A trend is a general direction into which something is changing, developing or veering. It may also refer to a fashion or craze, such as the fidget spinner or buy now pay later (BNPL) initiative, which both had their moment of popularity. The term is also often used to describe a pattern of gradual change in a business process, output or condition. For example, if a company’s mortgage lending is shifting towards shorter-term loans, this would be an indication that there has been a recent trend towards these types of loans.
For businesses, identifying and tracking trends can be critical to their success. The ability to recognize and act upon emerging trends can lead to new opportunities that improve brand perception, increase sales, boost revenue and grow market share. On the other hand, failing to identify and react quickly to a fad can leave brands looking outdated and obsolete, causing consumers to abandon them.
Trends are not limited to a single industry or demographic, and can be seen in fashion, entertainment, politics, the stock market, the weather and even human behavior. A micro trend could be a veganism movement that appears in the news, while a macro one could be the rise of social media. Trends can be fun, fabulous or appalling and are generally short-lived, as they give way to the next fad.
To understand what a trend is, it is important to look at the data that has been collected over a specific period of time. When analyzing the raw data, a trend is identified by a series of peaks and troughs that are higher or lower than the previous peaks and troughs. The most recognizable type of trend is the uptrend, which is established by a continuing series of peaks and troughs higher than the previous ones. A downtrend, on the other hand, is established by a continuing series of troughs and peaks that are lower than the previous ones.
In the world of business, trend analysis uncovers consumer demands and changes in buying habits that impact product sales. A good understanding of how to read this information can help businesses adapt their products, branding, influencer marketing campaigns, social media strategies, ingredient sourcing and more. It can also provide insights into consumer satisfaction and the potential for a product to go viral. Trends can be both positive and negative, and it is important for a business to know what type of trend they are facing so they can adjust accordingly.