It’s ironic how sometimes all the marketing research in the world does not expose hidden opportunities the way a recession or even a pandemic does. The reason might be that all the “noise” is stripped away and most of us finally see trends that are emerging or growing. The Covid pandemic has done just that. It’s exposed several trends in growing markets and revealed other opportunities in niche categories. Entrepreneurs and small business owners should pay attention to the trends, regardless of how small they might seem now as quite a few of them will evolve or pivot to even larger markets.
While some of the trends and opportunities listed below either seem obvious or you believe you are aware of them, they are a forbearer of change in that industry. Some will stick and evolve and others will go away, back to where they came from. But either way, you would be wise to review the list and see if there are any trend or opportunities you can leverage to either launch a company or even look ahead and begin working on a next generation product or service.
Outdoor glamping. Camping means quite a few things to many people. To some it’s a tent in the wild outdoors; to others it’s a small casita near a vineyard in Napa Valley. There is a new version of camping rising: glamping. Glamping is where unique luxury combines experiential travel is an authentic way to connect with nature. Don’t believe me? Well, check out Bubble Hotels founded by Nathan Resnick in San Diego who has crowdsourced over $750,000 and is in the middle of an investment round to introduce his version of glamping to the world.
Baking bread kits. Who knew that trying to buy bread flour would be so crazy during 2020? You would have thought last year was really 1960 and everybody was baking fresh bread again. As more people look to eat well and be healthier, there is a general return to good things that have been around forever. As is evidenced by Instagram, people learning how to bake bread, at least in the beginning, was awful. But perhaps people just need some guidance or even a complete bread baking kit with the starter yeast, the Dutch oven, the bread baskets and the bread board. People that are serious about baking bread know all those things and how to use them. The other 90% of us could use help.
Electric bikes are here to stay. During last year, the e-bike trend really started to accelerate. It could be a combination of baby boomers aging, people wanting them for local commutes or people increasing their range of travel. Regardless, this trend is now here and will not go away. In large urban cities, they will replace small scooters and mopeds due to their relatively low cost and increasing battery capacity and speed. Whether its sales or repairs, this industry segment will grow dramatically.
Cleaning is important again. We used to have a standard for cleaning. Covid has changed all that. Whether in the home or better yet, the commercial or B2B market, cleaning is a completely new playing field. Companies and commercial businesses are looking for next generation cleaning products and services that will ensure that their environment is “virus” clean. Think about large businesses with lots of customers like airports, train stations, bus stations, and the list goes on. All these potential customers are looking for next generation cleaning services.
Certification becomes more valuable. In talking recently to a founder of a growing cloud startup, now over 500 employees, he talked about how several of their recent hires had been people with no college degree but sold work experience and valuable certifications. This is not a fad, but a trend. Simply put, online/offline certifications deliver incredible returns for the investment, both in terms of time and resources. While a college or university degree takes three to five years to finish, online certification programs run for no longer than a few weeks or a couple of months, depending on the field of study. Google for example, in 2020 has aggressively expanded their certification programs. As certification continues to grow, there are opportunities for new startups to differentiate the types of certifications in the marketplace
Virtual tours. Before Covid, we all had been on a few video calls here and there. With the pandemic and remote work, we are all on video calls and quite frankly, we are getting burned out. But in other ways, we are excited about virtual engagement. Just look at Peloton with their bikes and online fitness trainers. We have all taken a walk or tour of our favorite city in the world and it brings back fond memories. Would we take a “virtual walk” with a real tour guide in a faraway city we have longed to visit? Amazon seems to think so. In September of 2020, Amazon Explore launched in beta which included a sizable range of choices ranging from virtual walking tours of cities and visiting landmarks to cooking courses. The company’s virtual tour of Prague will cost $85 for a 60-minute session, for example. And it’s so conveniently billed to our Prime account at Amazon. This marketplace will grow.