IBM Social Sentiment Index Predicts New Retail Trend in the Making

      IBM Social Sentiment Index Predicts New Retail Trend in the Making

Analytics points to the "Birth of a Trend," steampunk aesthetic to pervade pop
culture in 2013

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Jan. 14, 2013

NEW YORK, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- National Retail Federation Convention
-- Based on an analysis of more than a half million public posts on message
boards, blogs, social media sites and news sources, IBM (NYSE: IBM)predicts
that 'steampunk,' a sub-genre inspired by the clothing, technology and social
mores of Victorian society, will be a major trend to bubble up, and take hold,
of the retail industry. Major fashion labels, accessories providers and
jewelry makers are expected to integrate a steampunk aesthetic into their
designs in the coming year.

(Logo: )

Measuring public sentiment can help retail chief marketing officers customize
incentives and services to be more in tune with what customers are asking for,
using data to tailor their offerings to address fast-moving trends and
real-time customer needs.

Through its sentiment analysis, IBM has found that steampunk is evolving into
a cultural 'meme' via a series of leaps across cultural domains (such as
fiction, visual arts, etc). A combination of science fiction and fantasy,
steampunk is a sub-genre based around gothic machinery and the industrialized
civilization of the 19th century. Rooted in the designs of the industrialized
civilization of the 19th century, steampunk is a retro-futuristic style of
fashion that is influenced by the works of Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla, HG Wells
and more.

Using advanced analytics, IBM has been able to track the spread of trends
geographically, chronologically and now, culturally. From 2009 to 2012, the
amount of steampunk chatter has increased eleven-fold. Since 2010, more than
two dozen US department stores and specialty retailers have become steampunk
savvy. During the next two years, IBM predicts that steampunk will shift from
low production, high cost "craft" manufacturing to mass production. 

IBM's "Birth of a Trend" project is a unique effort dedicated to understanding
the science behind predicting online trends that can revolutionize an
industry. By studying how online trends spread globally, IBM provides deep
insights into whether what's trending on social networks is, or is likely to
become, commercially viable.

Interesting points of analysis

  o33 percent of online fashion chatter around steampunk can be found on
    gaming sites
  o2010 saw a year on year increase in chatter of 296 percent. This increase
    can be attributed to steampunk-inspired NYC ComicCon events in October of
  oTwitter is the #1 social network for steampunk chatter; hosts six times
    the number of discussions as Facebook
  o63 percent of fashion discussions around steampunk are initiated by
    individuals less than 30 years old
  o55 percent of social sentiment chatter for steampunk fashion derived by

"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," said Trevor Davis, Consumer Products Expert
with IBM's Global Business Services. "By staying ahead of a trend as it
develops, a retailer can more effectively control critical merchandizing,
inventory and planning decisions. Technology can provide tremendous foresight
to help businesses differentiate what is a fleeting fad, versus what is an
enduring trend."

The IBM Social Sentiment Index combines sophisticated analytics and natural
language processing technologies to gauge consumer public opinions from
Twitter, blogs, message boards and other social media.

About the IBM Social Sentiment Index

The IBM Social Sentiment Index uses advanced analytics and natural language
processing technologies to analyze large volumes of social media data in order
to assess public opinions. The Index can identify and measure positive,
negative and neutral sentiments shared in public forums such as Twitter,
blogs, message boards and other social media, and provide quick insights into
consumer conversations about issues, products and services. Representing a new
form of market research, social sentiment analyses offer organizations new
insights that can help them better understand and respond to consumer
trends.IBM's social sentiment capabilities are delivered on an
industry-leading big data platform that can access, store and analyze any data
regardless of how fast it is moving, what type it is, or where it resides. 

For more information about IBM Social Sentiment Index, please visit the conversation at #IBMPopData on

Pasha Ray Dahncke
IBM Communications
Cell: 646-342-4013


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