With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, businesses are primed to leap back into action. Right now, UK business confidence is at highs unseen since early 2016, with many expecting consumer and business spending to bounce back strongly over summer as the economy opens. For start-ups, there’s a lot to be hopeful for after a rocky 2020, but what exactly are the startup trends likely to shape 2021? Here are five we’re keeping an eye on.
Global expansion for proven models
Sometimes, the best bet in confusing times is to follow what you know. Take food delivery, in 2021 it’s certain we will see the success of Uber, Just Eat, and Deliveroo repeated in new markets by startups quicker to get a foothold. Crucial to the success of these VC-backed businesses will be the use of entrepreneur consultants such as RSM ; new markets pose many unknowns to unfamiliar startup owners, after all.
Sustainable startups grow
Exiting the pandemic, many consumers and business owners will be looking to ensure their environmental impact is minimised. COP 26, the UN Climate Change Conference, is also taking place in November, and combined, these two factors make it likely that we will see plenty of new startups working within ‘green’ industries, or positioning their brands through a sustainable lens.
Crucial to this sustainable growth will be the application of artificial intelligence (AI) that is able to drive efficiencies within business that would otherwise be impossible. Slovak startup Fuergy, for instance, utilizes an AI to cut customers’ energy costs through optimising electricity usage.
Adapting to new habits
Working from home, fear of the COVID risk inherent to foreign travel, changing consumer saving and credit habits; the world is going back to some semblance of normality, but anyone that thinks our lives will go entirely back to normal after the pandemic is likely to be a little surprised.
With changing habits come new customers and markets, however, so while change is afoot, you can expect a wave of startups to take advantage. We predict this will mean strong growth for startups offering remote office services, and as companies downsize their office spaces in line with an increase in remote working, office rental startups like WeWork could see their fortunes reversed.
E-commerce and delivery grow strongly
While many of us will be going back to the office soon, seismic shifts in the way we work mean our professional lives are likely to be conducted in a hybrid fashion. That means more time spent at home, so it’s likely that the growth in delivery and e-commerce startups will only continue as we get used to more time eating and shopping at home away from stores.
Statista figures show global eCommerce sales forecast to nearly double between 2019 and 2024, for instance, but with large online retailers like Amazon having such an enormous market share, where will this growth come from? The answer is small businesses. These companies will be helped by a wave of startups like Shopify, BigCommerce, and thelocal.delivery, that will enable rapid eCommerce roll-outs without the need for large capital expenditure.