fans of your merch.
In the meantime, look out for the next Fan Study Edition in early 2022, where we'll continue to offer you the insights you need to build and strengthen your fanbase.
METHODOLOGY & DISCLAIMERS
- These data points reference Spotify on-platform app clicks only. These trends may not be the same across similar platforms.
- It’s possible that artists may have been running promotional campaigns during the timeframe.
- Insight 1: We looked at the app clicks to determine trends for days of the week from 2021-01-01 to 2021-10-22. For monthly seasonality, we looked at sales volume from 2017-01-01 to 2021-10-22.
- Insight 2: We looked at the uplift in app clicks on merch relative to the recency of a new release vs. an average day between 2021-09-01 and 2021-10-22.
- Insight 3: We looked at app clicks of fans who either followed an artist, playlisted a track, or saved a track before the app click, compared to fans who took no such action, from 2021-10-01 to 2021-10-22.
- Insight 4: We looked at app clicks relative to the number of days since a listener first listened to a track from 2021-07-01 to 2021-07-31.
- Insight 5: This insight explores total T-shirt inventory on Spotify by color (based on item description) from 2021-8-22 to 2021-10-22.
- Insight 6: These results reflect 2021 Fans First merch campaigns between 2021-01-01 and 2021-10-31.