What is trend analysis?

Trend analysis is a methodology used in research to gather and study data for prediction-making about future consumer behavior based on the trend analysis of observed and recorded data from past and ongoing trends.

In other words, trend analysis is the process of studying statistical data and recording current market behavior over a specific period to generate valuable consumer insights. This data is employed to strategize future business plans. It is also called a horizontal trend. It helps determine the main characteristics of the stock market and the consumers associated with it.

Trend analysis is the practice that gives us the ability to look at data over time for a long-running survey. Horizontal trends can be helpful in comparing quiz or test scores (see an increase in knowledge over the course if you manage the same survey multiple times over a few weeks or months) or identify a trend in data sets for a regularly distributed satisfaction survey.

But what does trend analysis mean? No need to worry! We have composed this article with everything you need to know about this type of trend analysis so that you can start using it in all your research projects.

Trend Analysis in Market Trends Research

With the performed trend analysis report, you can compare historical data and get answers to questions like:

Trend analysis helps to display a summary of long-term historical data and trend reversal. Use it to investigate variability at different time points and capture how the consumers and markets respond over time. Use trend analysis to identify the best time for demand in the market and also identify trends with low-demand phases to take action according to market research or consumer insights.

trend analysis in research - example

QuestionPro lets you filter results based on the below data filters:

You can view current trends in survey research data using below chart formats:

Uses of Trend Analysis in Surveys

Researchers and businesses run a trend analysis report after data collection for the following:

To understand consumer behavior

Based on historical data, it helps companies understand what consumers need, consumer behavior, and what gets outrightly rejected. It helps them make timely changes in products for future events and then push them out into the market. For instance, it helps identify types of trends and target customers and make informed decisions in a bear market situation.

To identify a shift in consumer realization

Consumer perception concerning the product or service can be quite volatile. Short-term planning won't lead you too far with historical data. Consumer satisfaction or consumer behavior levels can change due to even minor changes in the business strategy or product. Trend analysis involves the technical analysis of consumer needs and how they perceive a product or a service.

To understand the cost drivers

Businesses need to study the financial statements or aspects of their market research, such as the stock price and cost drivers affecting their products or services over time. They need to innovate and come up with the best possible products at a lower price than their competitors. Analyzing the trend over a period of time helps identify these drivers and valuable insights. Trend analysis is a handy tool to gauge the profit for an investor.

Advantages of Analyzing Trends in Survey Data

Here are the business benefits of running a trend analysis:

Strategy building

Trend analysis helps predict new business entrants and allows the company to develop strategies to uphold its industrial position. Analyzing historical data of trends can help zero in new products to be launched. For instance, if the trend reports show that Millenials prefer watching content over the OTT platform than reading a newspaper, you can launch your ads on these platforms. You can optimize your marketing spend by switching from traditional mediums like TV and newspapers to OTT sites.

Business expansion

Trend analysis facilitates businesses and organizations in making strategic decisions or financial statements to expand their business. Identifying patterns in consumer trends will help you discover new market areas to expand your business. For instance, if you notice that the demand in rural areas has been increasing steadily, you can plan to target specific locations more aggressively.

Change-analysis indicator

Trend analysis is instrumental as an indicator in identifying the underperforming areas of the business. Most organizations conduct customer satisfaction surveys to identify trends, promoters, passives, and detractors. If there is a sharp rise in the number of passives and detractors, they might have concerns with product quality, service, delivery, or customer support. Once you identify the improvement areas aftermarket trend data analysis and work on them, conduct a survey and measure the change in results over time.

Business feedback

Trend analysis helps identify the areas in which the business is performing well and duplicates the strategies for business expansion. Analyzing trends in customer feedback enables businesses to identify areas for improvement, make informed strategic decisions, create momentum indicator strategies, enhance overall customer satisfaction, stay ahead of market demands, drive long-term growth, and build strong customer relationships.

Types of Trend Analysis

The most common way to classify the various types of Trend Analysis is based on the method used. These methods are divided into Temporal, Geographic, and Intuitive. Let's discuss them.

01. Temporal Method

This type of methodology is used to analyze patterns and trends of a given group of relevant data or objects of study in a specific cohort of time, as well as its change in that period.

A clear example of this type of study is longitudinal studies, which are designed to detect and analyze trends that arise from historical trends.

It is mainly used in ethnographic research and other types of event-focused studies. The great disadvantage of this type of trend analysis is that it is exposed to many variables that could affect the final result of the study.

02. Geographic Method

The geographic method of trend analysis is generally easy and reliable; it can identify commonalities and differences between user groups belonging to the same or different geographies.

The main purpose of the geographic method is to analyze market trends that develop in groups of users identified by their geographic location.

The downside of the geographic method is consequently the geographic limitation for data analysis, which can be influenced by factors such as culture and traditions specific to the geographic location of user groups.

03. Intuitive Method

The intuitive method is a type of trend analysis implemented to analyze trends within groups of users based on logical explanations, behavioral patterns, or other elements perceived by a futurist.

This market trend analysis is helpful for prediction-making without the need for large amounts of statistical data. However, some issues with the methodology include the overreliance on knowledge and logic provided by futurists and researchers, which makes it prone to becoming biased toward its researchers.

The intuitive method is the most difficult type of trend analysis and might not be as precise.

What are the Steps in Trend Analysis?

Trend analysis is a method used to identify patterns or trends in data over time. Here’s a streamlined approach to conducting effective trend analysis:

01. Define Your Goals

Begin by clearly outlining your starting point and desired outcomes. What insights are you seeking? Establishing clear goals helps focus your analysis and ensures you extract relevant trends that impact your business decisions.

02. Invest in Regular Trend Analysis

Trends develop over time, often in discernible patterns or waves. Regular data collection is essential to capture these trends effectively. Implementing surveys on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis allows you to track changes in consumer preferences or market dynamics. Choose a frequency that aligns with the pace of change in your industry.

03. Use an Intuitive Survey Tool

Select a user-friendly survey platform to streamline data collection and analysis. Features that facilitate quicker insights such as:

These features ensure the tool supports survey customization and can reach your target audience effectively.

04. Identify Your Sample

Accurate trend analysis depends on gathering data from the right demographic. Utilize survey tools that offer templates and panel-agnostic capabilities to ensure your sample reflects your target audience. This approach enhances data quality and relevance to your analysis goals.

05. Field and Analyze Your Data

Execute your survey and utilize a robust data analysis platform to interpret results in real-time. This capability allows for:

Analyze trend analysis data across different demographics and parameters to gain comprehensive trend perspectives.

06. Act on Your Findings

Translate your analyzed data into actionable insights. Whether it’s launching a new product, adjusting marketing strategies, or anticipating market shifts, act decisively based on the identified trends. Use trend analysis to inform ongoing business decisions and maintain a competitive edge.

By following these steps, businesses can leverage trend analysis as a strategic tool for understanding market dynamics, predicting consumer behavior, and adapting proactively to industry trends.

Example of Trend Analysis

The graph below explains trend analysis over a period for channel sales per country. Channels are based on four categories:

This graph is an example of a sales pattern that is analyzed on a month-on-month basis. The table shows the calculation of the mean to predict the market trend for the coming months. The table is based on the sales figures for the last four months.

Trend Analysis Example Historical Data:

trend analysis example

Best Practices for Effective Trend Analysis

Effective trend analysis is a critical tool for deriving actionable insights and guiding strategic business decisions. The following best practices will help ensure your trend analysis is both accurate and valuable:

How to Use Trend Analysis in QuestionPro?

This module allows you to plot aggregated response data over time. It is especially valuable if you are conducting a long-running survey and would like to measure differences in perception and responses over time or prepare for trend reversal in the market trends.

Such analysis can be precious as an early warning indicator of potential problems and issues with product line and service level changes that impact customers.

Explore our help file on trend analysis of survey data to learn how to use this survey feature for your market research with current and historical data.

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