2016 Website ImprovementsMLPMerch.com 5.0, with a 'flat' and much cleaner design. We changed our official name from All About MLP Merch to simply MLP Merch and released various new databases as well.
Besides these changes there have been a few tweaks to improve performance and readability, but in the last 6 months nothing big has changed and we're happy with how the site works right now.
In regards to devices we see a small shift from tablets to smartphone users, but the amount of visitors from desktop (and laptop) devices is pretty stable compared to last year.
The Blind Bags database is still the most popular database on our site and we see a particular quick growth of the Guardians of Harmony database this year. Overall the blog has a tad more visitors (52%) over database visitors.
On social media most followers can be found on Tumblr, but Instagram is growing fast. The amount of followers on Twitter and Facebook are getting close to the same number, while Facebook used to be the bigger group.
2016 Survey ResultsWe're a bit late with the results, but we wanted to incorporate them in this post as a nice wrap-up. In the coming week we're also planning on sending some personal responses to some respondents and of course give away a free t-shirt!
Below is a summary of what we saw in the survey results:
- Most of our visitors are adults (mainly 18-34), but we see a big group just below 18 as well (28%)
- United States is well represented, followed by (after a big gap) the UK, Australia and Canada.
- Mostly female visitors (68%)
- Many visitors are collectors, with a pretty even split between bronies/pegasisters and people who're only in to merch
- Our blog is the busiest place with the most people who visit them daily
- Most people use a smartphone to visit our website, but if we combine the group of desktop + laptop users it's still a bigger percentage (which matches our infographic)
- Google introduced most of you to our website (43%) and another huge 26% through social media
- The most popular articles are those about official Hasbro merch, followed by licensed merch. Other topics are all somewhat popular, but reviews are the least likes post types
- An overwhelming 98% of you likes our website lay-out and 97% of you like the mobile version is too
- Most of you like our giveaways (71%)
- Interesting enough more people who filled in our survey use Facebook than Tumblr (in contrast to our follower base). Pinterest and Google+ are the least used social platforms
- If we were to start Patreon only a small amount of you would be willing to donate (22%). Those who would are mostly interested in giveaways or shirts in return
- 42% of the respondents has an account on MLP Merch, those without an account don't see a reason to have one
- People are quite positive about the state of the databases, but some still miss some items or see errors in the listings
- Loads of people are looking forward to the changes we proposed, most of them would like to add notes on their checklist, print it out or create an additional list
- The favorite database types of people (brushables, blind bags, eqg, funko) matches with what we see in our pageviews
- Most people wish for a clothing database, which is something we're going to work on!
- Our current preview features (find my pony, characteristics, details page) got great reviews, so we'll release them for more databases soon
- The forums are still enjoyed by those who browse them (but activity levels could be higher)
2017 Plans and Predictions2017 is going to be the year of many more Reboot Series brushables which, judging by the responses on social media, is going to be a tough year for Hasbro. While previous lines got overwhelmingly positive responses, the Reboot Series is a mix of mildly enthusiastic people and a crowd of disappointed fans. Hasbro could see a drop in sales of regular brushables as people might shift to Guardians of Harmony figures, or skip Hasbro figures all together.
What's also going to happen in 2017 is the official full-length G4 My Little Pony movie in October. Towards the Toy Fair next year we hope to learn a bit more about the merch that will tie in with the movie. It could be another wave of Reboot Series of brushables, but personally we're hoping on a secondary Guardians of Harmony-like series (more Fan Series figures are always welcome).
Next year there will not be a new Equestria Girls movie, but three episode-length shorts will be released on 2017, so more stories, clothing and characters will come to the Equestria Girls universe. The question is: Will the line of dolls continue or will Hasbro only focus on the Equestria Girls Minis? The thing is that the latest minis are called just "Equestria Girls" so the Mini part is gone and it could indicate the normal dolls will be discontinued.
Besides the merch prediction we also have a few plans for 2017 in regards to our websites, which will include:
- G1-G3 database (thanks to everyone who donated images so far!)
- MLP clothing database
- MLP Magazine database (will be combined with Media)
- LPS merch website (after many requests, the expected release date is the first quarter of 2017)
- More checklist/wishlist features
- A new mobile app (sorry for the delays)
... And that was our wrap-up for this year! As always you can reach out to us for feedback, questions or just a quich chat.
Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and we wish you all the very best for 2017!