A deep understanding of consumer behavior and its impact on the market is the first step toward being able to spot trends for product research that we can capitalize on.
Our dropshipping product world moves at lightning speed.
When trying to stay ahead of the curve, spotting product trends can help you assess whether your current products are still relevant and what new products you should focus on.
However, with the vast amount of information out there, it can be difficult to know where to start.
In this article, you'll find a few great tips on how to spot trends for product research for your business. To stay updated, you'll need to keep a close eye on global industry news and actively read various content and social media research.
What is a product research trend?
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ‘trend' is a ‘prevailing tendency or inclination,' ‘a general movement,' ‘a current style or preference,' or a ‘line of development.'
But how can you detect it early?
Pay attention to social media. This is where the first signs of a shift start to show. Hashtags and other social media indicators can be powerful tools for spotting new trends.
Keep an eye out for sudden spikes in popularity around certain topics or keywords; these could be signs that a new trend is taking off.
The earlier you recognize the shift, the sooner you can react and seize an opportunity.
What triggers shifts in product trends?
Here are the factors to look out for:
- New technology. Technological advances happen rapidly these days, and new products are constantly being developed as a result. Research conducted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) confirms that the pandemic has accelerated consumer technology adoption.
- Economic factors. Consumers adapt their behavior to factors that take a toll on the economy. One can also examine the effect of the pandemic here.
- Political changes. Consumers also react and change as politics change.
- Social developments. Customer preferences change as they feel the impact of social developments. One only has to look at millennials' unique behavior, emphasizing brand loyalty as an example.
The 7 types of research trends
There are various kinds of market trend analysis used for understanding market behavior.
Here's a quick overview of them:
Let's go over them in more depth now, starting with megatrends!
Megatrends, or macro trends, often have a drastic impact on industries. These trends develop over time and result in a persistent shift in the direction of some phenomena on a global level.
Examples of current megatrends that could provide a good product research starting point are automation, radical personalization of products, and ethical living.
Research conducted by The Roland Berger Trend Compendium comprises six megatrends shaping the world between now and 2050. Our awareness and understanding of these megatrends help us develop solutions for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
2. Historial trends analysis
Historical trends analysis involves studying how trends have developed in your niche in the past. This type of analysis typically involves comparing one period to another (e.g., month-over-month, quarter-over-quarter, or year-over-year).
This helps you understand market activity – where your niche is heading through historical analysis.
3. Consumer trend analysis
Consumer trend analysis helps you make better decisions when it comes to selecting your products. The focus is on understanding consumer needs and behavior to understand how trends in the market might change over time.
4. Seasonal and temporal trend analysis
It is also worth considering the external factors that might affect your products. For example, consider how climate and seasonality will affect sales of your products.
By looking at trends like the November and December gift buying peaks, you can take advantage of seasonal changes in demand.
5. Geographical market trend analysis
Geographical market trend analysis inspects variations in trends based on location. A trend that might be peaking in one country could spread to other regions.
Being aware of your website demographics will also help you better focus your energy and resources.
6. Social media-based trend analysis
Social media-based trend analysis involves listening to consumers and understanding what they’re saying to effect positive changes to your brand plan.
7. Desktop vs. mobile trend analysis
Desktop vs. mobile market trend analysis aims to catch customer behavior variations on different devices.
This can be helpful in specific cases, i.e., when you see a drop in traffic, you might want to check if all devices are affected.
6 Hot tips to spot trends for product research
Read on to fine-tune your market trend analysis and get an accurate picture of the movements in your niche.
1. Spot trends using Google Trends
Web analytics provide a more granular view of all types of trends. Google Trends is a great free tool to identify consumer behavior towards popular products and services.
Most importantly for dropshippers, Google Trends will help you assess products on the rise or decline, and you can also monitor the position of your competitors!
It also allows you to evaluate seasonal trends. For example, there’s no missing the impact of New Year's Resolutions in January in the ‘paleo diet’ graph below!
You’ll want to go to Google Trends to test and experiment with these tips for using Google Trends for your dropshipping store.
You’ll look for a graph showing stable upward growth, perhaps with seasonal spikes.
A sudden upward spike alerts us to a sign that there is increased demand for a certain niche or product, and we want to hop on that trend! It looks like we are on the right path with dropshipping!
You'll find value in using Google Trends to:
- Find a niche store idea
- Fine-tune keywords research and find new keywords
- Find the best products to sell
- Differentiate your products for different regions
- Spot trending topics
- Insight for writing and refreshing content
So Google Trends is vital to dropshippers to assess niche and product demand and understand geographical and demographic insights to tailor your offering and research your competition.
For a complete guide to using Google trends, you'll find this article helpful:
Another great tip is to follow reliable industry blogs, publications, news, and newsletters relevant to your niche.
Follow some of the smaller publications relevant to your industry apart from the big names. They are free (what's not to love!), and they often highlight the products of industry leaders who are often the first to catch on to a trend.
Do good quality bloggers exist in your potential product niche? If not, there’s probably not enough interest.
Another good tip is setting up Google alerts to keep on top of new data and trends in your niche.
Let's have a look at some of the leading industry trend blogs and newsletters:
I love receiving this weekly newsletter in my inbox. It is packed with a stream of constant emerging business trends months before they pop, lectures, and collaboration opportunities from their communities of over 700 small businesses.
You'll have free access for seven days after joining!
Joining BuzzSumo is an awesome way to stay on top of trending topics in the news and media. With BuzzSumo, you can discover the most read articles and debated issues.
You'll be able to analyze the content that readers are searching for and consuming. You'll be able to keep informed about trends developing as a result of new technology, political or social changes, short-term trends, and even temporary peaks or slumps in a market trend.
With Trends.vc, you'll get the most popular reports about new markets and ideas from thousands of entrepreneurs.
This includes everything from million-dollar or one-person businesses to micro-SaaS.
3. Spot trends using Amazon product research
One of the most popular sections on Amazon.com is the ‘Best Sellers' section. This is a powerful tool for identifying Amazon trending products.
The best-selling products in each category give you insight into what people are willing to buy.
From here, you can predict products that are likely to appeal to your target market for good conversion rates. Take a look and make a list of a few exciting products.
When you visit Amazon.com, click the ‘All' tab to see other sections. You might like to sort this using ‘departments' and even ‘movers and shakers' or ‘new releases' to jump on a trend wave.
Your next step will be to source a similar product from your chosen supplier. If you are new to dropshipping, this article, ‘The 8 Best General Dropshipping Suppliers For You‘ might be a good place to start.
4. Spot trends using Pinterest product research
Pinterest is not just popular for home decor enthusiasts and aspiring chefs; it’s also a great tool to use for conducting market research, as it can give you incredible insight into your potential customer's minds.
While technically Pinterest is a social media network – you can create your profile and leave comments, follow people, and send messages – it operates much more like Google. People usually use it for shopping inspiration and creating boards for upcoming projects.
Pinterest stores lots of valuable data on what online shoppers are looking for, which can be very handy for your market research. Once you’ve got a product niche in mind, go to Pinterest to understand the level of interest. For example, you can check the search volume of keywords in its ad creation tool.
A great tool from Pinterest is Pinterest Trends!
Here’s how you can find it:
- Open Pinterest Trends on your desktop or mobile browser
- Select which country you want to see data from by clicking the down arrow icon next to ‘U.S.' in the top-left
- Enter a term in the top search bar or check out one of the pre-populated topics.
The pre-populated topics are fascinating to study:
Keen to learn to spot product trends on Pinterest? Take a look at this guide: How To Do Product Research On Pinterest (6 Great Tips).
Social media is one of the best tools to learn what people really think and feel. If you want to know what's trending and popular, don't look any further than social media.
Some trends and examples of trending content include studying:
- The types of content people share and engage with
- Which social platforms are growing or shrinking
- The types of ads and influencers people are engaging with
- Up-and-coming products, brands, and influencers
Consumer trends are often visible on social media before they make an impact on the market. You might like to investigate tools such as Sprout Social and Hootsuite Insights to get related market trend analysis data on what’s trending and where the market might be heading.
The benefits of trendspotting are clear. Getting in early on a new trend ensures you have more time to work out the kinks and troubleshoot your strategy.
6. Keep an eagle eye on your competitors
Competitor analysis is essential in ecommerce. A common mistake is placing all our focus on our customers. The reality is that your competitors are watching you!
You could, for example, start monitoring your competitor's social media. Watch what their best-sellers are over time, look for patterns in the type of content they post on social media, and pay attention to the new products they add to their store and their adverts.
When a competitor has a new successful ad, you'll be ready to jump in to sell the same or similar product.
If you want to be successful over the long haul, it will be helpful to monitor your competition more frequently.
How to change or enhance a previously successful product trend
Think about reinventing a previously trending product. The benefit here is that you can count on there being a market for your product. That's huge.
Let's look at the ways that this can take shape:
An excellent way to start is to mine Amazon and competitor websites for reviews, taking careful note of customer pain points and experiences.
- Create a new name for the product highlighting a solution for customer pain points or rave reviews.
- Label your product ‘new and improved.' Highlight what is new and better about your product. Even a minor change to the product might help the customer decide to purchase.
- Target a new niche or application. Good review research should tell you exactly what the customer wants.
- Engage the services of influencers in the niche to help you get viral traction.
From helping you plan ahead of seasonal trends to finding a rapidly growing niche, spotting trends for product research can give you insights that will make your business a success.
You’ll be able to find complementary verticals to expand your catalog and skyrocket your sales just in time for peak season. By applying some of the tips for spotting product research trends in this article, you’ll be a step ahead of the competition.
You’re on top of things… for now. As long as you're keeping a finger on the pulse of marketing trends—and always remain open to change—your store should be in good shape.
It's time to dominate. Good luck!
Want to learn more about doing product research?
Ready to move your product research to the next level? Check out the articles below: