Fastest-growing small-business industries in 2021 unveiled

New research unveils the list of sectors considered to be the “fastest-growing” for start-ups and small businesses to venture into in 2021. These industries were determined by an analysis of the number of design projects commissioned by brands in these sectors on the 99designs platform, alongside a survey of more than 4000 consumers around the world.

The fastest-growing sectors were identified as:

  • Mushrooms: Demand for mushroom-related branding and design has risen by an enormous 525 per cent since 2018 on 99designs, increasing by 100 per cent in the last year alone. The boom comes on the back of 62 per cent of consumers saying that they are open to trying mushroom-based products including those made from maitake, shiitake, cordyceps and lion’s mane for their reported health benefits.
  • Alternative alcohol: With 60 per cent of people planning to change their drinking habits in 2021, alternative alcohol has a big potential market to tap into. Reportedly, 26 per cent of consumers want to give up alcohol completely, and 19 per cent want to reduce their alcohol consumption. Another 15 per cent are planning to switch out their usual beverages for healthier alternatives. The number of alternative alcohol-related creative projects completed on 99designs increased 257 per cent in the past three years, shooting up 215 per cent in 2020. 
  • Digital health and wellness: Access to at-home health and wellness services has been essential over the past year, given the pandemic, which in turn is giving a huge boost to the digital healthcare industry. In 2020, design projects launched by digital health businesses on 99designs increased by 107 per cent, with overall growth of 176 per cent since 2018. Globally, the most popular consumer digital health verticals are fitness and exercise (55 per cent), medical services (53 per cent) and mental health support (33 per cent). Most significantly, while 57 per cent of all consumers have used an online health service or platform of some kind in the past year, 93 per cent plan to continue using these digital products in the future. 
  • Branded merchandise: Over half of us, 52 per cent, bought branded merchandise from a business in 2020, and 81 per cent of these purchases were made to support a small business during the pandemic. It’s a trend that spans industries and 99designs has seen a 134 per cent increase in project briefs for branded merchandise since 2018, with a 32 per cent jump in 2020. 

“With everything we’ve lived through over the past twelve months, it’s not surprising that health and wellness are top of mind for both business owners and consumers, and it’s a natural evolution from some of last year’s high-growth industries such as plant-based meats and biohacking,” 99designs CEO, Patrick Llewellyn, said.

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