Business ideas you won’t want to miss in 2018

Generation rent, inclusive beauty, teenaiders, boxing and more. Read our roundup of the 14 hottest start-up sectors for this year and get inspired...

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We’ve conducted extensive research, trawled through industry reports from leading market insight groups such as Mintel and Euromonitor, and chatted to business experts and innovative start-ups with their fingers on the pulse to bring you our annual What business to start report. Below, we’ve rounded up a quick summary of all of the ideas.’s 14 best business ideas for 2018 are:

1. Lagom

Following the huge influence of the Danish concept hygge, 2018 is all about the Swedish philosophy lagom. Meaning ‘not too little, not too much’, the up-and-coming lifestyle trend has exploded across the press and social media.

Big brands such as IKEA are already getting involved and with opportunities spanning everything from home décor to lagom-inspired food and tech, there’s a significant opportunity for start-ups to capitalise on this Scandinavian buzzword.

Read the full profile on Lagom here.

2. 90s nostalgia

From tracksuits and double denim to scrunchies and metallic makeup, the 90s is set to make an even bigger comeback in 2018.

Expected to spend in excess of $200bn this year, millennials are the consumer group everyone wants to reach. By bringing back some old favourites, whether its fashion, gaming or even cassette tapes, a 90s nostalgia brand could see wannabe entrepreneurs cash in this year.

Read the full profile on 90s nostalgia here.

Business ideas 2018 90s nostalgia

3. Teenaiders

With a growing need to combat the increasing digital and emotional pressures facing today’s youth (four of the five big social media channels have been found harmful to young people’s mental health), businesses that can bolster teen confidence will be high in demand in 2018.

Dubbed ‘Teenaiders’ by market insight firm Mintel, whether it’s helping teens get outdoors more, or creating a clothing brand that encourages body confidence, businesses with a positive message and ethos will be set for success this year.

Read the full profile on teenaiders here.

4. Algae

Blue algae, or spirulina, is the superfood ingredient you’ll be hearing plenty more about over the next 12 months.

With an extremely high nutritional value (algae consists of 60% protein!) and an Instagram-friendly natural blue colouring, health-conscious consumers will go mad for algae-laced snack bars, lattes and smoothies in 2018.

Read the full profile on algae here.

5. ‘Generation rent’

Despite a number of government initiatives, getting a foot on the property ladder remains increasingly difficult – especially for millenials.

So as Britain turns into a nation of renters, there’s a chance for start-ups to create bespoke offerings that help make renting as pain-free as possible. Think apps that make shared living easier or innovative solutions for finding cheap housing that use unconventional properties or locations.

Read the full profile on ‘Generation rent’ here.

6. Inclusive beauty

Influential names and brands in positions of power within the beauty industry, such as CoverGirl, Missguided and Rihanna, have begun to promote change by embracing diversity across variables such as gender, age and race. However, there is still a long way to go until the beauty industry is fully inclusive, presenting big business opportunities for aspiring beauty start-ups and beauty entrepreneurs.

Whether it’s starting a pro-age make-up brand or cosmetics line for women – and men – of all colours or starting a vlogging channel to help trans women get their make-up on fleek, business ideas for 2018 are abundant.

Read the full profile on inclusive beauty here.

Business ideas 2018 inclusive beauty - must caption hudabeauty Instagram

Source: hudabeauty/instagram

7. Alexa Skills

The voice technology industry is skyrocketing.

And with Amazon’s Alexa commanding a 70% market-share, and a growth rate quicker than the mobile app market, building Alexa-integrated skills that consumers love offers a potentially lucrative opportunity.

With more ways to make money from skills announced for this year, now’s the time for tech-savvy developers to get coding.

Read the full profile on ‘Alexa skills’ here.

8. Premium mixers

Sales of gin continue to soar – and, in fact, so do sales of tonic (sales rose 36% last year) and premium tonic brand Fever Tree reported doubling profits for the first half of 2017.

But while the last couple of years have seen a plethora of gin and premium alcohol brands launch, independent, bespoke mixers are yet to fully catch up.

With a demand for natural, organic flavours in 2018 thanks to the impending sugar tax, now’s the time to cash in on high quality soft drinks.  

Read the full profile on starting a premium mixers business here.

9. Care home developer

With the care home market expected to hit crisis point in 2018 with a huge shortfall of some 3,000 care home beds available, rising to 14,000 by 2026, now is the time for budding property developers to act.

While becoming a care home developer will require access to capital, a wealth of public funding, private investment and commercial mortgages are becoming more readily available to help property developers balance demand and supply. Property experts Knight Frank have highlighted “significant opportunities” and suggest there is circa £3.5bn of UK private equity and £20bn of overseas private equity looking to enter the market.

Read the full profile on becoming a care home developer here.

10. Boxing

There’s nothing new about boxing, but the sport is most definitely having a revival. A fun way to burn a lot of calories, get both lean and strong and bust some stress, it’s no wonder more people are turning to the sport for fitness.

Thanks to high profile boxing matches, endorsement from supermodels like Gigi Hadid and boxing mashups like piloxing, boxing is emerging from the shadows as the fitness trend for 2018.

Read the full profile on boxing here.

11. Women’s health tech

The UK’s women’s health market is ripe for disruption. With plenty of pioneering start-ups launching overseas, 2018 provides the perfect time for Britain to play catch up.

Whether it’s tech that offers innovative solutions for fertility problems, contraception, menstruation or breastfeeding, with a $51.3bn market on offer by 2025 – our country is calling for entrepreneurs to capitalise on this currently underserved and under-researched sector.

Read the full profile on women’s health tech here.

12. Muslim lifestyle economy

With the UK’s Muslim population now topping three million, the global Muslim lifestyle economy growing at double the rate of the economy generally, and a new generation of Muslim millennials emerging with big spending power, business opportunities abound for start-ups in 2018 to maximise on the Muslim pound.

Whether it’s launching a halal food range, creating a modest fashion brand, or manufacturing Deen-inspired toys and accessories, entrepreneurs who can create products and services combining Islamic beliefs with modern living – without offending religious sensitivities – are likely to enjoy start-up success.

Read the full profile on the Muslim lifestyle economy here.

Business ideas 2018 muslim lifestyle economy

13. Late-night food

According to a new report from Waitrose on the big food trends for the year ahead, more Brits will start eating a fourth meal in 2018.

It could be additional pre- or post-workout fuel, or it could be a late-night dinner following long working hours.

The key is that consumers want 24-hour food that offers more than just a greasy kebab or pizza, like a late-night healthy bistro or on-demand nutrition bars to tame midnight cravings.

Budding food industry entrepreneurs take note.

Read the full profile on late-night food here.

14. Internet of Things security

A staggering 22.5 billion devices will be connected to the internet worldwide by 2021, but Internet of Things security still remains a big issue.

We’ve seen a host of high profile security breaches with devastating consequences so it’s high time our smart devices got smarter – with increased protection.

The next 12 months will see two big opportunities, new-to-market connected devices with watertight security from the get go, or tailored security offerings that sync with existing devices.

Read the full profile on IoT security here.

Is there an idea you think we’ve missed that’s going to be huge in 2018? Leave a comment or let us know on Twitter @Startupstowers.

Or, if you’re looking for further inspiration, why not check out last year’s business ideas here.

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