Difference Between Fad and Trend

The Chicago Tribune has an interesting article about the difference between a fad and a trend.

Zhu Zhu Pets are THE toy for Christmas. Every kid wants them. Cepia, the maker of Zhu Zhu Pets, is billing the toys as “the best alternatives to real live hamsters” because they “don’t poop, die or stink.”

Stores can’t keep them on the shelves.

So how does something like the Zhu Zhu (pronounced zoo-zoo) pet become a hot new toy? Experts say the answer lies in the difference between a fad and a trend.

Gerald Celente, founder of the Trends Research Institute, said there would have been no way to predict that these faux hamsters would be this year’s hot toy because it is a fad.

“A toy trend would be something that reflects the broader society, that tells you where society is going, something society needs,” he said.

Celente said a trend has social, economic and other elements that make prediction possible. A fad, he said, is more like a “viral infection,” something that leaves as quickly as it arrives.

R.J. Hottovy, a stock analyst studying consumer-related names for Morningstar, said it is difficult to know whether something will be a trend or a fad until a few months have passed. The key to moving beyond fad and into trend, he said, is creating a broad enough product base. He said that Crocs footwear, for example, did not evolve the way Ugg boots have, by moving on to appeal to various sectors of the market.

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Photo by Cepia.

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