Within our globally connected community, staying current can mean the difference between success and stagnation. Today's biggest brands embrace a forward-focused approach to the market, leveraging market research on industry trends and customer feedback to stay ahead of the competition.
Let's face it—industry trends can often be volatile and unpredictable—and every business wants to know what's around the corner in order to stay competitive. Market research on industry trends is the answer. Market research helps companies track the competition, spot product weaknesses, and identify customer needs and preferences—all while helping to build the strongest possible brand.
In this article, we'll dig into why businesses need to watch industry trends, a few brands that have managed to stay ahead of new trends, and simple steps to help you keep an eye on the marketing data that matters.
What is industry trend research?
Industry trends are patterns, shifts, or changes that occur within an industry. These temperamental trends can be related to consumer preferences, new technologies, or changing market conditions. Often, these shifts are unavoidable and can be disruptive. But, the businesses that tap into market research on industry trends are usually in the best position to adapt and thrive.
What does trend research look like in practice? It's data collection, market trend analysis, a behavior study with consumers, workshops with stakeholders, and a strategy that ties it all together. Brands use different techniques to monitor trends, from surveys and focus groups to online polls and interviews, to learn what customers need and want. This data is then used to inform product development, target new markets, and create more effective advertising campaigns.
Why do businesses need to watch industry trends?
Brands that fall behind a sweeping industry shift risk losing relevance (and money) overnight. We've seen this happen time and time again. Brands like Blackberry, Polaroid, and Toys "R" Us that refused to embrace industry trends were left in the dust when their competitors embraced the new wave of technology or audience.
On the flip side, businesses that stay ahead of industry trends can reap the rewards. The most successful brands stay ahead of fads and capitalize on the latest wave. Market research on industry trends empowers brands to spot opportunities, keep track of competitors' moves and discover what customers want in products or services. It all boils down to keeping an eye on ever-changing business climates. Take, for example, the industry shift towards grocery delivery services.
Years ago, grocery delivery was seen as a luxury service only offered to high-end consumers. But—enter COVID-19 and the pandemic shutdown of 2020—and grocery delivery became mainstream and a necessity for many people who didn't want to leave their homes. And customers realized they really enjoyed the ease of grocery delivery to their doorstep. Now almost every grocery store offers some form of grocery delivery. The pandemic and the desire for customer convenience shifted an entire industry—and companies that did their due diligence, like Instacart and Walmart, were ready.
Bottom line––following industry trends can help companies stay relevant and break ahead of their competition.
How To Monitor Industry Trends
Predicting the future of your industry can be tricky, but there are a few simple steps to help you keep your research on-point and up-to-date.
Listen to your customers.
Want to know what's hot in your industry? Look no further than your customers. Customers drive trends, and they're the ones who will tell you what they like, what they don't like, and what they need next. Send surveys, run focus groups, use customer interviews, and you'll quickly see the opportunities for growth.
Keep track of the competition.
Industry disruption lurks around every corner, so it pays to keep an eye on your competitors. By watching what your competitors are doing, you'll gain valuable insights into customer preferences and new trends. Is a new product shaking up your industry? Is a competitor offering something you're not? Competitive market analysis can help answer these questions and help you identify any market gaps to fill.
Take, for example, the expanding sales of electric vehicles. While Tesla has led the pack as the largest electric carmaker, competitors are quickly entering the market. Competitors like BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, General Motors, and Mercedes-Benz have made electric vehicles a key part of their growth strategies, forcing the entire global automotive industry to shift. Automakers watched Tesla and followed the trend, allowing them to stay competitive in a rapidly changing auto market that's seen electric car sales soar.
Make use of digital research tools.
Part of identifying growing consumer trends relies on collecting the right data. And to do that, you need the best tools. Leveraging digital tools like online surveys, e-commerce transactions, and analytics can help you uncover helpful insights from customers and competitors.
Follow key industry experts and social media.
When analyzing market trends, sometimes it's best to trust the key players. Follow popular industry influencers, speakers, and subject matter experts to discover the latest trends, research findings, and product launches. And keep in mind social media and its influencers can be a crystal ball for your business—it's where your customers are talking about you, your competitors, and the next big thing. So, don't be late to the party—take advantage of the experts and the data.
How does Rebel approach market research on industry trends?
Well, it's a little bit of all of the above. We rely on market trend reporting, qualitative and quantitative research, competitor analysis, and leveraging feedback from stakeholders to help give our clients sweeping insights into their industry. From there, we create a roadmap that you can put into action immediately.
We're not afraid to set out into the uncharted to uncover valuable insights for your brand. We dig deep and ask the tough questions to get to the heart of what's shaking up your industry. And once we get the inside scoop on how the market is shifting, what opportunities it presents, and what risks it poses—we'll provide actionable insights to help you adjust your sails and embrace the winds of change.
Ready to join us? Let's discuss how we can help you keep a keen eye on industry trends. Contact us.