Every entrepreneur thinks they’re on to the next big thing. And maybe they are. But it helps to gauge the markets and trends before you leap into the startup scene. So, if you’re a budding entrepreneur, here are 20 of the most promising markets to look into in 2019:
Virtual reality has fascinated us ever since it was just a sci-fi dream. Now, as VR tech becomes more immersive and realistic than ever, the possibilities for applying it in the real world are endless. Not just a fun new way to game, VR has also been touted as the future of therapy, training, sales, and much more.
‘Voluntourism’, during which people combine their holiday with making a positive difference, has been popular with gap-year students and carefree young couples for a while now. As we grow more ethically conscious, many want to instil volunteer values into the next generation. Startups which can work with local communities and charities to provide family-friendly voluntourism opportunities are likely to be a big hit in 2019 and beyond.
No longer just the plaything of the military, the accessibility and sophistication of modern drones open up a plethora of opportunities for the canny entrepreneur. From photography to logistics, agriculture, and even search-and-rescue, there’s an awful lot of potential in those little airborne ‘bots'.
We all sobbed our way through that Blue Planet II episode with the heartbroken whale whose baby died after eating plastic. The impact of decades of wilful plastic usage has never been more apparent – and current generations want to do something about it. Initiatives which help to clean up plastic pollution and/or help people to live a plastic-free lifestyle will prove a popular salve for consciences worldwide.
We don’t just want green energy – we desperately need it. Startups which can bring clean, green, renewable energy to the masses will be welcomed with open arms. There are opportunities all over this industry. Think about electric cars, for example. Even if you’re not providing the green energy for them to run, you could be improving access to charging ports. If the thought of simultaneously saving and powering the planet enthuses you, give this growth area some thought.
Biotech isn’t just about gene-editing and bionic limbs (although those things are pretty cool). It’s also about smaller but increasingly popular concepts, like health-monitoring chip implants, retinal or thumbprint scanning instead of passwords, fitness wearables, and so on. Biotech is a high-risk industry to enter but, if you can crack it, the potential rewards are immense.
Marketing has always relied upon content, but Google and SEO have underlined that reliance. Good social media figures, high-performing email marketing, decent SEO and viral marketing all depend heavily on quality content. Content is what defines a brand’s voice and values, draws in customers, and maintains the customer-brand relationship. In this post-GDPR world, with Google’s SEO algorithms getting more sophisticated by the minute, well-crafted original content is what everyone is clamouring for.
‘Micromobility’ is a fast-growing industry. Gadgets, apps, and initiatives which help people to get from A to B without having to board a train or resort to four wheels are very popular. Think Boris Bikes and e-scooters.
Upcycling with a touch of Eastern class, Kintsugi promises to dominate Pinterest in the near future. This Japanese art involves repairing or recycling broken items in beautiful and artistic ways. You’ve probably seen that motivational meme about broken ceramics in Japan having their cracks filled with gold? That’s Kintsugi.
Everybody loves a good selfie, but the traditional phone-at-arms-length selfie is getting boring. The selfie-stick was fun for a bit, and we all had a moment with dog-face filters, but modern consumers are demanding more flexible and varied selfie options. Consumers want to fit more into their selfie shots, and they want more control over the shooting process. If you can revolutionise the selfie in intuitive and exciting ways, you’re onto a winner.
From mindfulness apps to fitness trackers to addiction-busting online programmes, digital health initiatives are huge right now. Digital health and lifestyle apps are teaching millions lifestyle tips and techniques to overcome their biggest health challenges. This is an area which is set to grow and grow.
Move over gluten-free movement, the plant-based lifestyle is where it’s at these days. Apps, veg-boxes, consultancy – there are plenty of things to capitalise on in this hungry and growing market.
It won’t be long before ‘Marie Kondo’ is used as a verb. Millennials, sick of clearing out their parents’ hoards and unable to fill their own houses with expensive trinkets are embracing the minimalist lifestyle wholeheartedly. If it’s not important to you, don’t have it. This philosophy can be applied broadly, and it’s something that’s coming to define a generation. If you can cut the clutter (be that physical, emotional, psychological, or however else you want to apply the term), do it!
Let’s face it, beauty and fashion should always have been bespoke. We all look different, are built differently, and like different styles. One size has never fit all. Bringing personalised beauty and fashion to the folks on the street is set to shake up the beauty industry bigtime this year.
We’re wising up to the dangers of too much screentime, but many of us are helpless to do anything about it. Startups which help people to undergo digital detox – be that by getting back to basics, heading out (phone-free) into the great outdoors, or by more draconian measures (like scheduled phone lock-outs and the like) will find a burgeoning market awaiting.
Reworking traditionally face-to-face formats for online engagement could seriously improve access to vital services worldwide. Remember how email changed the world of communications, enabling people to reach one another across oceans and timezones and socio-economic boundaries within seconds? Online consultancy services could do a similar thing. Think of Harley Street psychiatrists consulting with housebound patients in the back of beyond, or of a top London mentor able to help out a small rural business. Facilitating this kind of thing has a lot of potential.
We’re fast wising up to the importance of full demographic representation in children’s products. Toys, apps, stories and so on which are aimed at children and include a representative swathe of BAME and other minority characters and issues are increasingly popular. This is a topical and fertile area which is crying out for new innovators and storytellers.
Anyone who’s even glanced at Instagram knows how popular pets are. We adore our furry, feathery, and scaly companions. In line with the general growth in ethical consciousness, the public is more aware than ever of their pets’ needs and welfare. If you can offer a service which will demonstrably improve the life of both pet and owner, we strongly suggest that you go for it.
Eyebrows. Gone are the days when you could let your eyebrows grow wild and free (or shave them off and redraw them). A perfectly groomed eyebrow is a must in 2019. Nothing tames a brow like microblading, and it’s a relatively easy skill to learn. A great ‘in’ if you’re looking to get a foothold in the beauty industry.
Nobody has any time for planned obsolescence any more. If you can fix a shattered screen, replace a bottomed-out battery, work your way around water-damage or smooth out a battered lens, expect a queue at your workshop every morning.
You may have noticed a bit of a theme, here. Minimalism, make-do-and-mend, sustainability. The old, throwaway culture is on its way out, and we need something to replace it with. If you’ve got an idea which can help people to live simply, ethically, and healthily, we recommend that you give it a go! All the very best of luck to you, whatever your big idea is. We hope that you’re the next big thing!
Food for thought
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