The world of retail runs on predicting the future. What you buy in July was decided on in November. Trendspotting used to happen largely in person — retailers had eyes and ears on the ground, hunting for cool. Now it is an obsessive study in web traffic and reviews, Instagram and TikTok posts, bridal registry data and restaurant and hotel bookings. This was always a piece of the puzzle for many chains, but it became central to their survival in the past year.
So as we are preparing to head back into the real world, what we will wear and buy once we’re out there is being dictated more than ever by our lives online.