How we do trends

Methodology. Trend hierarchy. Research process.
Never a dull moment!

Our worldview

The shift to more sustainable, inclusive consumerism is the trend of all trends - any organization keen to claim its spot in this transformational decade will have to run with the most meaningful opportunities out there.

We're grounded in purpose and it's our mission to inspire you to find and take action on those opportunities - we’re scanning the world for them every day. Learn more on the 'how', below (we did our best to keep it brief 😬).

1. Methodology at heart


Our trend intelligence is based on a robust methodology, honed over more than 10 years, helping us to spot emerging consumer expectations and guide thousands of clients.

At the heart of our methodology is a concurrence of Basic Human Needs, Macro-Trends and Innovations.

Consumer trends emerge when relatively constant Basic Human Needs (e.g. community or self-expression) bump against ever-changing Macro-Trends (e.g. climate crisis, ageing societies).

When this intersection occurs, tension arises. Innovations resolve that tension and consequently create new trends, new consumer expectations. ➡️

2. Cross-industry mindset

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We now all act, contribute and compete in an expectation economy that transcends industries, borders and price points.

You aren't just competing with others in their industry or market, you compete with the latest expectation setting innovation from any industry or market. Once people have experienced TikTok's algorithm, Apple's UX or Patagonia's sustainability standards, it's hard for them to tolerate 'normal' alternatives. 

Ultimately, developing a cross-industry mindset (something that's been at the core of our approach for many years now) and understanding how consumers transfer expectations from one product, service or brand experience to another, will help you to set consumer expectations instead of meeting them. 

3. Trend hierarchy and framework

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Trends and expectations are exciting, but to structure and focus, you also need a multi-layered trend framework. This is how we built ours:

Macro-Trends
These are the bigger shifts that play out across many years or even decades with a large-scale impact. They summarize all major forces across society, technology, economy, ecology, and politics that have a direct or indirect impact on consumer behavior. 

Mega-Trends
You can view our Mega-Trends as the building blocks of the consumer arena. They identify the points of tension that Macro-Trends create when they intersect with consumers' basic needs.

Sub-Trends
With our database of around 200 Sub-Trends we spotlight the opportunities and innovations that arise from the above mentioned tension. They incite action by explaining how you can start running with emerging expectations today.

Niches
These are emerging ideas and experimental concepts at the fringes of consumerism. They are often quite industry-focused but have the potential to become wider consumer trends.

4. Purpose-driven innovation

 

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Now, let's face it, without meaningfully applying trends and insights, all of our work is useless.

Hence our focus on truly sustainable and purposed trend-driven innovation. You'll find some of the ideation tools we use to help clients to apply and act on trends in our Toolbox, which includes our Consumer Trend Radar and Consumer Trend Canvas

 

 

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5. A sprawling research & analysis process

Last but not least: the actual trend and innovation spotting! 

For over 20 years now, with help from our researchers, analysts, spotters, endless business sources, technologies and personal encounters, we’ve been immersed in the actual scanning and curating of trends and opportunities. With gusto.

It's given and continues to give us a unique and forever fascinating perspective on how trends evolve, how the niche and the fringe, again and again, become mainstream, and how consumer behavior and innovations spread globally faster than ever before. Even more exciting: the related opportunities this brings to those who are tuned-in, informed and curious.  

And yes, there is more to track, more to monitor, more to get inspired by than ever before. 
The sheer amount of smart professionals now innovating, the abundance of exciting start-ups, and the countless thinkers sharing their brilliant business insights with the world instantly and relentlessly, from Bulgaria to Indonesia to Canada. 
Making the most of this 'overwhelm' is a 24/7 endeavor. It's also what we do, live and love. Check out the full process:

 

 

Research System

 

Analysts

Our diverse team of trend analysts is constantly on the lookout for valuable trends, insights and innovations which are fed into our research system in dedicated channels and formats on a daily basis.

  • 15 trend analysts, 12 nationalities
  • Gen Z to Boomer 😉
  • 100s of projects, publications, presentations

AI-driven feed

We use machine learning and natural language processing (including Feedly) to track thousands of sources, including online magazines, social media, industry online news, blogs, and newsletters.

  • 1,200+ sources tracked
  • 80+ industry, region and topic feeds
  • 5,000+ articles scanned weekly

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Our global trend community helps us to spot uber local insights and innovations - via Slack, trend and innovation professionals from all over the world share meaningful insights with our analysts 24/7.

  • 900+ spotters
  • 90+ countries
  • 600+ spottings per month

Research center

This is where all resource streams come together and where we prioritize, categorize and archive all of our spottings - truly our internal pool of insights.

  • Collaborative insights database 
  • 200+ insights and spottings saved per week
  • Non-stop curation

Analysis center

This is where we connect patterns and make sense of all of our spotting. Weekly trend idea discussions in our analyst team turn signals into clear insights.

  • Weekly trend idea discussions
  • Daily fine-tuning of our Trend Framework
  • Integration of local perspectives 

Intelligence

Ultimately, our proprietary content is added to Amplify, our trend intel platform, and fuels our Custom work. Some of it also ends up in our Free Trend Updates

  • 15 mega trends and 230+ sub-trends 
  • Database of 28,000+ innovations across 16 B2C industries & various regions
  • 100s of trend reports 

Our services

Our trend intelligence platform

Amplify is our company-wide trends & ideation solution, neatly platformed, giving you access to our full Trend Framework, Innovation Database with 28,000+ innovations, Annual Trend Reports, Industry Reports, Analyst Support and more.  Everything you need to guide and inspire you and your teams to turn trends into meaningful innovations. 

Used by 100s of brands and professional services firms worldwide.

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A 25-lesson, self-paced online course on how to act on trends

Let us help you to absorb 10+ years of working with consumer trends -  in just a few weeks. The course is designed to train you in trend forecasting as well as making the most of our methodology. Taken at your own pace, all insights and tools will remain at your disposal post-course, too.

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Public and corporate keynotes & workshops

Engage our team of Trend Analysts & Presenters for your next corporate or public trend session - having delivered literally 100s of keynotes and workshops in 35+ countries, to some of the world's leading brands and agencies, we know how to deliver.

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Want the help of our analysts?

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