As we near the end of 2018, some trends are already beginning to emerge for the next year. After looking at data from the last five years and keeping an ear to the ground, these are the five fields that I’m betting on for 2019.
Climate change is looming large on everybody’s minds at the moment, and it’s not going away. Growing cities need smarter means of transport and producing food. Savvy architects are designing greener landscapes, and energy auditors are in demand.
The average Brit is more aware of their plastic usage than they were a year ago, and companies are under pressure to replace single-use packaging with better alternatives. The rise of the zero waste movement means that consumers are thinking more than ever about the long-term consequences of their purchases. Could you offer a greener product?
Extra reading: 10 sustainable startup ideas
2019 will see consumers continue to seek healthier diets and lifestyles. The year’s focus is likely to be on gut health, which means probiotics and fermented foods will take centre stage. Whole Foods predicts that we’ll still be eating plant-heavy diets and incorporating CBD, prebiotics and healthy fats.
Silicon Valley startup uBiome are already cashing in on the popularity of home testing with their microbiome kit, which maps out digestive health via a stool sample.
Just as in other areas, consumers are interested in products that are tailor-made for them. Care/of delivers custom supplements in achingly cool packaging to doorsteps across America, while VITL uses blood tests to recommend vitamins.
City dwellers are increasingly interested in looking after their mental health, whether or not they suffer from mental illness. Mindfulness, journalling and spending time unplugged are rapidly growing in popularity.
Lastly, marrying nutrition with convenience will continue to be huge. Healthy vending machines, plant-based ready meals and recipe boxes all saw growth this year.
Researchers estimate that within twenty years, over-65s will make up the largest segment of the population in Europe and Asia. There is real potential to bring a better quality of life to elders, whether it’s through healthtech, domestic services, supplements or mental health support.
Many retirees will need to supplement their state pension, and insurance coverage is a growing concern. Offering affordable private healthcare and insurance subscriptions or a convenient way to put extra savings aside might help to tackle these issues.
Tech continues to take huge strides, but it’ll be a while before the average person can afford to buy into the most exciting innovations. Offering new tech in a public space can be a great way to fill a gap in the market. 3D printing hubs are much needed, especially in creative areas, while VR arcades were a huge trend this year.
Handmade and gourmet
Small-batch, luxury products have been trending for years, and are unlikely to go anywhere soon. Shoppers with tight budgets and strong ethics want the most bang out of their buck – and often that means buying less, but better.
Microbreweries and distilleries are attracting passionate followings, and fashion lovers are just as interested in niche brands as couture giants. Cookie-cutter design is being eschewed for products with a little more personality, and customers are keen to try new flavours and experiences.
Brits clock in more than ten hours’ overtime every week, so quality ready meals and inventive snacks are likely to come to the forefront as consumers seek to save time without compromising on nutrition or flavour.