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In an era where word of mouth and personal recommendations have become an essential part of the purchasing process, trendsetters and early adopters can play a critical role in brand’s efforts to connect with consumers. Brands that create strong relationships with this group can benefit not only from their purchases, but also from the many others who take their advice on what to wear, what to watch, how to stay healthy and what new tech to invest in.

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Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Lisa Dubina, a leading analyst in the Lifestyles sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Trendsetters do not just pave the way for cutting-edge tech brands. This group of engaged consumers can bolster the perceptions of value brands, bring authenticity to luxury brands and help connect fitness fanatics with products outside of the gym environment. Brands can connect with trendsetters who may not be internet influencers but are still advocating on a brand’s behalf Lisa Dubina
Senior Lifestyles Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definitions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Trendsetter overview: Young, urban, engaged
    • Impact of COVID-19 on trendsetters and early adopters
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on trendsetters and early adopters, July 2020
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Challenge: Sure they set trends – but don’t call them trendsetters
    • Opportunity: Highlight how they help
      • Figure 2: Trendsetter attitudes and identities, by trendsetter groups, May 2020
    • Style trendsetters are highly engaged but high maintenance
    • Challenge: High expectations of brands
    • Opportunity: They seek out brand engagement
      • Figure 3: Select behaviors and attitudes, general population vs style trendsetters, May 2020
    • Fitness trendsetters prefer in-person to social media
    • Challenge: Hard to engage on social media
    • Opportunity: COVID-19 offers a chance to level-up at home
      • Figure 4: Select behaviors and attitudes, health and fitness trendsetters, May 2020
    • For tech trendsetters, it’s all about digital and data
    • Challenge: They may underestimate their own influence
    • Opportunity: Bolstering established brands in uncertain times
      • Figure 5: Select behaviors and attitudes, tech trendsetters, May 2020
    • What it means
  3. Target Audience – What You Need to Know

    • Less than a fifth of consumers are trendsetters
    • Style experts are young, urban dwellers
    • Fitness experts are male and well-educated
    • Tech experts most likely to be male
    • Trendsetters seem conflicted about trends
  4. Target Audience: Trendsetters and Early Adopters

    • Defining Trendsetters
    • Highest engagement with tech, lowest with style
      • Figure 6: Defining trendsetters and early adopters, May 2020
    • Less than a fifth of consumers per category are trendsetters
      • Figure 7: Size of trendsetter groups, May 2020
    • Who are trendsetters and early adopters?
    • Style experts more diverse in gender and income
      • Figure 8: Personal style trendsetters, indexed to all, May 2020
    • Health and fitness experts skew male, educated
      • Figure 9: Health and fitness style trendsetters, indexed to all, May 2020
    • Tech trendsetters more likely to be men
      • Figure 10: Tech trendsetters, indexed to all, May 2020
  5. Trendsetters: In Their Own Words

    • Conflicted about trends. . .
    • But more positive on trendsetters
    • Many trendsetters don’t consider themselves one
  6. The Consumer – What You Need to Know

    • Helpful experts, rather than trendsetters
    • Enthusiastic users of social, especially YouTube
    • Following the leaders, leading the followers
    • Value and familiarity still matter
    • Two-way communication critical with brands
  7. The Trendsetter Identity

    • Proud of their status and expertise
      • Figure 11: Trendsetter identities, trendsetters and general population, May 2020
    • Style experts identify most with trendsetting
      • Figure 12: Trendsetter identities, by trendsetter category, May 2020
    • Sharing is caring
      • Figure 13: Trendsetter rewards, trendsetters and general population, May 2020
    • Social media is particularly critical for the style savvy
      • Figure 14: Trendsetter rewards, by trendsetter category, May 2020
    • Who considers themselves to be a trendsetter?
      • Figure 15: Trendsetter attitudes – CHAID – Tree output, May 2020
  8. Social Media Platforms

    • YouTube is the top platform across categories
      • Figure 16: Social media platforms used by trendsetters, May 2020
    • Tech trendsetters use the widest variety of social media
      • Figure 17: Social media platforms used by trendsetters, by trendsetter groups, May 2020
    • Men are on Twitter, women are on Pinterest
      • Figure 18: Social media platforms used by trendsetters, by gender, May 2020
    • Instagram, TikTok skew younger; Facebook older
      • Figure 19: Social media platforms used by trendsetters, by age, May 2020
    • Hispanic trendsetters drawn to the visual
      • Figure 20: Social media platforms used by trendsetters, by race and Hispanic origin, May 2020
  9. Social Media Engagement

    • Both leaders and followers
      • Figure 21: Trendsetter engagement on social media, May 2020
    • Health and fitness trendsetters less engaged with brands
      • Figure 22: Trendsetter engagement on social media, by trendsetter groups, May 2020
    • Women more interested in learning, men in creating content
      • Figure 23: Trendsetter engagement on social media, by gender, May 2020
  10. Trendsetters and Shopping Behaviors

    • Even trendsetters are deal seekers
      • Figure 24: Trendsetter shopping behaviors, May 2020
    • Personal style trendsetters take more risks
      • Figure 25: Trendsetter shopping behaviors – purchases, by trendsetter groups, May 2020
    • Urban dwellers explore new brands, buy through social
      • Figure 26: Trendsetter shopping behaviors – purchases, by area of residence, May 2020
    • Tech trendsetters are savvy shoppers
      • Figure 27: Trendsetter shopping behaviors – purchases, by trendsetter groups, May 2020
    • Older trendsetters are most focused on value
      • Figure 28: Trendsetter shopping behaviors – purchases, by age, May 2020
  11. Brand Engagement

    • Trendsetters want a two-way street
      • Figure 29: Brand engagement, trendsetters and general population, May 2020
    • Style trendsetters require the most engagement
      • Figure 30: Brand engagement, by trendsetter groups, May 2020
    • Incentives can help, but aren’t always necessary
      • Figure 31: Trendsetter success, trendsetters and general population, May 2020
    • Originality and getting value from social highest for style mavens
      • Figure 32: Trendsetter success, trendsetters by category, May 2020
  12. Mintel Trend Drivers: What You Need to Know

    • For wellness, new opportunity out of challenge
    • Tech answers need for interaction
    • Taking fashion from a dictatorship to a democracy
  13. What’s Happening Next: Wellbeing

      • Figure 33: Mintel Global Trend Drivers
      • Figure 34: Mintel Global Trend Driver – Wellbeing
    • Wellbeing is more important than ever – but harder to achieve
    • Nike bridges the gap
      • Figure 35: Nike play for the world Instagram post, March 2020
    • Bringing the gym – and influencers – back home
  14. What’s Happening Next: Technology

      • Figure 36: Mintel Global Trend Drivers
      • Figure 37: Mintel Global Trend Driver – Technology
    • Strong opportunity as the world embraces virtual
      • Figure 38: How to work from home with Samsung DeX | Colin and Samir, May 2020
    • High tech, low touch?
  15. What’s Happening Next: Identity

      • Figure 39: Mintel Global Trend Drivers
      • Figure 40: Mintel Global Trend Driver – Identity
    • COVID-19 gives trendsetters an opportunity to democratize fashion
    • An opportunity in influencer backlash?
      • Figure 41: Glossier Instagram post, April 2020
  16. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • CHAID Methodology
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


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