2018 was a pretty wild year for innovation. From the mainstreaming of veganism to driverless cars to privately-funded space exploration, our habits as consumers and our technological capabilities as a society continued to evolve rapidly. And as we race into the trial of another year, with Brexit looming on the horizon and the environmental crisis reaching a terrifying new apotheosis, the way we live is likely to continue metamorphosing at an exhilarating pace. But which industries will be next to experience radical changes as we hurtle towards the future? Well, at Fearlessly Frank we’re never shy of an opinion on such matters, and so, based on our research and insights from working with start-ups and innovative brands, here are our predictions for the next sectors to go supernova before the year is out.
Two wheels good, subterranean mass-transit tunnels better
Although driverless technology has been quietly idling on the fringes of the consumer marketplace for a few years now, 2018 saw successes and controversy alike for companies like Tesla, Uber and Alphabet. And in 2019, that’s likely to reach new heights as the companies that are redefining the industry begin to make major breakthroughs. Not just through driverless cars or fledgling ride-sharing services like Citymapper’s Smart Ride, but also eco-conscious personal options like electric bikes and scooters, and innovative public solutions like The Boring Company’s world-first hyperloop tunnel, which opened for a test run in California at the tail-end of last year.
The real smart money…
With nearly 3,000 bank branches shutting down since 2015 in the UK, the incumbent banks are slowly but surely losing their monopoly on the high street. With the advent of open banking, underdogs like Monzo and Revolut, who provide customer-centric digital experiences, will likely continue to become mainstream consumer solutions to banking in 2019 – and flexible money-management and investment apps like Cleo and Moneybox will continue to change how we interact with our daily spending. As the UK continues to inch towards a cash-free society — a transition Stockholm has already mostly made — we might find that 2019 is a golden year for digital banking, with companies springing up to handle, organise and safeguard our transactions. And not a queue or a tiny blue pen in sight.
From bodybuilding to body-hacking
As many of us begin to pay better attention to our mental health, as well as our physical wellbeing, it’s a safe bet that the booming wellness space will gain even more ground in 2019. The wellness industry now estimated to be worth over $3.72 trillion, representing more than 5% of all global economic output, and you can hardly open a news or social media feed without seeing a discussion about mental health. More than ever, consumers are focused on wellbeing, both personal and community-led. This has resulted in the wellness industry being one of the world’s fastest-growing, most resilient markets – and we’re excited to see what it will look like in the coming year.
Lean, green: is cannabis the new avocado?
Historically, consumers have used substances like alcohol as a means to wind down, and for entertainment. But with the decline of alcohol consumption and the rise of the wellness industry, there is a movement to seek alternative outlets for relaxation, whether that’s yoga, brunch, clean eating — or even marijuana. A substance that once was mostly the preserve of bored students, THC is finding new favour as a possible medical aid, with a growing lobby to legalise it for recreational use too. The ‘alternative and complementary medicine’ market has been growing at a CAGR of 18.1% with no signs of slowing down, and CBD — a non-psychoactive cannabis derivative — is currently generating $600 million in annual revenue, predicted to grow to $22 billion by 2022. If it does go legal, we’ll see the market value of this potent plant grow — no pun intended — even higher.
Just in time for your 2020 new year’s resolution
The most noticeable side-effect of wellbeing is the sharp drop in drinking amongst the younger generations. Alcohol consumption globally has been in consistent decline for the past five years, falling by as much as 1.3% per year. A recent study showed that nearly 30% of 16-24 year olds abstain from alcohol in the UK — partly as a result of rebellion against the harder-drinking millennials, a growing health-consciousness, and the influence of social media. This is a pretty staggering 12% increase from 18% of abstainers in 2005, and so what’s next? Well, we can likely expect to see (amber) waves in the alcohol-free drinks market in the coming months. Chin-chin.
Is the burger about to go the way of the turkey twizzler?
As the gruesome documentaries, environmental anxieties and health concerns mount up, meat is looking increasingly unfashionable—and this has been met by an explosion in the vegetarian and vegan offerings in the pub and restaurant scene. Next on the menu is the big supermarkets. Companies like Impossible Burger and many others have been paving the way for years, experimenting with edible algae patties and lab-grown beef; but in 2018 ‘bleeding’ beetroot burgers made it onto Harvester menus, ‘vegan fried chicken’ continued its assault on KFC and supermarket chains introduced an ever-widening array of bespoke vegan products. Our changing habits were reflected in a 22% increase in sales of meat-free foods between 2013-2018. But that’s just the start—value sales of the meat-free market are forecasted to increase by a further 44% by 2023, to reach a whopping £1.1 billion. No meat, but a lot of dough.
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