AND WHY IDENTIFYING AND ANALYSING CONSUMER NEEDS IS A VITAL PART OF ANY BUSINESS
Identifying emerging trends is a hunting and gathering game. In order to collect and collate trend information, a curiosity and interest in a broad range of a subjects such as art and design, science and technology, food, travel and even socio-economics is needed.
The process of fashion forecasting involves firstly, understanding the needs of your target consumers, then gathering information about global issues, shifts and innovations and then reporting on how these will affect or influence your chosen audience.
IS FORECASTING LIMITED TO THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
Forecasting is used in almost every area of business today. To remain steadfast in a fast moving and crowded marketplace, identifying and analysing consumers' needs is a vital part of any industry.
Trend forecasting is the prediction of behaviour, mood and buying habits of consumers. It can also be obtained by looking at past sales or market growth, determining possible trends from that data and using the results to conclude what will happen in the future.
We can identify two main areas of fashion forecasting: short-term and long-term.
Short-term forecasting anticipates trends one to two years in the future and mainly focuses on new product features such as colour, textiles and style. Whereas long-term forecasting predicts trends five or more years out and focuses on materials, design production and retailing. These contribute to a brand's design development planning by identifying the focus for new product lines, initiating new business and executing new business strategies.
HOW DOES TREND FORECASTING HELP BRANDS?
Fashion forecasters help retail businesses and designers choose the right direction for their brands and, as a result, attract more consumers. Their main responsibility is to search and document trends as soon as they surface and undertake research to back up the trend forecast with facts and intelligence as well as intuition.
ANALYSING TREND FINDINGS
After the research stage is completed, it's is time to put the pieces of the trend jigsaw puzzle together.
At this stage, aesthetic and product trends begin to emerge and become the main drivers that will influence design businesses in the future. Forecasters group these into key concepts that will resonate with fashion industry developers whilst strengthening brand messages consistently.
HOW TO UTILISE FASHION FORECASTS
The key to any successful business is the ability to make well-informed business decisions. Fashion forecasts provide the following crucial information:
Which key products should be developed for the next season?
What problems are you solving for your audience?
What are your key product categories?
What updates would you like to have for best sellers and core items?
What are the opportunities for innovation and differentiation?
Fashion Forecasting not only gives brands new ideas to enable them to compete in the marketplace but also serves as an opportunity to create something that perhaps reaches out for a wider audience. Although it is important to assess trend cycles, it is also crucial to create what the consumer wants.
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