We at TimesNext love publishing data-backed emerging trends and business opportunities. This year we published 100+ such ideas and deep dives on industries like fintech, sextech, hemp, and biohacking.
Some of these trends have surpassed our expectations, whereas others, like student coins, remained our wishful thinking.
Nonetheless, it has been thrilling to watch many of you launching successful businesses based on TimesNext research. We aspire to even more in 2022. (Looking to share your business story inspired by us? Reach out to us here.)
In this story, we are breaking down our top hits and misses for 2021 and updated opportunities to get your business inspiration flowing.
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👍 Mental Fitness
Mental fitness is among the several trends we covered in our deep dive into the biohacking industry.
As has been the case with physical fitness, mental fitness has been the successive step of the mental health revolution. It is a proactive approach to developing our mental abilities to handle adversity.
The funding in the mental health sector touched over 10.74 million USD as of August this year, a five-fold jump from all of 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic brought mental fitness discussions to the forefront (1).
India has several startups like Wysa that integrate AI-guided listening with professional support to help users manage stress. Other such startups that focus on mental health include MindMed, Brightline, and Innerhour.
Digital challenges such as 75 hard push allow participants to cultivate consistency and grit (2). At the same time, communities like Coa serve as a gym for the mind, with ongoing classes on everything from leadership to confidence.
We can expect more buzz in this space next year.
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👎 Student Coin
Earlier this year, we wrote about Student Coin, a crypto project that allows educational institutes to mint their NFTs and DeFi tokens. They could be used to issue everything from diplomas to loans.
Even though the coin price had risen about 100% year-on-year, it is down at least 90% since its midyear high (3).
Even the growth of its subreddit community has slowed down (4). While it is not a total miss, we consider it 👎 since it lost its momentum.
Nonetheless, DeFi still allows things like self-paying loans, which has a huge potential for universities. Even though the crypto projects seem to simmer, the opportunities we talked about still hold their promise.
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👍 Party For One, aka Solo Experiences
Earlier this year, we discussed the rise of “super solo” experience culture in Japan and how the world is following the suit. And we can’t end the year without checking in on it.
As per Statista (5), the share of singles, particularly in industrialized countries, has risen over the past decade. We can see this phenomenon in culturally and geographically diverse countries like Japan, France, and the USA. In other words, the number of single young people is growing at an exponential rate worldwide (6).
There has been a significant rise in businesses catering to individuals over groups for different activities, including dining, nightlife, entertainment, tourism, etc.
The trend is also leveraged by subscription and catering businesses that offer food, groceries, wines, and other essential products specific to people living alone.
A Florida-based startup called SinglesSwag offers subscription boxes to single women, and it has been profitable since the date it was founded.
We believe there are many more business opportunities in this area as more people continue to live as singles by choice. It includes trends like single-serve wines, snacks, and real estate for individuals – “micro-apartments” (7).
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👎 Fake Meats
While we believe that the alternative protein, including plant-based food, will continue to soar, the fake or mock meat space doesn’t seem to be here for the long run.
Most of these “fake meats” are highly processed and contain some nasty ingredients, and they are often higher in sodium and saturated fat. In other words, the fake meat space needs a bit of health reckoning (8). After all, it is going against one of the top reasons people choose to purchase: their health!
Hence, we don’t believe the fake meat space is a strong business opportunity in the upcoming year.
Instead, we insist businesses focus on whole proteins derived from plants that offer better health benefits, are organic, have fewer processes, and have no nasty crap.
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👍 Livestream Shopping
In August 2021, we stated that Livestream shopping would be a big trend among ecommerce companies, and it continues to remain popular.
While many companies are trying to accomplish higher conversions with virtual product views and chatbots, it is not comparable to Livestream shopping. And since it bridges the gap with a static ecommerce platform and purchasing in-person, Livestream shopping has pulled some big names to sell their products (9, 10).
For instance, Reba McEntire recently came on TalkShop.Live for an album and memorabilia sale. The primary part of the screen is taken up by McEntire sitting on a cozy couch talking about the offer, box sets, autographed posters, and books. The other side (right) of the screen has rows of products people can purchase with a click and scroll of comments by viewers. And often, producers from the room would call out questions from shoppers, and McEntire would answer them.
We believe more brands would benefit from live streaming shopping since people like to shop socially and experience storytelling, and that’s exactly what live streaming delivers.
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👎 Mobility Stretching
We talked about how mobility stretching is trending in the fitness world in late October. Mobility is different from the flexibility that focuses on a full range of motions. We further offered various opportunities that will allow businesses to leverage the trend.
Mobility has gained serious momentum; however, if an individual lacks a range of motions, no amount of muscle strength can power through that restricted movement. At least, not without some serious repercussions like pain.
Of course, we are not saying that mobility stretches are bad, but they should not be a sole approach to address any movement dysfunctions.
While mobility stretches are good to increase soft tissue pliability and increase motion range, if people do not get the desired issue, they need to look at the root of the cause, not overwork their muscles (11, 12).
We gave mobility a 👎 is not because it is a total L, but because of the harm, it can cause if done at an excess.
Instead of focusing solely on mobility stretches, businesses can focus on a range of mobility and stability to help their consumers achieve an unrestricted range of motion.
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👍 DIY Industry
We talked about how the DIY ecommerce industry is set to boom amid the pandemic, and the trend is likely to surge more in the upcoming years, considering the continued labor shortage and economic slowdown (13).
DIY practice is common in western and developed countries, and it is gradually picking momentum in emerging regions like India and other Asia-Pacific regions.
According to a report by DIYSummit (14), ecommerce will make up over 28% of the market share in the DIY and home improvement category, up from 21% in 2020, with similar growth expected in the rest of Europe. India also witnessed a rise in DIY, especially among millennials and Gen Z. The industry is likely to reach over 10,479 million USD by 2025 from 5,178 million USD in 2021 at a 19.27% CAGR (15).
As DIY continues to hold its momentum, businesses will benefit from related products such as OTGs and sewing machines that will further help people explore their creativity. Creators offering user-friendly tutorials, refurbishing, baking, and sewing to hone their skills will also profit.
Every trend has its pros and cons, and it is about predicting which trend will go beyond a fad and gain a stable momentum to leverage it.
If you are reading it, you are likely to wake up with the idea that seems like the golden ticket one morning. But how would you know if any trend or idea is worth your time and effort? And that’s why we at TimesNext are currently working on finding the next big business ideas for 2022 and how you can figure out if it is best for you or not.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Reach out to us if you would like to share your thoughts on the same.