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Coolhunting (Market Research)

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Coolhunting (Market Research)

Coolhunting was first used as a term in the early 1990s and refers to a then new group of marketing professionals (coolhunters) who tried to predict potential new trends, or changes to existing ones, through observation. Initially, coolhunters were particularly focused on fashion and design, although as time has moved on the concept has expanded to include other sectors - such as technology for instance.

In market research terms, coolhunters are usually firms who exist with the sole or major purpose of carrying out studies and research in to young people - the youth demographic. The finished reports are then sold to companies willing to purchase them in the hope of securing an advantage through being prepared for 'the next big thing'. Many of the world's largest companies have been known to employ in-house 'coolhunting' departments - a good example being Viacom's MTV television network.

Coolhunting, and the form of marketing it informs, can be seen as more difficult than some other forms of market research - the nature of the youth demographic often makes individuals less responsive to blatant advertising or targeted marketing campaigns. As well as utilising focus groups to understand the emotional drivers behind a purchase or opinion, coolhunters may also go 'undercover' by asking an individual regarded as a trendsetter to feedback information about youth culture. Online surveys are also a popular methodology as the majority of the youth demographic is connected.

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