Fashion ideas to business concept: How to research market conditions, trends, demand, and competition for a new business

This guide will help you research and explore a new fashion business concept.  Below you will find industry and market research databases that discuss trends,  customer demands, target market (demographics and psycho-graphics), competitor and industry benchmarking, and more.

  1. Understand the overall industry
  2. Understand current and future trends
  3. Identify competitors, similar companies, and aspirant peers
  4. Understand the consumer/customer
  5. Understand the local market


Where can I get an overall understanding of the fashion industry?

Screenshot of Business Blog "Industry Guides" page.
Look at other guides for broad industry information.

This guide focuses mostly on consumers, market, and location.  For general industry information, you may be able to adapt resources found on these guides:

What are current and future trends in the fashion industry?

You’re bound to find tons of websites that address current and future trends.  If I could only recommend one, it would be WGSN, which is one of our subscription databases.

A screenshot of the WGSN fashion database website.
WGSN is a great resource for understanding future trends
WGSN (Worth Global Style Network)  claims to be the The world’s #1 – and most trusted – online fashion forecasting and trend service.  (we only subscribe to the Fashion module).
  • It is a very unique resource that focuses on hip trends in the fashion scene
  • It’s not a resource that I’ve used a whole lot, but check it out, as you may find it useful for your own research.
  • Most of the content in WGSN covers current and future fashion styles, so you could use this to understand future consumers.
  • This can be a great resource to dream up new product ideas.

Who are some of the major players in the industry sector?

When researching a new business idea, it’s a good idea to get to know the current companies in the industry sector.


Use Mergent Intellect to find companies and competitors by user-defined search criteria, such as size, location, industry, sales, and more.

  • Also use to find nearby companies to your prospective location.
  • Can be useful in finding sales information (estimates)  for many private companies.


Privco is a database of larger private companies that can be used to find similar companies or companies that you aspire yours to be like.

  • For the fashion industry, you might use Privco to identify companies (business concepts) in your particular area of interest.
  • Use the advanced search feature to filter companies by industry (Consumer Products –> Apparel), and by additional criteria if you wish (location, growth rate, size, number of employees, minority ownership, and more).
A screenshot demonstrating the Privco industry filter search.
How to find companies by industry in Privco



How can I better understand the customer/consumer?

When exploring a new business concept, you’ll want to understand the demographics and psycho-graphics of consumers in your target market.


Mintel contains a number of very useful market research reports that you can use to better understand consumers.

  • Search by keyword to find in-depth market research reports, or browse to the Category Overview for “Clothing and Footwear.”
  • These comprehensive reports can be used to understand what customers like, why they buy particular products, where they buy, etc.
  • Use the “What’s New” tab to find Analyst Insight that can help you identify future trends.
A screenshot of the Analyst Insights in Mintel, as described above.
Use the Analyst Insights to understand current and future trends.



Simmons Oneview contains demographic information about users of specific consumer products and those who engage in particular activities.

  • Data includes what they use, income and educational level, what types of media they use, and more.
  • The challenge with Simmons is trying to figure out which data really tells the story, or gets close enough to telling the story.
  • For the fashion industry sector, you can find demographic information by major products and store brands, as well as by attitudes about apparel, type of apparel purchases, and more.
  • The video below demonstrates the basics of Simmons.
  • Use the images below the video for possible search strategy suggestions for fashion and apparel.

an image describing How to find demographics of people who have bought specific clothing
How to find demographics of people who have bought specific clothing
and image demonstrating How to find demographics of people who have specific attitudes about clothing and fashion
How to find demographics of people who have specific attitudes about clothing and fashion

How can I predict how my business will do in a location?

While it’s impossible to entirely predict the future, you can use the tools below to gather a good understanding of consumer demand in you proposed business location.


SimplyAnalytics provides demographic, business, or marketing data down to the local level, allowing users to create customized maps and reports with an almost unlimited number of variables.

  • Find Census data in SimplyAnalytics to look at the household income, average age, percent by gender, and much more in your local market region.
  • For specific fashion-related information, you can find local customer information by major products and store brands, as well as by attitudes about apparel, type of apparel purchases, and more.
  • The video below shows how to use SimplyAnalytics.  When watching the video, imagine using that data to determine demand for a sports apparel store.


Bizminer  can be used to understand how specific industries are performing in a region.

  • It contains industry financial ratios, failure and startup rates, competitive market analysis, industry vitality rating, and more for industries in user-specified locations, including county, city, and zip code level.
  • Browse by NAICS sector code to see the full availability of reports and data.
  • Bizminer is a fantastic tool to use for financial benchmarking against industry averages
  • As and example of what you can do with Bizminer, this video shows you how to use Bizminer to benchmark against industry averages of sporting goods companies in a specific location, while also understanding the local market.

Related Topics: Business Cluster, Featured, Industry Guides