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4 weird start-up sectors that will boom in 2020

A collage of design creations by 99design creators.
Some of the new CBD, astrology, vegan and biohacking products created by 99designs creators. (Source: Yahoo Finance/99designs)

The theme of wellness will define the industries tipped to boom in 2020.

Some of the fastest-growing start-up sectors this year will be in the biohacking, astrology, veganism and cannabidiol space, according to analysis from 99designs.

The predictions are a big change from 2019 when industries such as artificial intelligence healthcare and influencer agencies were identified as the big growth sectors.

“We think it is driven by consumers seeking to take control and wanting to address social anxieties and concerns about their health, happiness and future success,” said the creative platform’s chief operating officer Pamela Webber. “2020 shows a notable shift toward the wellness space.”


The predictions from 99designs, a global design platform, are based on trends in the kinds of businesses that request design work on the platform.

Here’s a breakdown of the next big industries to keep your eye on:

1. Cannabidiol

The popularity of cannabidiol – a medicinal compound and cannabis extract that doesn’t have the ingredient associated with making you high – is on an astronomical rise, with the number of these businesses needing design work rising by a stunning 1,568 per cent since 2015, and 61 per cent in the last 12 months alone.

Cannabidiol has a number of health benefits such as easing anxiety and reducing pain, and the public is now catching on to the differences between psychoactive and nonpsychoactive ingredients.

Experts believe that this sector will be worth $25 billion in the coming decade, so expect to see this ingredient in everyday products such as your supplements, beauty products, candles and sparkling water.

2. Biohacking

This sounds futuristic, and while it can mean things like IV hydration therapy and genetic manipulation, it also encompasses health trends like bulletproof coffee and intermittent fasting.

Since 2015, there’s been a 445 per cent growth in this sector, and a 71 per cent jump in the last 12 months.

Silicon Valley is obsessed with ‘hacking’ our health, our bodies and our time, with the theme of productivity rising to the fore in recent years.

“2020 is set to be a bumper year for biohacking as it continues to enter the mainstream,” 99designs wrote in a post on their website.

3. Veganism

By now, you’ve heard of Beyond Burgers, the plant-based burger that looks and tastes like beef that has taken the world by storm – and was one of US stock exchange NASDAQ’s top initial public offerings (IPO) in 2019.

The meal alternative is just one example of a broader trend of plant-based products that mainstream chains such as Subway, Domino’s and Grill’d have hopped on.

The number of vegan brands needing design work has spiked by 214 per cent since 2015 and 20 per cent in the last year, demonstrating that plant-based products are in demand from today’s consumers.

People are also looking to cut down on their consumption to minimise their environmental impact – and it isn’t just vegans eating vegan food; a report by NPD showed that 95 per cent of those buying plant-based burgers in fast food chains were meat-eaters.

4. Astrology

Astrology, which started out as a bit of a meme, has become fashionable with millennials – and has accidentally become big business. Astrology apps like Sanctuary and Co-Star have raised millions of dollars in funding, design work for businesses in this sector has more than tripled (209 per cent) since 2015, and has risen 127 per cent in the last year alone.

The popularity of astrology coincides with the new wave of interest in spirituality, which is not any formal set of doctrines or beliefs but rather a focus on personal growth, transformation and mental wellness.

The renewed interest in astrology may be because it helps people connect to a sense of being with others, as well as a connection to something bigger than themselves.

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