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The Year’s Most Popular Trends Stories

With new insights on how you can still capitalize

5 Minute Read

We published dozens of stories this year, from ideas about small businesses growing the fastest to a deep dive on a company that went from $0 to a $100m acquisition in 2 years. For this end-of-the-year bonus piece, we’re highlighting 7 of our most popular stories that still offer great opportunities to enter the market.  

How One Company Created a Niche Market for Young People Who Want Fancy Bibles

The story

The trend: Two Christian-inspired entrepreneurs created an Instagram-friendly bible and in their second year sold 10k copies. Similar overhauls can be done for other classic works.      

Looking ahead: Previously copyrighted material enters the public domain every year; anyone can profit on it with the right approach. In 2020, some of the works going public include literature by Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Edith Wharton, and more, as well as songs by Irving Berlin and George Gerswhin.

Online Plant Sales Are Set to Bloom 

The story

The trend: Despite the immense popularity of plants — Americans spend ~$50B on them every year — it’s rare to see any DTC company making more than $10m a year in online plant sales, giving entrepreneurs an opportunity to enter the market. 

Looking ahead: The market for designer plant food could expand, as young people are known to spend as much as $40 a month on plant upkeep. Or you could enter the market by emphasizing the potential health benefits of specific plants: Millennials are buying them in belief that plants reduce stress and even the potential for contracting colds.  

The Big Business of Expired Pharmaceutical Patents

The story 

The trend: Hims, valued at more than $1B, and other companies have made their own drugs and treatments based on expired pharmaceutical patents. Our case study of Hims, which detailed its online marketing efforts, was the most clicked story of any in our newsletter.

Looking ahead: Keep an eye on other drug-related patents set to expire in 2020 and beyond and build a lifestyle brand around them. 

Weddings Go Micro 

The story 

The trend: Younger generations are forgoing old wedding traditions and toning down the pageantry and expenses of weddings. Companies have developed new platforms for flower and venue selection, and microweddings at the local level have become lucrative side hustles and full businesses. 

Looking ahead: Microweddings are just starting to become popular: On Reddit, the number of followers for the subreddit “Weddings under $10k” grew 109% and was identified by Reddit as a top trend of the year. What kind of wedding businesses are growing the fastest? Think niche. East Meets Dress pulls in $25k a month focusing on Chinese wedding dresses. Microwedding planners tend to cater to regional or cultural themes that resonate with certain groups. There is also room for growth for VR-focused businesses that can help people see venues or try on dresses.  

The A to Z of XaaS

The story 

The trend: It’s not just software as a service. It’s everything from back-end to digital art to egg freezing as a service. Our story highlights over 40 models you can learn from.

Looking ahead: B2B XaaS may have more potential than consumer-focused XaaS companies, our analysis shows. We found opportunities in dental practices, spas, and salons, among other areas.   

Boring Trade Show Businesses are Minting Billions. Here’s How.

The story

The trend: Trade shows are making profit margins in the 30% to 50% range. While we all know about Coachella and Live Nation, the less-sexy companies are just as successful, including 3 big events companies we highlight.

Looking ahead: Government-related events have the highest expected growth rate in the coming years, 7.8%, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. There are also opportunities in food (+5.4%) and discretionary goods and services (+3.6%).

Stories Told Through Texts Helped This App Win 100m+ Teens 

The story

The trend: New technology is helping authors tell stories in  fast-growing, interactive formats optimized for smartphones. 

Looking ahead: VCs are willing to invest in these services, as Tim Wright just proved with his startup Solve. The company, which offers mystery crime content over social media, recently received $20m in funding.

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