IBM’s Social Sentiment Index has predicted that “steampunk” will become a major trend that will make a huge impact on the retail industry in the coming years.
The IBM Social Sentiment Index utilizes advanced analytics and natural language processing technologies to analyze huge volumes of social media data so as to understand public opinions.
Accessing the data provided by Twitter, Facebook, blogs, message boards and news sources the Index can identify and quantify positive, negative and neutral sentiments towards consumer trends. It represents a new form of market research that can help organizations tell the difference between what is a passing fad and what will be an enduring trend. By measuring public sentiment, the IBM data allows retailers the opportunity to adapt their products to suit customer needs and desires.
In the case of steampunk – a retro-futuristic sub-genre inspired by the technology, clothing and social mores of Victorian society – the Index predicts a huge growth. It predicts that many major fashion labels, jewelry makers and accessories providers will incorporate the steampunk aesthetic into their designs in the next year.
IBM’s sentiment analysis has shown that steampunk is fast developing into a cultural meme and is leaping across various different cultural domains like fiction and visual arts. The data found that from the year 2009 until 2012 steampunk “chatter” has increased eleven-fold and because of this IBM predict that over the next two years steampunk will make the transition from low production, high cost craft manufacturing into the market of mass production.
The Sentiment Analytics found that Twitter is the top social network for steampunk chatter – playing host to 6 times the amount of related discussions as Facebook. The statistics also revealed that 63% of fashion discussions about steampunk were started by people under the age of 30 and that 33% of online steampunk fashion chatter takes place gaming sites.
The data also found that in the year 2010 the steampunk chatter increased by 296% percent, market experts believe that this dramatic increase was due to the steampunk-inspired NYC ComicCon events.
Trevor Davis, Consumer Products Expert with IBM’s Global Business Services said;
“Smart retailers are using social analytics to better understand, predict and shape consumer demand for “must-have” products before a particular trend gets saturated in the marketplace… By staying ahead of a trend as it develops, a retailer can more effectively control critical merchandizing, inventory and planning decisions.”