What is trend forecasting and how do I do it?

Ugly Dad shoes.

Co-ord dressing.

Artisan-made leather goods. 

Anything transparent (i.e. clear heels, shoe straps, backpacks).

 

These are trends we've either loved or hated, they've emerged, and may we rode that wave as each direction engulfed the runway and retail store. How do these trends come to be? How does one define a trend, and who is the authority that dictates them?

 

Trend forecasting can be a game of numbers. Defined as "the technique of predicting the goods or services that consumers are seeking". Trends can be either short-lived, also known as a micro trend, for about 1-2 years or a longer-term macro trend, spanning a decade or more. Think skinny jeans as a macro trend, wedge sneakers as a micro trend. 

 

WGSNis the top trend-forecasting company in the world. Though there are many other big named agencies, the London-based company founded by the Worth brothers, has been around since 1998 and serves multiple clients all over the world. According to the WGSN team, to forecast a trend is "part art, part science, part math and part magic." 

 

WGSN have refined their process in discerning what makes a macro trend based on looking at quantitative statistics gathered all over the world. They then translate these numbers for their clients and their business, explaining how they can adapt these forthcoming trends.

 

As mentioned in an article published on Fashion Insiders Co., there are four conventional techniques to Trend Forecast:[JP1] 

 

  1. The Delphi Technique- developed by the RAND company in the 1950s, this framework consists of conducting several rounds of experts answering questionnaires. The idea behind the process is that said experts will eventually come into a general consensus.

  2. The Time-Series Forecasting Technique- the most commonly used technique in the industry dictates that trends can be determined based off of measuring data over a given period.

  3. Scenario Writing- a method where the forecaster imagines all the possible outcomes based off of a set of conditions. After assessing all plausible situations, the forecaster must determine what the most likely outcome would be.

  4. Subjective Approach - Forecasters must determine possible outcomes using their instincts. By utilizing their personal thoughts and feelings, forecasters are to identify objective trends during brainstorming sessions, away from criticism and peer pressure.

 

Interested in learning more about trend forecasting and how you could apply this to your business? Here are a five, free trend forecasting resources, a list compiled by Belinda Jacobs fortechpacks.co, you can check out:

 

  1. WGSN- Their online blog, WGSN Insider, is a free resource filled with trends reports in fashion, lifestyle, and culture… among many other industries.

  2. Trendstop- Just sign up with your email and receive free trend reports that are easily downloadable.

  3. The Doneger Group- the Doneger Weekly newsletter is a great resource of inspiration and fashion news.

  4. WeConnect- Check out their Trends section on the WeConnect website, where you can search for trends based on season and category.

  5. Fashion Snoops- Subscribe to their newsletter for free trend reports.

  6. The Retail Training agency - we have a two-month course that walks you through how professionals in our industry create and use trend forecasts. Ultimately the objective of this workshop is to improve your business results - and ensure you continue to have happy customer-fans.

How do we do trend forecasting? 

 

Trend-forecasting is nothing new. This function of our industry has been significantly impacted (enhanced?) in the digital age. Professional forecasters rely more heavily on data gathered, analyzed and projected (some call this AI, but true AI has yet to find itself commercially available in fashion forecasting). 

 

Nonetheless, the core of a good trend forecast remains static: a focus on the customer and their influences. 

Watch these names in Lagos 🇳🇬

What comes into mind when asked what are the fashion capitals of the world? Paris, New York, London, Milan... all have been in the biz for decades. Every single one of us has dreamed of moving to AT LEAST one of the aformentioned cities. But not all of us feel the same way.



LAGOS // Nigeria's largest city is modern, beautiful, boasts two fashion weeks and a vibrant music scene. Some of our favourite fashion labels include:

◇ @maki.oh ◇ luxury womenswear by designer Amaka Osakwe - with a menswear premiere this year https://www.makioh.com/collections

◇ mojokojouk ◇ streetwear by Koyejo Adesanya, ethically sourced and produced in Nigeria https://mojokojo.com/pages/our-story-mojo-kojo-x-ijoya

◇ @lisafolawiyo_studio ◇ the namesake collection from a true fashion entrepreneur and visionary http://www.lisafolawiyo.com/about/

◇ @nkwo_official ◇ nomadic sustainable womenswear and Dakala Cloth (a technique birthed by NKWO that weaves old materials to form new cloth) http://www.nkwo.design

◇ @nolablackng ◇ contemporary womenswear https://www.nolablack.com/collections/all-products

◇ wflsncrm ◇ street art and graphic driven brand (check them out then support the skatepark🛹). https://www.wafflesncream.com/blogs/news


We can't wait to see more of these designer's product in-store. Fans like Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Kerry Washington are nothing to sneeze at.

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Lagos fashion weeks

◇ 1 ◇ @lagosfashionweekofficial October 23-26, 2019 http://lagosfashionweek.ng

◇ 2 ◇ @arisefashionweek watch this space https://www.instagram.com/arisefashionweek/

Mary Meeker's Internet Trend Report - 2017

The most anticipated slide deck of the year for ecommerce retailers is here. Our key takeaways:

Here are some of our takeaways:

  • Global smartphone growth is slowing: Smartphone shipments grew 3 percent year over year last year, versus 10 percent the year before. 

  • Voice is beginning to replace typing in online queries. Twenty percent of mobile queries were made via voice in 2016, while accuracy is now about 95 percent.

  • China remains a fascinating market, with huge growth in mobile services and payments and services like on-demand bike sharing. 

  • While internet growth is slowing globally, that’s not the case in India, the fastest growing large economy. The number of internet users in India grew more than 28 percent in 2016. That’s only 27 percent online penetration, which means there’s lots of room for internet usership to grow. Mobile internet usage is growing as the cost of bandwidth declines. 

  • Wearables are gaining adoption with about 25 percent of Americans owning one, up 12 percent from 2016. Leading tech brands are well-positioned in the digital health market, with 60 percent of consumers willing to share their health data with the likes of Google in 2016.

 

All 300+ slides are here: 2017 Internet Trends Report


It's a wrap for the #MustHave16 Fashion Design Competition

That's a wrap for this year's #MustHave16 Design Competition, hosted by Art of Fashion.
The competition is demanding of the emerging fashion designers who participate. They are required to submit a sketch and a sample. In addition, they must go through the 5 phases of starting a brand: including building a social following and marketing strategy, working with retailers to ensure their design meet customer's needs, and selling their design in-store.

"It is a challenging competition, but it is a challenging market for emerging designers", says Jennifer Pilkington, Managing Director of Retail Assembly, who is a competition sponsor. "The hard work pays off, as the designers have a real world toolbox at the end of the competition."

This year the competition offered mentorship and feedback from a variety of industry experts including Laura-Jean Bernhardson, CEO of multi-store retailer Fresh Collective, Elle Bulger of Pinch Social, Jennifer Powell of Hart and Galla, and Donna Bishop, founder of Green Beauty and FGI Board Member.

Browse the video playlist below and congratulate our winner Bulgun Puteeva of Bulia

Mobile shopping insights

Summarized and excerpted from the December 2014 article by Liz Ericson, Louise Herring, and Kelly Ungerman, "Busting mobile-shopping myths".

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  1. APPS ENGAGE YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS - not generating traffic to engaging new customers.  "As the number of shopping apps proliferates, many people seem reluctant to use them: barely 30 percent of mobile shoppers have more than two shopping apps." and survey respondents were twice as likely to visit a mobile site than an app. 
  2. BASIC FUNCTIONALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT FEATURES - "Respondents said the three most important functionalities were smooth checkout, the ease of adding and dropping items from a basket, and site navigation."
  3. SHOWROOMING CAN BE POSITIVE - A customer showroom in your store will buy from you eventually - 58 percent of them do. 
  4. DIGITAL DEVICES SUPPORT IN-STORE SERVICE - "Shoppers view mobile-enabled sales assistants—particularly in showrooms and large-format stores—as enhancing the shopping experience, underlining the need for retailers to find and train motivated, well-prepared, and well-equipped employees."

H&M in Bangladesh

Addressing how they are supporting Bangladesh development, H&M produced a fairly well-rounded video. With all of the coverage on the much needed improvements to working conditions, the economic and developmental impact is often left untouched. It is this development and international investment in the country which is why organizations should continue to push for improvement in the lives of their workers. 

It is a one-sided perspective, but it includes a variety of initiatives: 

  • Wage growth
  • Skills training and upgrades
  • Improved employee - management relations

 

What is missing, but perhaps not within the context of this video, is the environmental working conditions - exposure to toxic materials, chronic pain and ergonomic initiatives, etc. But overall, it was nice to see an organization addressing specific measures in a fuller way - not simply speaking about the cheque they cut in light of the tragedies. 

Indigo may be the star this holiday season

The retailer’s transformational strategy will woo more shopper dollars this holiday season

Canada’s large retailers are cautiously optimistic this holiday season as average growth in last 4 months remains at 3.0 percent over the previous year. The growth headliners of late (either to the positive or negative) are seemingly tapped for new ideas that will produce significant gains. There is one exception, Indigo Books and Music, which in the last two quarters has shown they are wooing more shoppers and shopping dollars back into their stores. 

“Our stores are looking fantastic and rich, online is ready to go, and we’re looking forward to a great holiday season.”
— Heather Reisman, CEO Indigo Books and Music

Indigo Books and Music achieved Q2 sales of $189 million and comp store growth of 8.4 percent – higher than any one else on the list. Comp store sales are a key performance indicator as this measure excludes sales fluctuations due to store closings, permanent relocation, and chain expansion. In Indigo’s case, operating 6 fewer stores helped to increase its revenues in existing stores. The company’s 90 superstores generated a total 6.0 percent increase (9.6 percent comp increase), while the smaller format locations attributed 2.3 percent revenue growth. 

Heather Reisman, CEO, indicated in a conference call November 5 that there are no plans to further decrease the number of Superstores that are driving the company’s business – but there is a possibility of expansion.

Small stores growth is driven by individual opportunity (i.e. expanding paper category where successful, adding toys where there isn’t competition in the mall, etc.) they aren’t yet part of a larger transformation strategy. With 2.3 percent revenue growth, it isn’t something to be worried about yet.

There are two indicators – beyond the strong comp store growth – that are promising for the retailer.

1)  The transformational strategy is working. The cornerstone is transitioning itself into Canada’s cultural department store, and growing the general merchandise category is key to achieving this. Now at 27 percent and expanding, general merchandise is picking up some of the slack books left behind.

2) Core books showed great growth, despite the industry’s declining results! Anytime a retailer can continue to grow their core, it means positive results. Teen and children’s books are current driving forces.

 

The cautious approach Reisman takes, despite recent success in a difficult transformation is working. “As I say in every one of my meetings, we still have a long way to have to go to fully achieve what we think the potential is of the business“ she commented on the call.

The team at Indigo has been diligently working over the last few years to execute. The design studio in New York brings proprietary accessories and lifestyle home products to the stores each season. The retailer has sought and invested in the best talent. Indigo remains alert, and are beginning to see success while the rest of the industry sees only modest growth. Keep your eye on them in the third quarter.

Wishing everyone strong holiday sales. 

 

READ MORE | Holiday business set-up (Canada)