Trend analysis is a methodology used in research to gather and study data for prediction-making about future customer behavior based on the analysis of observed and recorded data from past and ongoing trends.
In other words, trend analysis is the process that studies statistical data and recorded market behavior over a specific period to generate valuable insights employing this data for strategizing future business plans. It helps determine the main characteristics of the 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. It 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 the matter of a few weeks or months) or identifying 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 analysis so that you can start using it in all your research projects.
With the trend analysis report, you can compare historical data and get answers to questions like:
Has your NPS score improved over time?
Has the customer experience changed as compared to the last quarter?
Do employees engage more now? Is there an increase in employee retention?
Are sales expected to grow this year?
Trend analysis helps to display a summary of long term data. Use it to investigate variability at different time points and capture how the customers and markets respond over time. Use trend analysis to identify the best time for demand in the market and also identify low-demand phases to take actions accordingly.
QuestionPro lets you filter results based on the below data filters:
Data set filter: You can choose to view the report on the entire data set or a group of responses that meet custom criteria.
Survey completion status: Filter results based on the surveys started, completed or terminated.
Date: Set the start and end dates to compare data in a specific time frame.
Frequency: Select if you want the reports to be exported daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly.
Output data: Choose whether you want to view the data items in percentages or detailed statistics in the trend analysis report of the survey results.
You can view trends in survey research data using below chart formats:
Area spline chart
Area stacked chart
Area spline stacked chart
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 the consumers need and what gets outrightly rejected. It helps them make timely changes in the products and then push it out in the market. For instance, it helps identify 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. Customer satisfaction levels can change due to even minor changes in the business style 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 aspects of their business like the stock price and cost drivers affecting their products or services over time periods. 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. Trend analysis is a handy tool to gauge the profit for an investor.
Here are the business benefits of running a trend analysis:
Strategy building: Trend analysis helps in predicting new business entrants, and allows the company to develop strategies to uphold their industrial position. Analyzing trends can help zero in new products to be launched. For instance, if the trend reports show that the 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: It facilitates businesses and organizations to make strategic decisions 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: It is instrumental as an indicator to identify the underperforming areas of the business. Most organizations conduct customer satisfaction surveys to identify 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 after data analysis, and work on them, conduct a survey, and measure the change in results over time.
Business feedback: It helps in identifying the areas in which the business is performing well and duplicate the strategies for business expansion.
The most common way to classify the various types of Trend Analysis is usually based on the method used. These methods are divided into: Temporal, Geographic and Intuitive. Let's talk about it.
This type of methodology is used to analyze patterns and trends of a given group of 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 with the clear intention of detecting and analyzing trends that arise.
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.
The geographic method is generally easy and reliable; it can be the means to identify commonalities and differences between user groups belonging to the same or different geographies.
The main purpose of the geographic method is the analysis of 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 that are specific to the geographic location user groups.
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.
It is helpful for prediction-making without the need for large amounts of statistical data. However, some issues with the methodology are the overreliance on knowledge and logic provided by futurists and researchers, which makes it prone to become biased to its researcher.
The intuitive method is the most difficult type of trend analysis and might not be as precise.
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 show the prediction of the trend for the coming months. The table is based on the sales figure for the last four months.
Trend Analysis example:
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 reversals in the market.
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.
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