Trends reports give insight into what will happen in the near future. This allows businesses to prepare themselves for changes in consumer behavior or technology usage and adapt their operations accordingly. In this FAQ we describe how to present trends research within an organization or for a client with a written report. We cover the structure of the trend report and provide writing-style examples.
A trends analysis report is used to identify future market conditions. It also helps in understanding the growth opportunities for different segments of an industry. A report on trends provides information about the key drivers, restraints, challenges, threats, and opportunities that are influencing the global market. Trends reports are used by companies to understand their competitors’ business strategies and plan new product launches or expansions accordingly.
No matter what your writing skills, you could borrow from our sample industry trend report as a guide but it will be better if you follow some guidelines while writing your own trend report:
1) Start with an introduction which includes background information about the topic. This should include what problem does this study intend to solve?
2) Include a methodology section where you describe the process followed to collect data from various sources especially secondary or desk research.
3) Consider adding an executive summary early in the document. An executive summary is to provide readers with a quick overview of the main points covered in the report. In addition, it gives them enough time to digest all the important details before they move onto reading the rest of the report.
4) As you commence the main section of the report where you cover the analysis of the research, start with an overview of the current landscape: consumer insights and industry status. Consider also adding an STEEP analysis here. A STEEP analysis is a framework that allows you to analyze the competitive environment within which your company operates. The goal of a STEEP analysis is to highlight emerging technological advancements, industries, and markets that could pose significant risks or offer exciting opportunities for your organization.
5) Present a set of higher level takeaways and/or recommendations from the analysis of the research. What are the larger themes that are pervasive across the trends you have identified? What is the impact on your business?
6) Support each trend identified with examples, or manifestations, of that trend. Add additional statistics and expert opinion that supports the trend. If you ran primary research during the trends research project, add extracts of supporting data here.
7) For each trend include a list of implications for the organization. Business implications could include changes in strategy, operations, processes, people, actual technology, etc. These may require further investigation into the potential impacts of these changes.
8) Consider organizing the trends around larger themes — to make the flow of the document easier to navigate. Those themes could be macro-trends, stages of a purchase path or the stage in a hype cycle — and trends could be associated with each theme or stage.
9) Finally, consider including a conclusion at the end of the trend report summarizing the major findings of the report along with recommendations based on these findings.
Examples of trend research companies include Mintel and PSFK. Your advertising agency might have a strategy or planning department that already offers this service as part of their retainer with your organization. Also consumer goods companies will often prepare complimentary reports for their retailer partners.
If you want to learn more about boosting your business intelligence with custom trends reports, contact the PSFK research team.