How market trends arise
How waves of trends are formed that shape future consumer behavior. Understanding and managing these waves is essential for marketers to help direct their actions, plan and position themselves strategically in the market. They are like compasses for navigating markets.
For many people to understand or follow trends is difficult and even confusing. Defining a path to follow with your products, brands or companies involves a good deal of risk and sensitivity for managers to make good choices. The art of managing trends is important to position yourself distinctively in the market.
The ability to understand and predict the future is essential to create competitive advantages. In this article we will understand how trends emerge and their main elements. In addition, we will present some current trends that are impacting the beauty market in this new scenario.
Trends are significant references to directions that we should follow. Sometimes they serve as compasses to show a way forward or that we must abandon. They are valuable tools that can signal good opportunities for success for a product or service.
In the modern world there are many challenges faced by companies to survive and overcome the competition. Understanding the future and being able to foresee scenarios is a key success factor. But globalization and the speed of change makes this task quite complex.
For Philip Kotler, one of the biggest names in marketing, the concept of trends is understood as being a direction, driven by a sequence of events that transforms a given reality.
In a simplified way, we can say that trends are the interference of various external forces acting on human nature. However, more important than understanding a trend is to understand how it is formed, how it can change behaviors and also how to take advantage of them to succeed.
Macroenvironment and micro market environment
The ecosystem surrounding the market is very broad, complex and diverse in factors and variables. It is basically composed of consumers, the market and its external and internal forces. It is possible to try to understand it from the point of view of its macroenvironment and its micro environment.
The external or macroenvironment is the market forces or major movements such as political, economic, social and technological. These are large, uncontrollable forces that are underway and have a great social impact, with the potential to change the dynamics of business.
We can consider the microenvironment or the internal environment as one that involves the personal universe of the consumer or a company. It is usually controllable and depends on actions to change. It involves your specific needs, your values and your individual and social performance. The integration of these two atmospheres and their variables is what makes up the diversity of a consumer market.
WHAT ARE TRENDS
We can define trends as the combination of several behaviors that were previously inexpressive and that later become something bigger and more significant, changing and impacting a reality. They can also be new ideas or opinions on a topic, which change a market.
Trends are also new paths in the market to be followed. They are identified by data or traces of consumer behavior. There are two types of trends: normal and megatrends.
Megatrends are long-term changes that form slowly and when established influence us for a long time. The trends however are more immediate and specific changes that act more intensely but may not last for a long time.
An example of the current trend is gamification and the opportunity to sell products within games. An example of a megatrend is AI – artificial intelligence that acts broadly and develops slowly, but that will make structural changes in our world in several fields and very soon.
FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENTS OF A TREND
According to Delia Dumitrescu, one of the authors of the book Trend-Driven Innovation: Beat Accelerating Customer Expectations, there are three fundamental elements that underlie all trends: basic needs, drivers of change and innovations. According to the author, although these are the structural points of a trend, the key element is the interferences that intend the encounter between these elements. Let us first understand each of these separate elements that underlie this brilliant concept.
Human characteristics make basic needs similar. Needs such as status, acceptance, security and esteem are essentially the same for most people and do not change over time. Our behavior is based on the needs and desires we have before the world and according to the moment and the external socio-cultural interferences driven by trends.
What changes throughout our lives is the way we meet our basic needs. In other words, what changes are the trends, the needs are the same. Think of street phone booths and compare to today’s smartphones. Both solve the same need for security and communication only at different times. However, the way to meet the need changes. Identifying basic human needs and wants is crucial to understanding consumer demands.
Drivers of change
Changes are precursors to trends. Without change there is no trend. We are as individuals in constant change; of ideas, of behavior and so we evolved. And to keep up with these natural changes, companies and professionals are constantly looking for ways to better or more creatively meet customer demands, and with that new changes emerge.
To understand the changes, it is necessary to think about Macro changes and Micro changes or triggers of transformation. Macro changes are long-term transformations (such as population aging, climate change and urban transitions) even though they are not trends in themselves, they interfere and direct consumer behavior and trends as a result.
Micro-changes or transformation triggers are immediate changes that drive the emergence of a trend. They can be political events, specific technologies, environmental incidents and even a pandemic like the one we are living in now.
Let me clarify one point about this theory to avoid leaving any doubt about these concepts.
Change drivers are different from the changes themselves that we call trends and megatrends. Here, then, we must separate the concepts of cause and effect from these transformations to better understand them.
Innovations are not trends. According to the author Délia, in fact they are proof that there was a change previously driven by a tendency to innovate. Innovation arises from the point of interference between the basic demands or needs of customers and the creation of a new creative way to serve it.
Emerging expectations gaps
Now that we understand the three structural concepts of a trend developed by the authors of the book Trend-Driven Innovation, it is necessary to understand how they come together and how they create new levels of expectation to meet customer demands. This way it will be easier to act in the same direction as the trends.
Observing the original model of the authors, it is observed that from the intersection between basic needs and Global Drivers, Expectations gaps arise, which are potential trends. However, to be considered a trend – Sweet Spot, change needs to have an effective innovation element.
To anticipate new consumer movements, I believe it is necessary to understand the consumer and interpret what are the real needs that are being met with the current product or service. In addition, it is necessary to monitor what is happening in the market inside and outside its segment, in the competition and in the field of innovations. With this expanded view, it will be easier to stay ahead of the competition and anticipate trends.
The market is very dynamic and rich in factors that change and interrelate, creating or changing realities constantly. Different generations, the globalization of the economy and technological revolutions have been responsible for accelerating and causing profound changes in companies and markets, making these environments a fertile soil for the emergence of trends.
To understand trends, it is important to understand their volatile, fickle and sometimes unpredictable nature. There are basically two ways to observe trends in the market. In short, some trends are manifested in the field of more conscious behavior and others in the more unconscious field, the latter being more subtle and difficult to be detected. Let’s understand the subject better.
The first form is in the field of more concrete or conscious behavior. They are more tangible and are based on observing data or consumer behavior statistics that illustrate signals about something that is happening or has already happened. It can be data from surveys or reports that demonstrate a type of behavior, for example. They can also signal the growth of a segment, an increase in sales of a product or service and also the need of consumers for a certain demand.
Companies can also understand trends from scenario analysis with more subjective or less tangible fundamentals in behavior. There are companies specialized in designing these scenarios.
These surveys are based on more psychological data and behaviors. They can often be understood by projecting scenarios based on behavioral studies and the response expected by consumers. They investigate how consumers think and feel about a topic and come across other factors to understand and draw a possible reality.
In this pandemic moment, for example, there was a great deal of stress on general levels and the consequences are already being reflected in all fields and also in the beauty market. An example is the need to offer products and services that, in addition to their basic functions, also go some way to help relieve the stress of the moment
BEAUTY TRENDS THAT ARE HERE TO STAY
Health and well-being have always gone hand in hand and the beauty market has been increasingly approaching over the past few years. With the pandemic this trend has intensified even more and now well-being is almost a mantra for the market.
The concept of beauty has surpassed physical appearance and is now also perceived by the way we feel. The concept of beauty is now very much linked to feeling good, is comfortable and happy with you. It is also linked to self-care and the search for physical and emotional balance.
With the pandemic, the level of stress increased and the need for balance intensified. The development of products that help to relax and reduce tiredness are on the rise. Products that help you sleep are growing too. The holistic view of beauty through self-care is a trend that is here to stay. Its strength lies in its easy application in all categories and also by the great demand of the moment.
From sustainability to its real purpose, there is a clear change in consumer behavior. Many consumers made more sustainable choices during the pandemic and research shows that they will continue to do so.
The consumer wants to understand how companies operate, their sustainable actions and connect with their values. The current crisis has intensified the perception of the vulnerability we have today and concerns about the planet. In addition, it raised awareness of what we can do today to prevent further crises in the future.
Sustainability as a trend is very broad, involves actions throughout the product cycle and involves its value chain. The packaging concerns are huge but this is a trend that will develop a lot. Many innovations in formulations and packaging are emerging and there is much discussion of the best ways forward.
Consumer involvement in sustainable causes and new laws to control the use of plastic packaging put even more pressure on industries. In the long run as a society and also as a company, we will have achieved many advances and environmental improvements.
Understanding and interpreting trends more and more has gone from being just a science to becoming a skill that needs to be developed by professionals from all companies, specialist or not in marketing. We will explore this theme more deeply in a next post. Right now we need to be aware of the present but looking to the future, as it happens now.