What Is Trends Research?
Trends research is what it sounds like. It’s about identifying and analyzing patterns in data to predict future events, such as consumer behavior or business performance. Trend researchers use statistical methods to analyze historical information to determine whether there has been any change over time. Sometimes referred to as trend spotters, these analysts also look at other factors that may affect these changes, including economic conditions, demographics, technology, marketing strategies, etc.
How do you spot a trend?
Market research methods used by trend spotters are different. The 3 types of trend analysis for future development are:
1) Trend spotting : This type of trend analysis looks at historical patterns and compares those patterns against future predictions. It’s also known as ‘forecasting’.
2) Trend forecasting: This type of trend analysis predicts which direction a particular trend may be heading over the coming years.
3) Trend interpretation: This type of trend analyses identifies the reasons behind a given trend.
Grounded Theory Analysis is another way to learn about trends. Grounded theory involves asking questions about why something happens instead of just describing what happened.
What is a trend?
Some examples of trends include :
- Consumer spending on electronics continues to grow rapidly; however, the rate of growth appears to be slowing down. This could indicate a shift from high-end products toward lower cost items.
- The number of people who are overweight or obese continues to rise steadily. However, this trend seems to have leveled off recently.
- More consumers are using mobile devices for shopping online. In fact, more than half of all U.S. adults now shop online via their smartphone
What Trends Research Companies are there?
- Marketers — These individuals identify new opportunities based on changing market dynamics. For example, they might notice an increase in demand for certain types of goods and services. Or they might see a decline in sales due to competition.
- Business owners — A company owner can use trends analysis to help them make better decisions regarding product development, pricing strategy, advertising campaigns, etc.
- Retailers — Retailers often rely on trends research to understand how customers behave when making purchases. By understanding customer preferences, retailers can create targeted promotions and advertisements that will appeal to specific groups of shoppers.
How do you become a trends analyst?
There are many ways you can get into trends research. You can start by taking classes through your local community college or university. Trend spotters like to read magazines and newspapers. They scan articles written by experts in the field and look for stories that discuss current issues related to your topic.
There are tools that can be used to supplement research. For instance, Google Trends displays a long-term overview of niche trends. Also, absorb up-to-date industry research and trends reports “ like a sponge”. Also sign-up for PSFK’s newsletter of trends and ideas.
Pattern recognition is one of the most important skills needed to succeed in trends research. Pattern recognition means being able to recognize recurring themes within different pieces of text. To develop pattern recognition skills, try reading books and watching movies. Then write down everything you think is interesting. Afterward, take some notes about the plot points and characters. Finally, review your list and pick out common themes. This exercise should give you insight into patterns that exist throughout various genres.
A trends researcher would also want to understand unmet needs that are informed by Trend Analysis and this is where it becomes complex. If you’re interested in learning more about trends research, check out these websites:
- Gartner’s website has information about trends research including tools such as the Magic Quadrant for Emerging Technologies.
- PSFK provides insights into consumer behavior and technology trends. Their site includes resources such as the Top 10 Tech Trends Report.
Where can you find more information about trends?
If you have any other questions about trends research, visit PSFK.com and ask our team via the chat box on the page!