product trends - Understanding Consumer Buying Trends - Building Dynamic Product Lines
by Chris Malta
What is a Trend?
A trend is more than a group of popular items that everyone is buying. It's really an expression of what matters to consumers at the moment - it's a sign of what they're excited about. A trend can actually give you many ideas of what products might be popular within certain groups. The trend towards natural living, for example, could inspire a whole line of products because that's what people are concerned with and are thinking about. Unlike fads, trends may grow and evolve and morph, but they always have rhyme and reason - they don't just spring out of nowhere.
Lisa Suttora of WhatDoISell.com explains, "Trend analysis is simply looking at a definable group of customers that you can get coming back time and time again. You're not sourcing products in a vacuum, because you know exactly what types of products people are looking for." Though it may initially take you more time to study market trends in the beginning, it will pay off in the long run. You won't be trying to figure out why you can't move products, or wasting money on just guessing at what you think will sell.
How Do I Become a Trend Spotter?
Spotting trends is a learned ability - it doesn't require you to be trendy. It requires discipline - make it a habit to research trends daily. There are many avenues you can use to help you research:
- • Most major search engines offer keyword tracking tools that show you how many people are searching for a given item. Worldwide Brands's product sourcing tool comes with a built in market research function that can show you, based on market statistics, how likely a product is to be successful.
• Consumer magazines and web sites are great sources for gathering information.
• Check out trade shows, associations, and publications. Though trade publications tend to be pricey, the information in them is the result of millions of dollars of research, and projects out from twelve to eighteen months, which gives you a significant jump on sourcing trends that haven't even evolved yet.
• The media can provide some very valuable trending stats - newspapers often give numbers and demographics. Look for indicators of growth and decline. You want to get in on the upswing of a trend - not when it's on its way out. Document everything so that you have it all in front of you and don't forget anything important when you sit down to analyze the results of your research.