What is trendspotting?
Let’s start by defining a trend. According to Investopedia, “a trend is a general direction the market is taking during a specified period of time. Trends can be both upward and downward, and while there is no specified minimum amount of time required for a direction to be considered a trend, the longer the direction is maintained, the more notable the trend”.
Trendspotting is all about identifying those trends – whether local, regional, or global – understanding those trends, identifying best practices surrounding those trends, and identifying opportunities for innovation based on those trends. Trendspotting goes beyond just seeing an upcoming trend; it means being able to cultivate and curate trends: spotting things that have the potential to trend, then adopting and adapting them to your business.
Trends are the intersection of markets and culture, and understanding that intersection helps brands better identify what the market will want in the future. Trendspotting investigates the past, current, and future consumption paths that can become big wins for companies.
Trendspotting and Market Research
Engaging in effective trendspotting means always paying close attention to what is happening in an industry. It means watching your sector, as well as others. It’s the ability to look for patterns, change and progress and to observe tendencies in the behavior of consumers. It’s understanding how the environment shifts and how it impacts and interacts with consumer behavior.
Ultimately, it’s developing an understanding of how consumers feel about and react to changes in the marketplace. We live in an age where digital technology advances and changes at light speed, and consumers adapt and change their preferences and behavior just as quickly.
For this reason, some business leaders have lost faith in traditional market research because traditional market research tends to look sideways and backward: what has happened and what is happening. Today’s business environment also needs to look at what is currently happening and how things are changing.
You can think of trendspotting as a proactive form of market research. While both depend on monitoring data, trendspotting is ideally an ongoing process. Market research may be done on an as-needed basis to inform a specific project, campaign, development, or change in direction.