Top 10 niche markets for new internet business ideas

Niche business opportunities in 2015

In 2014 more new companies were created in the UK than ever before, amounting to more than one start-up a minute. It’s the same story across the world. A new report by Startups.co.uk gives a detailed analysis of emerging business and consumer trends identifying the top business opportunities expected to take off in 2015. I’m looking for a new area to start a niche blog so this caught my attention.

www-internet business ideas

Several of these opportunities aren’t new. I know I’ve encountered some of them in my own life. But they point to areas set to experience dramatic expansion, areas ripe for new solutions. In all cases remember that the underlying need they answer is as ancient as mankind.

In many cases the current market may be primarily offline. The challenge here is to study these areas for new internet business ideas. Explore around the terms they suggest – take some pointers from 11 places to find business ideas online.I’ve given a few suggestions but please use the comments to bulk this out!

  1. Protein products

  2. Protein products are no longer just for bodybuilders, they’ve entered the mainstream. The market is booming for people who see protein as a way to get lean and get healthy. The global protein product sector is predicted to rise to sales of £8bn by 2017.

    You’ll see ‘high-protein’ emblazoned on a whole host of products. Big brands such as Danone have entered the sector with high-protein yoghurts and Marks & Spencer now offer a range of high-protein meals.

    Internet business ideas may include a niche blog with affiliate products for consumers, information for retailers and suppliers, sector trends for manufacturers. This niche in particular could earn great engagement from social media.

  3. Care home services

  4. The number of people aged 85 or over in the UK is predicted to double in the next 20 years. Only 40% of people would be willing to move a family member into a home. No doubt this low figure is in part due to recent scandals affecting the sector.

    Alongside a range of medical services there are calls for services to boost resident’s wellbeing. Care homes must also cater for resident’s enjoyment so there is an opportunity to provide services which care homes may struggle to organise themselves, such as animal care, drama or other activities. One such company is Oomph! Wellness which provides ‘fun, inclusive and effective exercise classes for older adults’.

    Internet business ideas may include a directory of service providers, training for in-house activities, a blog with information for care homes and service providers, online activities for residents.

  5. Custom-made 3D printed products

  6. 3D printing is reaching the mainstream. The technology creates solid 3D objects primarily from plastic filament. Uses include functional items such as specific replacement parts for phones or highly personalised items such as bespoke shoes mirroring the curve of your foot.The great advantage is that items can be manufactured in small product runs with a quick turnaround and personalised to the needs of the customer.

    Sales of consumer 3D printers are predicted to grow ten-fold from 81,000 in 2013 to 850,000 in 2018.

    3D-printed-motorcycle

    Internet business ideas include a facility to customise products online for home delivery, spare parts for a niche product type and brand, a repository for plans, an information blog about the capabilities of 3D printing for particular user groups, e.g. 3D printing for gardeners.

  7. Peruvian food

  8. The next world cuisine set to soar in popularity is Peruvian. It will still lag behind staple ‘ethnic’ cusines such as Chinese, Indian, Thai or Mexican but South America is on the rise. In the UK the world foods market was worth £1.7bn in 2013 and is predicted to rise to £2.1bn by 2018.

    You may already be familiar with specialist Peruvian food products like Quinoa, huacatay herb, Sacha Inchi nut oil and chilli peppers such as Ají limo and rocoto.

    Internet business ideas include a blog focusing on Peruvian recipes and culture. There are many specialist terms that people will be searching for in Google and unique domain name possibilities. Penetration for Peruvian food is still low so there are opportunities for supplying ingredients or final products.

  9. Bike safety accessories

  10. In recent years there’s been a surge in the number of people cycling, and unfortunately the number of casualties. This has led to a greater demand for cycle safety from consumers and the media. The market has seen products in the form of lights, lasers, helmets, clothing and other equipment. Solutions to warn vehicle drivers include Jaguar’s Virtual Urban Windscreen which projects external images of a vehicle’s blindspot to alert the driver.

    Hovding offers a discreet ‘airbag for cyclists’ which expands on impact. It satisfies the need for bike safety while appealing to the fashion-conscious.

    hovding-inflatable-airbag-collar

    Internet business ideas include a blog with information for cyclists and vehicle drivers with information about the range of options, a mapping app for logging accident locations, directories of local services for cyclists.

  11. Sustainable and ethical clothing

  12. Ethical and sustainable fashion is emerging as a popular fashion niche benefiting from widespread celebrity endorsement. The latest example is Raw for the Oceans, a denim range from Pharrell Williams made using recycled plastic taken from the sea.

    The top concerns

    The ethical treatment of workers and environmental implications are two of the top concerns for customers when choosing a particular brand. This has already resulted in market responses from retailers such as ASOS who provide sustainable and ethical clothing in their Green Room.

    Internet business ideas include a blog reporting on global issues, offering affiliate sales and reviewing stockists. This is another area that could benefit from social media engagement.

  13. ‘Free from’ foods

  14. Free from food internet business idea

    The ‘free from’ market is turning from specialist nutrition to a mainstream option. Once restricted to health food shops you can now find the labels ‘dairy free’, ‘gluten free’, ‘wheat free’ and many more displayed prominently in national supermarket chains. This has been driven by greater consumer awareness of food intolerance and health-conscious options. The market benefits from widespread celebrity endorsement.

    The latest information from supermarket Waitrose reveals that sales of dairy-free and wheat-free food products jumped by 22% in 2014.

    Internet business ideas include a blog with information for each ‘free from’ niche detailing health benefits and stockists. Within ‘free from’ products there are many diet niches, such as paleo or vegan.

  15. Pet-sitting

  16. More people are working longer hours which has led to a growing demand for domestic services. Pet-sitting is not a new activity but there has been a steady increase in demand as seen in the growth of pet-sitter platforms such as BorrowMyDoggy. The total pet care market in 2014 showed 4% growth while 46% of UK households have pets.

    Organised industry

    Pet-sitting has an image of small-scale temporary workers, and there is certainly room for this sort of employment. However pet-sitting is becoming an increasingly organised industry. There’s a range of franchise opportunities available and even a national association.

    Internet business ideas include a blog for people searching for pet services, funded by affiliate sales of pet-related products, training services for people seeking work in this sector, an agency.

  17. ‘Tech for good’

  18. More and more start-ups are launching with a mission to make the world a better place. The problems they tackle include social and environmental issues, healthcare, social questions and sustainable living. Social enterprises benefit from a wider range of support and investment opportunities, on a national and international scale. Tech for good can engage consumers and gives the media a stronger story.

    Tech-globe

    Three major areas

    • Cleantech companies working towards tackling climate change.
    • Healthtech companies dealing with a wide range of health issues, such as those arising from Britain’s ageing population
    • Edtech companies addressing the education needs of the world, particularly the developing world.

    Internet business ideas include a blog reviewing the choices for consumers, funding advice.

  19. Quirky cafés

  20. ‘Quirky cafés’ is a wave of unique innovative cafés that have captured national media attention and consumer engagement. Unique café concepts include Cereal Killer Café which offers breakfast cereals from around the world; Biscuiteers Boutique which specialises in biscuits; and Velo Café which offers a community for cyclists. Other quirky cafés cater for comic book fans, board game enthusiasts and even cats.

    The total UK coffee shop market was worth £6.2bn in 2013, that’s 6.4% sales growth on 2012. And Euromonitor concluded that specialist coffee shops are ‘amongst some of the best performing within the whole food service market’. Consumers have begun to look at coffee shops as a social setting rather than a place to simply buy a coffee. In fact consumption levels of coffee are actually decreasing.

    Quirky cafés supplement their services with relevant products targeted at their niche, such as comic books for the customers of Geek Retreat. So a quirky cafe is not just a food and drink establishment but a niche retail opportunity.

    Internet business ideas include a blog about local or regional facilities, an app mapping innovative cafes, advice and suggestions for cafe owners. It may be useful to think of this opportunity in reverse – create a niche website and then make a physical presence with a café.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot in common with these markets. One factor seems to be the importance of the individual and personalisation. We know that the internet has made people attuned to their own individual needs but the presence of quirky cafés suggests a broader appreciation of individuality itself. Mass production and mass marketing seem to have had their day (or possibly they’re already being taken care of by global brands). Now the key to growth is serving niche markets with exactly what individual consumers want, and that’s where small business excels.

I haven’t decided on a final choice for my own niche website but I have a better idea of where consumer trends are heading.

If you’re planning to develop a niche take a look at the books reviewed in the post Find a niche and dominate a niche.

Donald

Title:
Top 10 niche markets for new internet business ideas
Description:
Niche markets predicted to grow, ripe for new internet business ideas. The main focus is on the needs of the individual and personalisation.
Author:
  • Mika Douglas

    This is great. What’s fueling this innovation?

    • Hi, Mika, I think it’s being fueled by lots of things, greater knowledge of what technology can do. Thanks for commenting!

  • Bonnie Gean

    Hi Donald,

    None of these niches trigger my fancy, but I am sure there are plenty of individuals out there that might like to tap into one of these markets to get an online blog underway.

    With a little effort and community building, I can certainly see where one might become profitable serving niches such as protein foods, bike safety accessories and pet-sitting. So many ideas flew into my head as I came across each of these listings.

    Do you see yourself as a person who can write about pet-sitting all day? What about protein foods? Would you need to be a healthy looking spokesperson to be influential in the marketplace?

    Some great ideas to think about. Eh? :)

    Have a great week!

    – Bonnie

    • Hi, Bonnie, good to see you.

      Right off I can tell you that pet-sitting wouldn’t be my thing, the only pets I’ve owned were goldfish and tadpoles which didn’t need me to take them on walks :)

      It’s interesting to see what analysts predict to expand but what you’re suggesting is right – the person investing their time behind a business has to have some interest in that area.

      Thanks for dropping by, have a good week!

  • Hi, Donald,

    Wow, amazing – that statistic is just staggering – I can’t even imagine one start up business opening its doors per minute… whoa. That’s a very interesting stat to ponder.

    Well, that is a great variety of ideas, that’s for sure.

    Protein products are very popular and a go to answer for folks wanting to reduce carb intake. I think of The South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet to name a few who encourage higher protein intake. This can be in the form of supplemental items like bars, shakes, etc. Yep, sure is a lot of buzz online about it too.

    Certainly wishing you all the best in your new endeavor, Donald. Hope it works out greater than your expectations!

    Talk soon,

    ˜Carol

    • Hi, Carol,

      We do seem to be living in an age of start-ups, it’s so much easier now than years ago. I haven’t decided yet which niche makes most sense for me, I want to find out more before I throw myself in.

      Thanks for dropping by, hope you’re having a good week!

  • Hey Donald,

    Those stats are amazing but maybe I’m missing the boat. How does helping the elderly exercise more qualify as an internet business? I checked out the website but he actually goes to these different facilities or connects with other trainers that are willing to teach the classes.

    I can see where the pet sitting website would help people who are looking for jobs connect with those who are looking for people to sit for their pets. I guess when I think of an “internet business” that means that everything takes place online. Most of these seem to be offline businesses with websites.

    I think the ideas are good though, please don’t misunderstand. I just don’t see where they fall under the category as internet businesses. I love the pet sitting idea though because we have a lot of them that walk dogs here in my area for those that do work a lot of hours. I love that idea actually.

    Thanks though for giving us a great idea of what’s coming and more of it because I’m sure what’s popular in the UK is here in the US as well.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hi, Adrienne, good to see you.

      These aren’t internet businesses, they’re the offline business sectors predicted to grow. So the challenge I’m posing is to find an internet angle that could exploit these areas that haven’t been exploited online. The easiest answer that works for most sectors is a blog financed by affiliate sales, you just have to decide whether to target the final consumer or suppliers. There must be other ways to use the internet for a business in these offline areas and they’d probably be very profitable, but they’re harder to find…

      I think you’re right about pet-sitting, I think everyone I know has a dog or a cat. I don’t think I’ve ever met a pet-owner with a luke-warm bond to their pet, I’m always stunned by how much they’d do for them.

      Thanks for dropping by, enjoy the rest of the week!

  • Hi Donald,

    When I see your title, I am curious what you mean by new business ideas. And I understand when reading this article. :D

    This is the first time I heard about the niche, such as pet sitting or sustainable and ethical clothing. It was really a new niche for me.

    But, I think, because it is a new niche, the competition will be weaker, and it is an opportunity. Since these are unique niches. :)

    Thanks for sharing, Donald.
    I will start share it right now. Do have a wonderful week ahead!

    Regards,
    Nanda

    • Hi, Nanda, great to see you.

      Some of these niches were new to me too. I hadn’t heard of ‘quirky cafés’ but there’s quite a lot of information about them in Google.

      You’re right, the competition will be weaker with a new niche. That’s a big attraction to these opportunities. But there’s still a wide choice, so I still haven’t decided which area to create a niche website for!

      Thanks for commenting, speak soon!

  • Hi Donald,

    Great ideas you’ve listed. Though all the ideas are great here I think a pet sitting business at home will be the most economic and easy one to start with.

    Of course you’ll have to have some experience in handling
    pets. The care home service is also great. And both businesses can be extremely satisfactory too.

    Thanks for sharing the great ideas.

    • Hi, Nisha, Ilike the points you’ve made.

      Regardless of how good an idea is it’s got to make sense for you to set it up, bearing in mind how much it would cost and how much effort it would take. It’s easy to jump on a good idea without working out what it will take to get it off the ground.

      And some experience in your chosen field is of course essential, that’s why I won’t be starting a pet business :)

      Thanks for commenting, have a good weekend!

  • Hey Donald,

    Great post. I agree with the protein one. It is more mainstream
    now and would probably be an interesting niche to get involved in.

    Also with the customer made 3d printed products. Given how
    expensive one of those things are and how long it takes, any thing
    sold would command a high price. That one is definintely worth paying
    closer attention to.

    The cafe idea is interesting as well. Here in Toronto, there’s a
    board game cafe place .. and it’s amazing. It have every type of
    board game ever made. Really fun.

    Great stuff here.

    – Andrew

    • Hi, Andrew, I didn’t realise you lived in Toronto, from what I’ve heard it’s a really great place to live. But freezing cold :)

      I’m still not sure how I’d exploit any of these niches online but I can see how they’d be popular if I could pin down a way to make them work. At the moment I’m looking at which niches would make the best return on my efforts, still not decided.

      Thanks for dropping by, enjoy the weekend!

  • Some interesting ideas here– in the shorter to intermediate term, it strikes me there are lots of opportunities in any kind of creative support services for an aging population. That segment has several things going for it– leisure time, money from pension schemes created before the economy became dodgy and general consumption of a considerable range of health related and “make life easier” products… today, people at 75+ still expect to be “doing things,” while in the past they just sat and looked at their cat.

    One not mentioned here is support services for the new generation of “shut ins;” that is, those 20- to 40-something people who telecommute and practically never leave their house or flat… they order groceries, hair cuts, mobile doctors, dog walkers, personal trainers, “take away” massage, gourmet dinners and so on; almost everything brought to their door. Perhaps that’s more prevalent in the US than in the UK… not sure about that.

    • Hi, Peter,

      Very good point about the aging population. The predictions show that it’s a segment that’s going to keep on mushrooming. And as you say it’s so different from the days when people ‘sat and looked at their cat’ – I love that phrase.

      I hadn’t thought of ‘shut ins’ as a segment but I suppose it is a recognisable group. Personally I still see my position in terms of ‘not going to work in an office’, so I see the side of missing out on the community side of things. But it’s true I could be marketed to as a hermit :)

      Thanks for commenting, have a good week.

  • Hi Donald
    Thanks for sharing the wonderful ideas. Providing assistance in something I am doing myself to generate revenue.

    • Hi, Waheed, glad you found this useful. Thanks for commenting and good luck with your plans.