Analyzing trends is a critical component of market research and a way for brands to anticipate coming change in markets and learn more about consumer needs and interests. Trend analysis is a strategy companies use to find meaningful patterns in consumer behavior, detect and track consumer trends, identify shifts in consumer perception of the value of a product or service, become aware of technological change in an industry, and better understand cost drivers. The difficulty of trend analysis lies in the challenges of processing large volumes of data in order to find relevant patterns, differentiating between trends and fads, and generating actionable insights from different types of information.
How and why companies carry out trend analysis
Companies can identify and analyze trends by looking for recurrent patterns in data. This could be internal data collected from CRM systems, sales data, and their own market research and/or external data gathered from outside publications and websites as well as social sources including social networking services, forums, and online customer reviews.
Trend analysis helps companies predict how their customers’ needs and wants may change over time and distinguish between trends and fads. This enables them to more effectively:
Invest in research and development of products and services that cater to expected future needs
Develop campaigns and craft messaging and marketing content that will interest and resonate with consumers
Improve or modify their existing products and services to participate in new markets and gain a competitive edge
Using social media data for trend analysis
By accessing what is essentially the world’s largest focus group, social sources allow companies to gather primary data—honest, unbiased opinions and detailed demographic information directly from consumers—for market research and trend analysis.
Using social media listening tools, you can monitor the conversations of consumers, allowing you to assess the performance of your campaigns while collecting the data you need to better understand consumer values and preferences and identify emerging trends. Social media provides you with fresh, authentic data which is critical for achieving accurate and relevant results from your trend analysis.
Trend analysis using social media intelligence tools
Even with social media listening software, however, discovering and tracking trends still takes time. For time-strapped teams in competitive markets, social intelligence tools can streamline the process of sifting through the data and looking for trends. Social intelligence tools combine social listening and social analytics software into a single toolkit, letting you monitor your mentions and other relevant conversations happening on the social web while obtaining insights that you can use to inform decision-making and strategic planning across your organization.
By aggregating and analyzing billions of conversations from across the web for you, social intelligence tools help you identify trends earlier and faster. Using audience and social media sentiment analysis, these tools can show you detailed demographics about your audience and when, where, and how consumer interests and sentiment about your brand, a competitor, or another topic change over time. Through customizable dashboards, you can get real-time feedback about your brand directly from your customers while exploring the viral images and videos consumers are sharing and talking about.
Using Synthesio for next-generation trend analysis
Just one of the many tools in Synthesio’s Social Intelligence Suite, Signals is a powerful social media trend analysis tool that was built with the rigor of market research. Powered by state-of-the-art data science algorithms, Signals leverages AI to automatically surface the much-discussed themes, hot topics, and emerging trends that are statistically significant to your brand.
You can query specific topics and keywords to find mentions relevant for your research, or let Signals find insights and trends you didn’t even know you were looking for. Through intuitive dashboards, Signals doesn’t just show you important trends in your market and audience but also where a trend is most prevalent, what audiences are engaging in the conversation, and which influencers are promoting the trend—context essential for guiding your marketing and product development strategies.
As of 2019, some recent trends include food as a hobby or foodie-ism, ethical living, responsible consumerism, authenticity on social media, blurring of gender roles, and wearable technology. Some fads that you may have missed include face tattoos, goat yoga, “dad sneakers”, CBD-infused products, TikTok, and ‚90s-inspired fashion and music.
Consumer or market trend analysis can be categorized into three types: geographic, which is analyzing trends within a group that is defined by their geographic location; temporal, or analyzing trends over a specific period of time; and, intuitive, or analyzing trends based on demographic and behavioral patterns and/or other variables that are perceived to be of importance to the researcher.
It refers to the process of looking for meaningful patterns in consumer conversations, demographics, psychographics, and behavior—patterns that may reveal the emergence or presence of a consumer or market trend. It is an important market research tool used by brands to detect and predict changes in consumer desires and lifestyles, buying behavior, and perception of value. It helps organizations decide how to best invest in product development, how to position their products and services in the market, and how to more effectively approach and connect with online consumers.