Tentatively, my understanding is that Spyderco offers retailers/distributors a range of steels, a range of G10/FRN colors, and a range of blade finishes. Each combination of the three parameters can become an exclusive.
Then, retailers choose their combinations based on distinctiveness, steel desirability, and brand strength. We see some exclusives where the steel was prioritized - It's likely the 4V line from St. Nick's would have sold out just as fast if it wasn't red and black. We see other exclusives where the distinctiveness and brand strength locks the retailer into combinations that might not be the best fit. I know a bunch of us would have found the Rock Lobster exclusive even more compelling if it had been done in a steel that was anywhere close to stainless; unfortunately BHQ's branding made M4 inevitable.
That said, to speak to SpydieTerp's point: The market is both fickle and swift; steels that are extremely desired in one quarter may not be as sought-after later in the year. I'm sure it would be beneficial for the consumers to do a larger drop, but for the retailers, it's much better to strike while the hype is peaking, even if you only sell a few hundred knives. Better that than to be stuck with 4000 of a model combination that is seen as less desirable...
EDC Rotation: PITS, Shaman, CF S90v Shaman, Ikuchi, Amalgam, CruCarta Shaman, DLC Lil Native, Sage 5 LW, 4V Shaman, Rex 45 Shaman, Rex 45 Lil Native, Serrated Caribbean Sheepsfoot CQI, Tanto PM2, Serrated Shaman, XHP Shaman, DLC XHP Shaman, REC Shaman, Smallfly 2
Always in Pocket: Hawkbill Dragonfly 2 H1
Fixed Blades: Proficient, Junction, Waterway
Special and Sentimental: Southard, Squarehead LW, Ouroboros, Calendar Para 3 LW, 40th Anniversary Native, Calendar Watu
Would like to own again: CQI Caribbean Sheepsfoot PE, Watu
Wishlist: Magnacut, Shaman Sprints!