sources of info on Trends effecting Marketing, Business, Int'l Business and e-Commerce
Updated 2011 Feb 24
. The most important thing students can learn from this unit is this -  knowing about current trends is not something that can be done in textbooks, or just through what the professor tells you - 
  • you have to read the major newspapers regularly, 
  • you have to be in the habit of surfing a variety of sites 
    • (not just the regular ones you go to) 
  • you have to walk around stores in malls 
    • (maybe even stores you do not regularly go to) and talk to people working in stores
  • you have to talk to people outside your demographic 
    • (meaning you have to talk to older people if you are younger, or if you are Asian, talk to Black people, or if you are European, talk to Latino people)

All of these things will help you be aware of the current consumer trends and give you an advantage

  • an advantage when you go to job interviews
  • an advantage when you are thinking about what type of new business to start
  • an advantage if you are working for some company and want to launch some new way of doing things
  • an advantage when you are thinking of purchasing consumer products and services for yourself

A combination of the fast paced Technological Environment, and the pressure of the Competitive Environment, and the stress caused by the Economic Environment, means that companies marketing consumer and industrial products and services MUST be aware of trends that effect their customers in order to keep selling profitably.



Meongdong, Seoul, South Korea by WTGR

no experience?
no problem
"trends are "extremely unpredictable," which makes the business of tracking and forecasting a tough proposition." says Judith Langer, a researcher at Roper-Starch Worldwide

Therefore, witiger would suggest that if you wanted to work in an exciting and valuable field of marketing it might be trends - especially when this is one of the fields where young people can obtain work with little experience - why? - because they want young people who understand the trends effecting the young customers they are trying to sell to !!!


Finding Cool stuff

Cool trends


`Cool hunters' paid to spot trends

by David Graham, Toronto Star 2004 July

David Graham, writer for the LIFE section of the Toronto Star, had an article in July 2004 in which he explained how some companies specifically hire people to spot cool trends.

Graham writes
"Hundreds of fashion industry insiders listened attentively here last month [2004 June] as David Wolfe from the Doneger Group offered his take on where fashion was heading what colours, styles and shapes that men, women and children are going to want to buy in 2006 and beyond. It's his job to anticipate which current trends have legs and what new ones are coming down the pike.

The Doneger Group offers its predictions to retailers including Nordstroms, Saks Inc. and Wal-Mart. They also work for such financial institutions as Goldman Saks and Merrill Lynch.

Politics and the state of the economy have an enormous impact on the way we shop, explains Wolfe, who scours newspapers daily in the hopes he can link a news story to a new consumer behaviour or need. "They are much more interconnected than you'd think. In the fashion industry they are much more important than the runway when it comes to identifying trends," he says.

Companies like the Doneger Group employ the skills of an anthropologist to identify patterns in behaviour that might lead to patterns in consumption.

These companies are called cool hunters, trend-spotters, futurologists and even consumerologists.

They are prized for their ability to project trends. Nearly every big company, from Nike to Lego, has its own "insight" department."

Finding Cool stuff

Cool trends


"The New Breed of Market Researchers: 
Forecasting the Future of Cool"
Restaurants USA magazine's final issue was published in September 2002 but these archived articles remain available for their readers' convenience.

From Restaurants USA, June/July 2001
 "Trend analysis can help successfully launch a popular menu item, a new restaurant concept or a more effective advertising campaign."

The following paragraphs were originally written by Donna Oetzel

"The media has tended to portray so-called cool hunting as a fluffy New Economy phenomenon rather than a genuine research methodology. According to many of today's cutting-edge research consultants, however, their trend-tracking work is based on a tried-and-true scientific model: the anthropological field study.

"Usually, people do focus groups or they do quantitative research based on numbers," says Larry Samuel, the New York City?based partner of the trend-analysis company Iconoculture. "We're not trying to replace those techniques, but we think there's a need for a different form of research, too. We add the 'third leg' of the research stool, which is based on anthropology."

Applying anthropological techniques to market research, says Samuel, means getting out into the "real world" and tracking cultural trends: talking to people, snapping photos, buying merchandise. It also means focusing on behavior rather than opinions, because consumers are notorious for saying one thing and doing another claiming to care about their fat intake while buying gourmet ice cream, for example. "We don't ask what people think. We document what they do," explains Samuel. "The proof is in the pudding." 

"Cool hunting is only the first step for trend-tracking market-research firms. Once they've gathered their documentation, the firm's analysts typically set about trying to decode the materials, stepping back to gain a long-term perspective on short-term trends.

"We try to understand what's making a trend a trend, which values are driving the trend," says Iconoculture's Samuel. "For our clients, we'll say, 'Here are the trends, here are the values we extracted out of them and here are 15 different ways you can leverage those values.' If we identify tea as a trend, we don't say, 'put tea on your menu.' We look at what's behind the taste for tea wellness, interest in plants or flora, the opportunity to be an expert. We put it in a broader context." 

Problems in predicting Trends
"The pitfalls of predicting"
Restaurants USA magazine

From Restaurants USA, June/July 2001
The following paragraphs were originally written by Donna Oetzel

"Trend-analysis firms represent an increasingly powerful force in the corporate world, where millions of dollars depend on discovering "The Next Big Thing" in music, fashion, food and entertainment. Corporate clients pony up thousands of dollars annually for access to research results via monthly updates, publications and password-protected Web sites. The annual fee for Youth Intelligence's Cassandra Report, which comes out three times a year, is $20,000; access to the company's new Web site,, is priced at $8,000 per year for one to five users.

Is it worth it? The answer, according to industry experts, is "maybe." As the economy slows, many restaurant operators and other business owners are anxiously looking for indicators of the public mood, and trend-spotters can provide valuable insights. At the same time, according to Judith Langer, ** a researcher at Roper-Starch Worldwide, separating true trends from flash-in-the-pan fads is no easy task.

In her book, The Mirrored Window: Focus Groups From a Moderator's Point of View, Langer describes forecasting perils such as the "trendy-trend trap," which can befall marketers who focus too heavily on trendsetters as opposed to mainstream consumers. Trendsetters indicate "what's new," but it's the mainstreamers who confirm a long-term trend, says Langer. "Some things that are initially cool become long-term trends, and other things pass over very quickly."

Langer says restaurateurs looking for advice on trends must be guided by their own common sense, as well as their knowledge of their own local area and their customers. Some trends simply go against the grain in certain regions for reasons that are hard to fathom."

** Judith Langer, is also president of Langer Associates

Meongdong, Seoul, South Korea by WTGR

Specific Trends
- Mobile Devices
  • mobile devices sales exceeded that of personal computers in the fourth quarter of 2010 (IDC) 


2010 Sales Trends

GPS in vehicles 2009

Retailing Branded Consumer Products
  • major clothing brands globally marketed

Social-Cultural Environment

2010 Online dating

Economic Environment