Earlier this year, as the global coronavirus crisis began to unfold, our way of living, working and doing business changed dramatically and quickly.
For millions of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world this change created significant challenge. Many small businesses with brick-and-mortar shopfronts lost many customers or, sadly, were forced to close. Many online businesses were also impacted as consumer behavior changed overnight.
At the same time, as months have passed, the changes that COVID-19 has driven has created new opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs. In particular, this change has created lots of new opportunities for online business.
We spoke with Alec Lynch, Founder and CEO at BrandCrowd, an #OpenWeStand partner, about finding opportunity in crisis and why now might be a great time to start a new business:
Stackline.com’s analysis of the top 100 e-commerce growing & declining categories in March highlighted what products consumers were buying MORE of online when COVID-19 first hit. This increased online shopping and demand for particular products and highlighted potential opportunity for small business.
We can also see that many entrepreneurs are starting new businesses (or pivoting their existing businesses) to target these growing industries and opportunities.
BrandCrowd.com has observed a 50% increase in demand for logos for new small businesses over the last 4 months with huge growth in demand for logos certain industries corresponding to many of the trends in Stackline’s analysis — and highlighting that entrepreneurs around the world are launching businesses during COVID-19 targeting these areas of opportunity.
In this post, we’ll look at these trends and 10 Business Ideas that offer opportunities for entrepreneurs during COVID-19. In particular, we’ll look at products/services that are seeing increased demand (and, in some cases, booming demand) online as well as industries where we are observing more businesses launching during this time.
1. Hand sanitizer and soap
The boom in demand for hand sanitizer and soap from consumers is not surprising and has created opportunity for entrepreneurs and business.
Many existing businesses have pivoted their existing manufacturing capability to meet this increased demand (for example, perfume / fragrance brand DedCool launched new detergent and hand sanitizer products during COVID-19) highlighting the opportunity in this space for entrepreneurs.
Hand sanitizer and soap was the #12 fastest growing ecommerce category in March according to Stackline. BrandCrowd.com has seen a large increase in businesses launching with hand sanitizer and soap logos indicating some entrepreneurs are targeting this market.
2. Face masks, gloves, and protective clothing
With the increased need for face masks and gloves in the general community due to concerns about COVID-19, there has been increased online demand for these products. Many big businesses are attempting to meet this need — for example, Redubble.com and Vistaprint have both launched new face mask product lines, but there are also opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses to enter this space.
Disposable gloves were the #1 fastest growing ecommerce category in March with 670% growth according to Stackline. BrandCrowd.com has seen a sharp increase in businesses starting with face mask logos (the fastest growing category on BrandCrowd.com over the last 3 months).
3. Fitness equipment and online fitness classes
With many people unable to access gyms, there has been a boom in demand for fitness equipment for the home and virtual fitness classes. Many gyms, fitness trainers, and yoga studios (such as Ahana Yoga in Miami and Box + Flow in New York) are now going online.
Weight training #8 and Yoga Equipment #32 were both in the top 50 fastest growing ecommerce categories in March according to Stackline. BrandCrowd.com has seen an increase in people starting businesses with fitness logos.
4. Food and food delivery
While many restaurants and cafes have suffered due to COVID-19, there has been increased online shopping related to buying food, which could present opportunities for food entrepreneurs. With more people eating or cooking at home, there are opportunities for businesses that can help them do this. Food delivery and online cooking classes are two obvious ideas.
Soup #4, Rice #5, Milk & Cream #9, Pasta #13 and Vegetables #14 all made the top 20 fastest growing ecommerce categories in March according to Stackline. BrandCrowd.com has seen an increased number of businesses starting with food, beverage, and food delivery logos.
5. Household and cleaning supplies
With people spending more time at home, it makes sense that online demand for these goods has increased and that might present opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Dishwashing Supplies #10, Paper Towels #11, Laundry Supplies #21, Toilet Paper #24, Toilet Accessories #39, and Trash Bags #61 all made the top 100 fastest growing ecommerce categories in March according to Stackline.
6. Cooking supplies and kitchen goods
With many restaurants shut and people spending more time at home, it follows that more people are cooking in their own kitchens. This change is creating new demand for cooking supplies and kitchen supplies, but could also be creating opportunities for online cooking classes.
Bread Machines #2, Refrigerators #37, Cooking Oils #49, Cooking Vinegar #81, Baking Ingredients #92 all made the top 100 fastest growing ecommerce categories in March according to Stackline.
7. Health and medical
With the health risks from COVID-19, it appears consumers are being more health conscious and, in addition to buying fitness equipment online, people are spending more on healthy things like vitamins and health-related devices.
Women’s Health #18, Health Monitors #28, Single Vitamins #32, Hebal Supplements #48, Multivitamin #52 all made the top 100 fastest growing ecommerce categories in March according to Stackline. BrandCrowd.com has seen increased demand for medical and health logos over the last 3 months.
8. Home office products and services
With so many people working from home, there has been a corresponding increase in the need for equipment and services that can help people with this. This has presented opportunities for large tech companies like Zoom and Slack providing communication software but it also presents opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs who can find a way to help people working from home, whether that’s through an office chair, a computer monitor, or a new piece of software to help them work remotely.
Computer Monitors #30, Office Chairs #74, Office Desks #95, Keyboard & Mice #98 all made the top 100 fastest growing ecommerce categories in March according to Stackline.
9. Toys, games, and puzzles
With kids and parents at home more, families are looking for new ways to keep entertained and many are going back to the future with online demand for board games, puzzles increasing — creating opportunities for new products and businesses in this space.
Craft Kits & Projects #69, Toy Clay & Dough #85, Ping Pong #90 were all in the top 100 fastest growing ecommerce categories in March according to Stackline. Maisonette.com has seen a sharp increase in demand for kids toys and puzzles since COVID-19 hit.
It may be a tough time to be in the cafe business, but it might be a good time to be in the online coffee business. With many people unable to visit their favorite cafe or barista, they’ve turned to making coffee at home to get their daily hit of caffeine, and this has created new, online demand that coffee entrepreneurs and businesses could capitalize on.
Coffee was the #77 fastest growing ecommerce categories in March according to Stackline. BrandCrowd.com has seen some reduction in demand for cafe logos but still solid demand for generic coffee logos.
We believe there are a number of reasons that now is a good time to start a business (even with COVID-19 ongoing) and the increased demand for the products and services above highlights one of those reasons: that even in the midst of global pandemic, people have problems and needs that need solving and this presents opportunities for small business and entrepreneurs.
Of course there are millions of potential business opportunities and ideas. Perhaps one of the business ideas above is the right one for you? Perhaps you have another idea that you feel passionate and excited about? Either way, now could be the perfect time to start!