Mushrooms, alternative alcohol, digital health and merchandise are four of the fastest-growing sectors for startups and small businesses in 2021, according to global creative platform 99designs by Vistaprint.
Alongside a study of more than 4000 consumers around the world, the rapid growth in these industries was identified by analysing the number of design projects commissioned by brands in these sectors on the 99designs platform:
Maitake, shiitake, cordyceps and lion’s mane are just a few of the mushroom varieties rocking the health and wellness space in 2021, with promises of improved mental focus, boosted immunity and other therapeutic benefits.
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. And with 62 per cent of consumers saying they are open to trying mushroom-based products for their reported health benefits, the opportunity for new brands and businesses is clear: mushrooms are going mainstream.
With 60 per cent of people planning to change their drinking habits in 2021, alternative booze is big business. 1 in 4 people globally (26 per cent) want to give up alcohol completely, and around 1 in 5 (19 per cent) want to reduce their alcohol consumption.
With another 15 per cent planning to switch out their usual beverages for healthier alternatives, brands are responding to the demand with plenty of new, innovative options – particularly when it comes to non-alcoholic beer and zero-proof spirits.
As such, 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
With so many of us under pandemic restrictions, access to at-home health and wellness services has been essential over the past year, fuelling an already booming digital healthcare industry. In 2020, design projects launched by digital health businesses on 99designs increased 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 of people plan to continue using these digital products in the future, which is promising news for start-ups and businesses in the wellness space.
Custom shirts, hoodies, bags and more have become a staple tool for savvy brands looking to build a sense of community, and in a year where physical connection was extremely difficult, customers were quick to show their support.
52 per cent of people 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, from restaurants and bars to hair salons and bookstores, and 99designs has seen a 134 per cent increase in project briefs for branded merch since 2018, with a 32 per cent jump in 2020.
99designs CEO Patrick Llewellyn says: “As a global creative community working with tens of thousands of brands and designers around the world each year, we are in a unique position to tap into and identify emerging industries and the creative trends within them.
“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 by Vistaprint is the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. 99designs was acquired by Vistaprint’s parent company, Cimpress, in October 2020.