In this blog, we explore the journey of a trend, from its inception as a niche interest to its peak popularity and eventual decline or transformation. Understanding the relevance of the trend lifecycle can help you make more informed decisions about product development and marketing strategies, significantly improve resource allocation, and implement predictive analytics to stay ahead of the curve.

The Introduction of a Trend

This is the first stage of the trend lifecycle with many factors contributing to its inception. Innovation is a key factor in this stage, such as new ideas, technologies, or concepts that can ignite the spark of a trend, capturing the collective imagination. Cultural changes and consumer behaviour also play a part, as trends often emerge in response to changing circumstances, whether it's a new generation's values or a change in consumer shopping habits.

A Trend’s Rise to Popularity

The second stage in the lifecycle is its rise to popularity. Trends don't emerge and rise in isolation as they rely on the momentum generated by a combination of factors, such as:

Woman in purple dress walking down fashion runway

Industry Leaders: The bigger companies tend to set the standard for the upcoming season. The way this trickles down to various consumers and demographics varies from season to season. That’s where monitoring emerging micro trends is important.

Influencers and media: influencers and celebrities have the power to shape public opinion and behaviour. When they embrace a trend, whether it's a fashion style, a lifestyle choice, or a product, it often gains rapid popularity. Social media platforms have amplified this effect, enabling influencers to reach vast audiences.

Other communication channels: Word-of-mouth, endorsements, and alternate media coverage all contribute to trends gaining momentum, propelling the trend toward widespread recognition and adoption.

Trending product label in store

The Peak of a Trend

Once a trend reaches its peak, the third stage in the cycle, it becomes ingrained into our day-to-day life as another popular social trend. Mainstream acceptance is significant as these trends transcend niche interests and become part of the cultural mainstream.

Notable examples of trends that have peaked include social media platforms like TikTok, short-form video content, and AI’s role in supply chain, such as machine learning algorithms and blockchain technology. These trends not only reached their peak but left a lasting mark on society and the future development of such technologies.

The trend forecasts in jackets from 2019 to 2024

The Decline Phase

The decline of a trend is the fourth stage in the life cycle. The following are common reasons behind the decline:

Reason Explanation
Saturation When a trend becomes so pervasive that it loses its uniqueness and novelty, people may start to lose interest.
Changing Preferences As societal or consumer preferences evolve, what was once in style may no longer align with current values and tastes.
Negative Associations If a trend becomes associated with negative or controversial events or behaviours, it can lead to its rapid decline.
Technological Advancements Advancements in technology or innovations may render a trend obsolete or less relevant.

Obsolescence of a Trend

The obsolescence phase is the final stage in the trend lifecycle, marking the point at which a trend becomes completely outdated and irrelevant. This can occur due to declining usage of the once-trending product, market extinction, and replacement by new trends.

Oftentimes trends may resurface and transform in this stage, adapting accordingly to current consumer preferences, such as vinyl records, polaroid cameras, and various fashion trends.

Influencers sharing vintage jackets to their TikTok audience

Need help determining which phase of the lifecycle a trend is in?

To accurately gauge the lifecycle phase of a trend, it's crucial to maintain a strong connection with current consumer demands and social trends. For precise trend and predictive analysis, employ Trends Decoder, a powerful tool offering access to over 1000+ categories on our AI-driven trends platform.

About the Author

Shamila Shalehin is a Content Marketer at Granularity. She is a BBA student at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her experiences have seen her developing strategic marketing initiatives and driving engagement through diverse experiences including social media marketing, content marketing, and crowdfunding campaigns.

Granularity is an AI-powered trends platform that uses AI and data from TikTok, Instagram, Google and others to predict consumer trends as they emerge.

Learn more about us - trend forecasting using data from TikTok, Instagram, Amazon and others.