IBM Launches Watson App, Uncovers Holiday Trends

IBM has launched the IBM Watson Trend App, an application designed to provide insight into the top trends of the holiday season and also predict the hottest products — before they sell out.

The app scans 10,000 sources across the Internet such as social media sites, blogs, forums, comments, ratings and reviews to gauge consumer sentiment on trends and products. In gathering this data, the Watson app reveals how consumers feel about the products they are considering or have purchased.

Powered by the Watson platform, the app uses natural language processing and machine learning technologies to pinpoint patterns and trends revealing why people are choosing certain products or brands. The app also uses predictive analytics to forecast whether a particular trend is a fleeting fad or will continue to remain strong.


Watson predicts that for the first time ever, mobile’s percentage of digital traffic will exceed that of desktops from the Thanksgiving-to-Cyber Monday period. Mobile traffic will reach 57%, increasing 17% over the same period last year. Mobile sales are expected to reach 36%, up 34% over 2014. Thanksgiving will produce the highest percentages of mobile sales and traffic over the five-day stretch, topping 59%, while mobile sales near 39%, both all-time highs.

Watson Predicts Legos, Running Shoes, DSLRs Among Most-Desired Gifts

Watson’s natural language engine aggregates consumer insights into three distinct trend groups: content, context and sentiment. The app creates a score from 0 to 100 for each trend, based on the size of the conversation and its rate of growth.

Here are some top holiday trends discovered by the Watson Trend App:

  • The new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, has made Lego bricks the hottest toy item of the holiday season. Watson predicts three sets will sell out: Star Wars, Lego City and Friends, and recommends that shoppers should take advantage of early Black Friday deals;

  • Smartphone photographers are looking to upgrade to stand alone cameras that offer more features and superior picture quality. Watson identified the Nikon DSLR camera as the top choice among amateurs, while expert photographers are setting their sights on Sony’s 42 megapixel Alpha 7RII mirrorless camera;

  • Consumers are flocking to brands offering “barefoot running” or “natural running” shoes that are marketed to help prevent injury. Nike shoe owners particularly tend to value the product’s color, design and versatility as both athletic and casual footwear. The most talked-about models are Nike’s Free, the Air Max and Flyknit Racing Shoes, according to the app; and

  • Mattel’s connected-toy, Hello Barbie, will be a hot item for children this season. The new toy enables children to have a two-way conversation with Barbie, and also allows for parental control of all conversations. Another “edutainment” toy expected to be popular during the season is the new PAW Patrol Imagicard Learning Game for LeapFrog tablets.

The app is available for free download at the Apple App Store.


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