Coolhunting is a term coined in the 1990s and is often used as a synonym for trend spotting. Whichever term is used, the idea is simple: to find out what the next major trend will be in popular culture, either before it emerges or as it is emerging. Many companies have an interest in coolhunting because they want to offer products that will be well received by their target demographics, so it is vital to understand what those demographics think and feel, what designs and concepts they are attracted to, and what they are averse to. Trend spotting such as this is used in many different industries, but it is perhaps most common in the worlds of fashion and design, technology, and popular culture.

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