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What Are Micro Trends?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
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Micro trends are business and economic trends that are associated with specific sectors of the marketplace and tend to involve only a small percentage of the activity or movement that is occurring. Sometimes limited to an impact in a given geographical location or having relevance to a specific demographic or set of demographics, the influence of micro trends on the overall economy or marketplace is indirect rather than direct. While subtle and sometimes unnoticed, trends of this type can exert an impact that is experienced long after those trends have subsided.

One way to understand the idea of micro trends is to consider the creation of motion pictures that lack wide appeal but do seem to resonate with a certain type of moviegoer. From time to time, a film is produced that is highly successful with a particular age or other demographic group in the wider consumer base. That success will often motivate movie studios to develop more releases that fall into the same genre and are specifically aimed at the consumer groups who made the first release a success. At the same time, the studios continue to produce films aimed at other demographics, making it possible to appeal to a wider audience.

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The same general concept of micro trends may develop in other industries. Fashion designs that are successful with consumers within a certain age may begin in a local market and gradually begin to capture the attention of people in the same age bracket in other areas, while still being relatively unheard of by consumers in other age brackets. In like manner, micro trends related to decorating concepts, music, and automobile designs may develop, owing to ideas that capture the attention of consumers within a particular niche market for a time.

While the main success of micro trends may go unnoticed by the wider economy, those same trends may subtly influence what is happening in other markets. For example, if a certain type of footwear becomes popular with teenagers, there is the possibility that the trend will begin to exert some influence on designs for young adults and eventually the type of footwear chosen by older adults. While the footwear that appealed to teens may not translate easily into other markets, characteristics of those trendy products are incorporated into shoes and other footwear designed for those other markets. In this way, micro trends often have some sort of indirect impact on the products that appeal to a wider range of consumers.

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