Analytics, AI/ML

How To Uncover Emerging Trends?

Cogent Infotech
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Dallas, TX

How To Uncover Emerging Trends?

Market forces such as changing buyer preferences, upcoming competitors, and substitute products can significantly impact businesses. Not knowing when the market is changing can cost a business dearly.

Established product lines can be derailed, and customer markets nurtured over decades can be alienated. Businesses must pay attention to emerging market trends when the stakes are high.

But how to uncover emerging trends and derive actionable insights from the findings? This article will cover discovering major market narratives, identifying key trends, and conducting data-backed trend analysis to inform business decision-making.

Identifying relevant trends

By definition, a trend is a general direction in which things develop or evolve for a period of time.

Market trends indicate the collective behavior that develops in a consumer group or segment and influences their brand selection choices for a time period. Major economic, social, and geopolitical changes can result in trends of differing intensities emerging from time to time.

For instance, during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants, food trucks, and supermarkets closed due to lockdown. This had a crushing impact on the hospitality and food service sectors.

At the same time, people dependent on their daily meals from such outlets were forced to either cook at home or heavily rely on food delivery services such as Grubhub, DoorDash, Instacart, UberEats, etc. The food delivery industry grew 4 times in size between March and May 2020.

Restaurants and food providers that identified this trend early on could enlist with such delivery service providers and keep their operations live during the pandemic. Those who were late to catch on realized heavy losses, laid off staff and were forced to go under.

This market trend also saw a surge in the launch of new startups operating on the delivery-based business model, many of which continue to thrive even in the post-pandemic world.

While identifying this particular market trend was crucial for businesses in the food and hospitality sector, it wasn't of much consequence to other industries.

Therefore, before investing in sophisticated measures to keep track of market trends, it's important to realize which market trends are relevant for the business.

Questions to ask and define a sustainable trend identification strategy

  1. Does the business operate in B2C or B2B markets?
  2. What geopolitical, economic, technological, ecological, regulatory, social, and cultural factors directly affect the business?
  3. Who comprises the target audience or market for the business? Are clear geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral markers identified for this audience?
  4. Which channels are used to directly or indirectly interact with the target market and capture their feedback or change behavior?
  5. Are these channels time-sensitive and provide reliable information about market changes?
  6. Upon identification of emerging market trends, how quickly can the business pivot or adapt to the changing market needs and adjust its offering?

The decision to monitor and process market trends is unquestionable for modern businesses that operate in complex market environments. Starting from an informed place of knowing which trends to follow and which to ignore can make the entire process more efficient and productive. However, tracking market pulse and performing trend analysis can vary based on available business resources and market dynamics.

Performing trend analysis

While trends indicate changes in market behavior over a given period, trend analysis tracks the degree of change and its corresponding impact on a business. Once the relevant trends for a business are identified, the critical conversations around macro topics need to be monitored, and their evolution into a trend can be mapped.

For instance, the conversation around climate change has been shaping up for decades. There's a demand for industries to adopt more sustainable production practices and reduce their carbon footprint.

But, more recently, these conversations have shaped a marked shift in end consumer behavior. Research suggests that 3/4th of millennial customers prefer buying ethically produced goods and are willing to pay more.

Therefore, effective trend analysis must be able to pre-emptively identify such changes in customer preferences and infer possible strategic measures that the business may need to adopt in the future. The trend analysis process can thus include the following:

Collection of market information and intelligence

As a starting point, quality trend analysis must receive quality market information. Several channels exist to collect and curate market intelligence for every industry. It's imperative to identify the channels that can be most relevant for the business and can continue to deliver quality information reliably.

Social listening platforms and domain-specific research journals can provide data about market sentiment and expert opinion. High-authority news and intelligence sites can also help create a healthy pipeline of market intelligence.

If sufficient investment is possible, market research and investigation can also be done to collect primary data through customer and influencer surveys.

Creating network maps to identify current and prominent narratives

With relevant information curated, the next step in trend analysis is processing the information and generating meaningful visual representations. Network maps can be a great way to analyze a large amount of quantitative and qualitative data.

These maps can be created by performing a Boolean search and analyzing relevant conversations around a particular topic.

This can be explained using the recent supply chain crisis caused globally in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thousands of high authority sources published articles about the nature and impact of the supply chain crisis. All analyzed narratives can be visualized as a network map, indicating co-related conversations with relative importance.


In this particular network map, various conversations around the supply chain crisis center around price hikes, food and medical products shortages, and the impact of supply chain disruptions on business profitability.

With consumer sentiment shaping in this way, businesses that can communicate supply chain continuity and sustainable business practices can turn customer perception in a positive direction.

Screening out niche narratives to find out emerging trends in the industry

From the same network map, distinctive clusters can be identified that represent niche narratives within the industry. Conversations around supply chain winners and investigation of underlying issues can answer several business challenges.

These trends may not be as consequential as the mainstream discussion but could indicate how customers will move beyond the panic and look for brands on top of their supply chain game.

Niche narratives can also have potential hidden trends that can point toward future market movements and opportunities. For instance, increased research and investment in electronic vehicles and alternative fuels remained on the periphery of social dialog for decades.

Before long, brands like Tesla and some of the world's largest economies were making sizeable investments in the vehicles of the future and disrupting the market completely.

Qualifying major themes emerging out of the central narrative

At times important market trends can also be hidden in the major narratives. Therefore, a deeper investigation of each macro narrative is needed to qualify important themes around market trends. For the global supply chain crisis, these themes can be:

  • Price hikes
  • Product shortages
  • Profitability decline and subsequent stock market crash
  • Impact on manufacturing and inventory woes

All conversations around product shortage become important for industries with high competitors and substitute forces. While for certain businesses, price hikes could directly translate to a decline in demand, for others, it could result in the identification of brand-loyal customers who may be willing to pay a premium. Similarly, product shortages could mean customers are switching to competitors or finding new product substitutes to satisfy demand.

Businesses that can qualify major themes and emerging trends before others can invest in developing strategic solutions before their competitors.

Determining the growth and decline of specific trends over time

Since trends are time sensitive, they have a definitive growth and decline trajectory. Considering the global supply chain woes affecting consumer buying behavior, there is an observable growth and phase-out pattern.

Between January 2021 and October 2021, the panic sentiment for shortages due to supply chain inefficiencies gradually increased. But starting in November 2021, as global market indicators for the supply chain crisis improved, these sentiments shifted and started declining.

Such movements can alert business decision-makers about impending changes in consumption behaviors. Consequently, any changes in production, distribution, and communication strategies can be planned.

Uncovering emerging trends

As millions of data points need to be scrubbed before emerging trends within an industry can be discovered, doing so manually is virtually impossible.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and ML or machine learning-enabled trend analysis tools must be deployed to monitor market intelligence in real-time and process it to uncover trends.

Furthermore, to utilize the findings to support business decision-making, a trend analysis tool should facilitate more than just information discovery. Rather, it should accommodate all four stages of the Gartner data analytics maturity model.

An integrated trend analysis tool delivers value by first providing a descriptive analysis of what is happening in the industry, then offering diagnostic insights into why these events occurred. Next, it uses this information to predict future trends, and finally, it suggests prescriptive strategies to influence upcoming market developments. This tool aids business decision-makers in understanding, anticipating, and shaping market dynamics.


Unearthing emerging trends can prepare any business to face market challenges and capitalize on unexplored opportunities. A meticulous trend discovery and analysis process can identify crucial narratives and themes in the consumer market. These, in turn, can guide the formulation of strategies that can provide any business with a true competitive advantage.

Meaningful insights about the brand, industry, competitors, and customers can be accessed 5x faster with greater accuracy. Sophisticated, AI-enabled analytics service like Cogent InCights streamline this entire process for businesses. Cogent InCights deploy advanced listening, engagement, and data analytics solutions to help business leaders stay ahead of the market evolution curve.

AI-enabled data capture and processing of Cogent InCights helps develop highly accurate and scalable business solutions. Strategic questions about customer attribution, churn, and lifetime value can be answered with greater reliability.

More refined market segments can be defined using niche market trends and customer buying behaviors. The service extends trend analysis to predictive and prescriptive analytics levels, providing data-driven audience intelligence and guiding brand actions for the best possible results.

To read more interesting and insightful content, visit our website.

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