How to conduct a market trend analysis (and stay 3 steps ahead of the competition)

You can’t have a competitive advantage if you don’t know what the competition is doing. One effective way to gain a competitive edge is by conducting a market trend analysis. This type of analysis involves examining data to identify patterns and consumer trends in a particular market, allowing businesses to make informed decisions about their strategies and offerings.

By keeping a finger on the pulse of the market, your business can position itself for long-term success. Here we’ll explore the key steps involved in conducting a market trend analysis and provide tips for staying ahead of the curve in your industry.

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Why should you conduct a market trend analysis?

Some businesses are so focused on optimizing their organization that they forget to look outside. The only time they feel the need to change something is when they see their competitors doing it. They adjust, and follow—riding the waves their competition created.

But following your competitors blindly can result in you missing out on key opportunities to differentiate yourself and carve out a unique position in the market. That’s why it’s crucial to conduct your own market trend analysis, proactively and regularly.

By analyzing industry trends, you can identify opportunities that your competitors may have missed and find unique ways to meet the changing needs of your customers.

Tracking trends over time will also help you get a clearer picture of what to enter into, and what to avoid. Not every hype should is destined to be a long-term success, and if you get enough market trend analysis data over several months or even years, you can start predicting trends and preparing for them.

It also makes perfect sense to conduct market trend analysis research when times aren’t looking so good. When economies and markets slow down, you need to be prepared for possible changes in consumer spending and habits. That’s where your market analysis becomes invaluable to you, your business and your customers.

A trend analysis is also great fuel for your marketing strategy. You can gain a deeper understanding of what motivates your target market to make certain purchases and tailor your marketing strategy accordingly.

You can look for trends in interests, or trends in the channels they use, like the fall of Google among Gen Z. They don’t google where to go on holiday, what skincare to buy or where to find an interior designer. They use platforms like Instagram and TikTok for that. So if you’re hoping to reach this target group, you might want to move some of your search budget to social media.

When conducting a trend analysis, you can get answers to some of the most pressing questions that are keeping you up at night.

Wondering why your sales have been slowing down lately? A trend analysis can help you identify the latest market trends and find out whether your products or services are still relevant in the current climate.

Curious about what your customers really want? A trend analysis can give you insights into the latest customer preferences and buying behaviors, so you can tailor your offerings to meet their specific needs.

Want to know what your competitors are up to? A trend analysis can help you keep an eye on your competitors and identify any emerging threats or opportunities.

Types of trend analysis

Not sure what trends to look for? These types of trend analyses will help you narrow it down.

  • Consumer trends: This type target market analysis focuses on understanding changes in consumer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns. It can help you identify new opportunities for growth and develop targeted marketing campaigns to reach your target market.
  • Historical trends: By analyzing historical data, you can identify patterns and trends that have emerged over time. These can be all types of patterns and market trends. This data can help you make more informed decisions and predict future trends to prepare for them.
  • Seasonal trends: Some industries experience seasonal fluctuations in demand, and analyzing seasonal trends can help you adjust inventory levels, pricing, and marketing strategies to maximize sales during peak seasons.
  • Geographic trends: Analyzing trends across different regions can help you understand how consumer behavior and preferences vary across different regions. This can help you tailor your marketing strategies and product offerings to meet the unique needs of each region.
  • Technological trends: With new technologies emerging all the time, businesses need to keep up with the latest trends to stay relevant and competitive. Analyzing technological trends can help you identify new opportunities for innovation and show you ways to automate processes or save time and money. It can also help you adapt to technological changes, such as the death of the third-party cookie.
  • Demographic trends: Analyzing demographic trends, such as age, gender, income and education level can help you understand your target audience and develop marketing strategies that resonate with different demographics.
  • Social media trends: Social media has become an integral part of many people’s lives, and your business can benefit from analyzing trends on social media platforms. By monitoring social media conversations and tracking hashtags and trends, you can identify new opportunities to engage with your target audience and build brand awareness.
  • Economic trends: We all know that economic trends can have a significant impact on businesses. Analyzing economic indicators, such as GDP, inflation and interest rates can help you make informed decisions about pricing, inventory, and expansion plans. Don’t just wait until it gets explained in the newspapers to jump on this data.
  • Competitive trends: A market trend analysis that focuses on the strategies and performance of your competitors, can help you identify new opportunities for growth and stay ahead of the competition. Competitive trend analysis can also help you identify emerging threats and adjust your strategy in an agile way.
  • Environmental trends: With increasing concern about environmental issues, you can certainly benefit from analyzing trends related to sustainability and eco-friendliness. By incorporating eco-friendly practices and products into your business strategy, you can appeal to environmentally conscious consumers and reduce their environmental impact.

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How to perform a market trend analysis

Let’s look at the steps you need to take to perform a market trend analysis.

1. Define an actionable goal for your market trend analysis

Don’t start looking for trends without having a goal in mind.

This is important because it will help you focus on the right aspects of the market trends. While it is good to be aware of all the trends, you should focus on what you can act on.

2. Make a plan to conduct market trend analysis regularly

You can’t spot trends by just looking at one moment in time. Ideally, you will regularly conduct market research to uncover trends, and find patterns in the data you collect.

Planning monthly, quarterly or yearly surveys on the same topic helps you do that, while getting data straight from the most valuable source: your customers and target market.

3. Choose the right tools for your research

The right tools can help you identify trends, analyze consumer behavior, and understand the current market. They come with an easy-to-use dashboard that reveals patterns and makes trends easy to communicate. We’ll show you ours here.

Attest consumer profiling

4. Ask the right questions to the right people

Your research is only as good as your respondent targeting. Make sure you get in front of a large enough and—more importantly—relevant audience.

Asking them the right questions is essential when it comes to uncovering trends in your market research.

5. Analyze the data

Once you’ve gathered the data, it’s time to analyze it. This is where you can identify trends, analyze consumer behavior, and understand the current market.

When analyzing the data, you should look for patterns and correlations. Play around with different parameters and filters to uncover these. This will help you identify emerging trends and understand the current market behavior. You should also look for any inconsistencies in the data that might suggest a trend reversal.

6. Act on your findings

Once you’ve analyzed the data, it’s time to implement it! This is where you can use the data to make informed business decisions.

You should also consider how the data might affect the future of your business. This will help you stay ahead of the competition and make sure your business is always ahead of the curve.

The final step is to regularly check back in to spot trends over time. This will help you identify any shifts in the market and make sure your business is always ahead of the competition. Remember account for external factors and recent changes in the market.

Market trend analysis examples

To give you an example of what powerful data you can uncover by looking at certain trends, we’ll show you three examples of our own market trend analysis we’ve done recently.

On-demand grocery

To find out if on-demand grocery brands are actually playing into the demand the right way we used Attest to question consumers in the UK and US. Here’s what we learned.

Even though the media talks a lot about the sustainable aspects of on-demand delivery services and also about the working conditions of drivers, one of the dominant patterns we found was that users of these services prioritize convenience and speed.

Rough, yes, but good to know if you’re trying to market your delivery service. Keep an eye on this though: the sentiment might change. That’s why regularly conducting market research and keeping an eye on current trends is key.

We also learned how price movements in delivery costs affect this industry. Read our full on-demand groceries trend report.

Brits are shopping online more regularly than six months ago

Another one of our dives into market trends revealed a quick boost in online shopping frequency and spending among UK consumers.

Here’s why we emphasize boost: if a business would use this data to inform its future business decisions, it might be a recipe for disaster. If this was only a short-lived increase in spending and orders, you might not want to focus too much on your e-commerce sales. Another reason why we urge brands to track trends over time.

How inflation affects consumers—and how that should affect businesses

From our own economic trend analysis (here’s the US report and the UK report) we also found that the oldest generation feels the least affected by inflation, and Gen X most. If that is your target market, you need to play into this.

This research also revealed that people are cutting back on takeouts by 53 percent. Bad news for companies who deliver meals, but good news for those who can provide services or products for all those people who are staying at home and cooking at home more.

Cutting back on energy is also a big one, which shows interesting opportunities for companies producing electrical devices to either inform consumers more about the energy consumption of their products, or to even adjust their new products to this behavior.

Another trend we uncovered is that people are switching to cheaper brands, and are more open to buying new things. Get creative with this: ASOS is already selling pre-loved items, and other fashion retailers do too. Furniture, electronic devices, books and entertainment: many businesses can still do more to jump on these trends.

Use tools to make your next trend analysis easy

If you regularly conduct market trend analysis, you’ll have powerful information to stay ahead of your competitors, and know what to expect from the market.

Our market analysis tools help you get there, with a survey tool that has everything you need to do one-off or recurring trend analysis.

Get a quick start with our market analysis template and get started today!

Get started with the right market trend analysis tool

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Nick White

Customer Research Lead 

Nick joined Attest in 2021, with more than 10 years' experience in market research and consumer insights on both agency and brand sides. As part of the Customer Research Team team, Nick takes a hands-on role supporting customers uncover insights and opportunities for growth.

See all articles by Nick