What Are Online Trends?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Voight
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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Analysts who study online trends are observing consumer online behavior, preferences, and habits to determine what is driving a demographic. Trend watchers analyze large amounts of data and keyword searches and make connections to capitalize on areas of growing popularity with consumers. The purpose of studying online trends is to pinpoint business and marketing opportunities as they arise in order to better meet those needs and make a profit.

Business analysts are taking note of the growing presence of the Internet in all aspects of life, from social interaction to doing business to entertainment. Online interaction leaves a trail that is easy for researchers to follow. Cookies track consumer movements, while search engines keep track of the most popular web searches and most commonly used keywords. Social media sites track popular subjects and monitor what people are talking about.

Entire industries are being founded upon making this information available to businesses, which are more than willing to pay for it. Identifying emerging trends helps businesses and entrepreneurs develop new goods and services for consumers as well as reach more customers. Subtle changes in online trends can indicate only what is happening in the present. They cannot predict the future. Still, researchers and analysts use online trends as a tool to find new areas of innovation.


Generally, online trends consist of three categories. Macro trends track online business trends from a political, economic, or cultural standpoint. Emerging technologies are also in this category. Analyzing these forces can help provide a bigger picture or context for online trends. These tend to be the larger forces that are beyond manipulation.

Consumer trends are behavioral tendencies in buying behavior. These online trends follow where money is or is not being spent. Consumer online trends frequently are reactions to macro trends. For, example, when the economy is strong, spending goes up. Where consumers spend their money can also identify emerging values, concerns, and mindsets among consumers and offer behavioral clues about what might drive customers to spend more.

Observing industry trends can help identify which industries are likely to grow and emerge and which are declining. This can help identify where changes should be made, such as concentrating on a new market or adding a new technology. Industry trends must respond and react to macro trends and consumer trends. By studying patterns that occur within industries, analysts can observe and predict industry trends in the context of consumer and macro trends.


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