Have you ever wondered how brands identify and apply seasonal fashion trends? Or how many brands seem to be selling practically the same trends?
In this post, we’ll introduce how we, as a leading trend agency, forecast fashion, and consumer trends.
Read on to discover how to start implementing them for your brand, or improve on the forecasting methods you may already be using.
If you’d like to learn more about the trend services we offer, you can explore our online trend platform here.
WHAT IS TREND FORECASTING
Trend Forecasting analyses market patterns and consumer buying mindsets to predict future trend direction.
Fashion industry trend forecasting is traditionally more focused on product direction rather than consumers. It delivers visual trend forecasts for designers, brands, buyers, and retailers. This allows for informed decision-making about what trends and products to focus on when designing or selling a new collection. Fashion forecasts can cover seasonal mood, colour, pattern, material, silhouette, detail, trim, and styling.
When done correctly, trend forecasts give clear direction for the season ahead, delivering products that spark consumer demand and reduces the risk of unsold stock.
However, incorrect forecasting can lead to non-relevant “fake trends.” This causes fashion brands to invest in product features that are not going to appeal to their target consumer.
This can result in loss of sales and discounting. The seasonal investment of time, money, and resources is then wasted on something consumers don’t want.
HOW TO FORECAST TRENDS AT AN UNUSUAL TIME
There are two branches of trend forecasting emerging in the post Covid19, post-lockdown market:
1) Traditional Trend Forecasting: This is how trend forecasting was mostly done before the coronavirus outbreak. It is often based on the forecaster’s personal opinion on what they consider to be relevant. It relies on the forecaster having an advanced eye for style to be able to spot the newest and most stylish items in the market. These are then presented as the ‘trends’ most likely to continue in the future.
2) Early Innovator Trend Forecasting: This is a method based on identifying real, meaningful fashion trends from the early innovator sources. It offers trends with longevity and results in consciously curated pieces consumers will be excited to buy. This approach is much more likely to result in increased sales to the target audience. It also helps eliminate or dramatically reduce discounting, as it focuses on items consumers will want to buy.
Trendstop is the pioneer of early innovator trend forecasting methodology. We are currently the leading provider of early innovator trend forecasts.
Let’s explore why the traditional approach won’t work well in the post-pandemic market.
WHY TRADITIONAL TREND FORECASTING IS NO LONGER EFFECTIVE
The Covid19 outbreak and resulting lockdowns have dramatically changed shopping and buying habits.
Our research shows consumers will be more discerning in what they choose to buy than ever before.
Many trend companies adopt the traditional method that does not validate trends well. Their reports are often opinion based which results in inconsistent sales.
At the same time, larger businesses rely on sales and customer data to try and project future sales results.
Neither approach can deliver perfect sales and happy customers consistently.
TRADITIONAL TREND FORECASTING SOURCES
Identifying seasonal trends traditionally begins at the research stage.
Pre-pandemic, many product ideas were informed by traditional trend research sources. They include social media, catwalk sites, street style blogs, opinion-based trend forecasting services, and suppliers.
These sources can be problematic because they are not validated based on what consumers want to buy. Information gathered from these sources leads to poor sell-through, discounting, and in the worst-case scenario, products ending up in the landfill.
Some of these traditional research sources include:
1) Visual Social Sites: including Instagram & Pinterest. Just because a brand is popular on Instagram, does not mean what they show will result in best-selling products. Only around 2.5% of Instagram’s fashion product content is worth even considering for future sales. Trendstop provides the background validation for the emerging innovator, consumer, market, and product trends, focussing only on relevant items.
2) Opinion-based Trend Forecasts: Creative trend services generally base their moods and concepts on personal creative opinions. They do not provide solid proof of why that trend will be relevant to consumers in the coming seasons.
3) The Mainstream Market: Store reports, trade show reports, or market research data in the mainstream market is not going to provide the right kind of trend validation. It is focused on the present-day and adding a lead time into the mix means those ideas are not going to be fresh enough to excite the post-lockdown consumer in 12- or 18-months’ time.
4) Suppliers: Large retailers have often relied on their suppliers for information on what their competitors are ordering. The problem with this approach is that the supplier has no way of telling how well the items appeal to consumers. This method may simply lead to unwittingly circulating “other people’s mistakes”.
THE FUTURE OF TREND FORECASTING
With consumer mindsets evolving rapidly, traditional trend forecasting methods are becoming obsolete. Mindless consumerism is coming to an end. A new meaning-seeking consumer will make more careful purchasing decisions based on their values.
Adopting the early innovator approach allows brands to create less but better fashion that is more profitable better for the planet and more rewarding for the designer.
It helps fashion professionals deliver products and ranges that are consumer-targeted without the production cost of unprofitable filler items.
Trendstop is the pioneer of early innovator trend forecasting, which is a reliable future consumer validated trend analysis method for fashion and lifestyle products.
To learn more about the services we offer, explore our online trend platform here.
NEXT STEPS FOR EARLY INNOVATOR TREND FORECASTING
To learn more about Early Innovator Trend Forecasting and how it works, sign up to the free email series, How to Validate Trends Correctly in the New Normal.