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Trend Q&A: Debunking forecasting misconceptions

Trend forecasting, managing insights, predictive trends. Polaroid-style image of sunglasses
WGSN Original Image, JOSHUA COLEMAN/Unsplash
Feb 09, 2022 By WGSN Insider

Consumer forecasting misconceptions, what it takes to be a trend forecaster and how to manage contradicting trend insights. That and more on today’s episode.

Want to know what’s next? Listen to the show where our experts from around the globe unpack your biggest challenges. This week, WGSN’s Executive Editorial Director Bethan Ryder takes us to Bogotá, London and Los Angeles for a trend forecasting myth-busting special. Hear from the friendly faces of our Client Services, Content and Consultancy teams.

Watch the full episode below or read on for highlights of this episode:

Q: What’s the biggest misconception about the trend forecasting industry?
“The biggest misconception about the trend forecasting industry is that we just take a peek into our magic crystal ball to see what the future holds and translate it into reports, trends and even products. But at WGSN, we have a thorough investigation process that focuses on consumers. Our STEPIC methodology analyses and tracks changes throughout society, technology, environment, politics, industry and creativity, using proprietary data and research to give us insight into consumers’ needs and drivers.”
– Maria Pascua, Client Services, WGSN
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Q: What skills are needed to become an accurate forecaster of trends, products and consumers?
“The fundamental skill of being a great forecaster is a curious mind and a passion for culture, creativity and uncovering the most exciting and influential trends in innovators. You must be able to expertly balance the creative and analytical sides of your brain. The industry is changing and it’s no longer just about gut instinct. In this super risk-averse climate, forecasters should back up their predictions, so getting fluent with data analysis is a must.”
– Polly Walters, Senior Commissioning Strategist, WGSN

Q: Trends or forecasts can sometimes seem contradictory. For example, the rise in the metaverse and the outdoor boom. How do you reconcile contradictory trends?

“Within geographic regions, visions of the future, individual consumers, we all behave in complicated, somewhat contradictory ways. So when two trend signals seem to be opposing, it doesn’t necessarily mean one of them is right and the other wrong. But it does invite us to re-examine how we are framing the trend. Are food trends ultimately about where the food is cooked? Or is what’s driving food behaviour a need for novelty, which leads me to order from new restaurants and cook new recipes?”
– Grant Wenzlau, Head of Consultancy, WGSN
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