Following the pandemic, we’re still attempting to get the economy back to normal. You know, what is like in the pre-pandemic era. But, what exactly is the new normal in a post-COVID world? More importantly, what industries are poised to make a strong comeback in 2022?

Well, those aren’t exactly the easiest questions to answer. After all, every time we think that we’ve won the war against this virus, a new variant comes along to set recovery efforts back.

It’s not surprising that industries like travel, entertainment, and hospitality have been severely impacted to the point where they may never be able to bounce back. On a more positive note, though, other sectors have flourished. At the forefront are businesses that have tailored to lockdowns, work-from-polices, and healthcare.

But will these trends continue in 2022? If you’re planning on starting or investing in a business in the near future, that question needs to be answered

What are the industries in the U.S. that are expected to thrive? Well, here are five trends that will define business and industry in 2022 and beyond.

1. Sustainability

Market research conducted by NYU Stern in 2020 found, “sustainability-marketed products grew 7.1x faster than products not marketed as sustainable.” Consumers today are increasingly aware of the effects of their actions on the environment, and this influences their purchasing choices.

More specifically, GWI’s research shows that;

  • 52% of consumers prefer products packaged in less or recycled packaging
  • 48% want eco-friendly products to be more affordable
  • 44% want more natural ingredients in their products

Ecommerce sites, such as Groove Collaborative, check off most of the boxes listed above. But, there are also opportunities for businesses to offer green alternatives in their local communities.

Nordic Harvest in Denmark, for example, uses sustainable agriculture techniques to grow fresh salad greens locally. Additionally, demand is growing for eco-friendly services like Sphere, which offers a fossil fuel-divesting 401 (k) index.

Despite this, consumers may have a hard time navigating the market because there are so many eco-friendly products and services available. However, this creates an opportunity for new businesses to crop up. One idea would be services that provide eco-friendly product recommendations, as well as guide customers on how they can reduce their environmental impact.

2. Digital Nomads

Prior to the pandemic, the digital nomad population was growing. But, according to the Harvard Business Review, the digital nomad in the U.S. explored from 7.3 million in 2019 to 10.9 million in 2020. That’s a 49 percent increase! And, that number is expected to continue to rise with companies steadily allowing their staff to work remotely indefinitely.

Overall, entrepreneurs and employees, especially millennials, are increasingly concerned about flexibility and location independence. What’s more, freelancing and consulting are good fits for these digital nomad businesses. That means technology tools, productivity apps, collaboration software, and communications channels, have become more important than ever.

As such, digital nomads, or businesses catered to them, can engage in various types of businesses;

  • Provide a freelance service such as writing, graphic design, marketing, coding, and other knowledge-based services
  • Use established platforms such as Fiverr, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Upwork, or Toptal to offer your services
  • Provide consulting and coaching in areas where you have an in-depth understanding and knowledge
  • Start a blog or website and earn money through ads or affiliate marketing
  • Create and sell knowledge products such as courses and ebook
  • Using established platforms such as Fiverr, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Upwork, or Toptal
  • Develop an app or software that brings together remote teams. This could be a new conferencing tool, electronic signature app, or scheduling software.

3. Blockchain

Globally, the blockchain market is expected to grow from $411.5 million in 2017 to $7.6 billion by 2022, according to Market Watch. This represents an impressive 80% increase over the last five years!

Here’s the thing though, blockchain technology uses are not limited to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. It’s a growing field as businesses begin to implement the technology for their own operations. In turn, more and more businesses are hiring blockchain developers.

In short, it’s still worth considering blockchain as a promising application platform, despite its more mundane and unpredictable aspects. There will continue to be a need for coders who can turn ideas into reality, with an ever-increasing range of uses for open, verifiable, distributed blockchains. And, this is must true with the following blockchain business ideas;

  • Monitor and grow customer loyalty
  • Exchange loyalty rewards
  • Trade online advertising space
  • Verify luxury goods
  • Track shipments in real-time
  • Sell or rent decentralized cloud storage
  • Create blockchain systems for other companies
  • Recommend cryptocurrency investments
  • Facilitate cryptocurrency payment for vendors
  • Launch a digital wallet
  • Help patients access medical records
  • Verify medication validity
  • Authenticate hiring credentials
  • Connect certified gig workers to jobs
  • Manage hotel vacancy errors
  • Rent parking spaces
  • Make rideshares safer and more efficient
  • Distribute bitcoin vending machines
  • Launch an anti-subscription service

4. Fitness and Wellness

Fitness was among the industries that took a major hit during the pandemic. In fact, the Global Health & Fitness Association reports that the U.S. fitness industry lost over 58% of its revenue in 2020 alone. Additionally, consumers discovered new at-home fitness methods and products while at home, think Peloton.

That said, the fitness and wellness industry hasn’t completely been muscled out. After all, prior to the pandemic, it had a market of more than $1.5 trillion. And, it was growing.

While it’s true that the pandemic has changed the fitness industry, there are still plenty of opportunities to explore. Most notably, because people are working out from home, this market is expected to surpass $14.8 billion by 2027. That could make products like the BodyGym or health and wellness profitable ideas to pursue.

But, you don’t have to limit yourself to traditional fitness products or services. In addition to workout-focused activities, climbing and martial arts have also been popular, like High Point Climbing and CKO Kickboxing. In addition, PushPress offers software to help small gyms and independent gyms run more smoothly.

5. Home Entertainment/Improvement

Thanks to technology, more and more people have been spending time at home. In fact, the home entertainment devices market had a value of $176,098 million and was expected to reach $294,969 by 2022. As you’re well aware, this COVID accelerated this. And with new variants, most recently Omicron, people may continue to stay at home.

As such, there’s potential for businesses centered around computer games, TVs, and speakers. You could also look into products ranging from board games to pool or tennis tables to sewing kits.

Regarding the home, services offering assistance with everything from renovations and DIY projects to interior redecorating are thriving. The sales of home improvement products increased by 12.8% and 24.8% respectively in May and June 2020. And, according to the 2021 Houzz & Home Study, spending on home renovations has increased by 15% in the last year.

Make sure you take advantage of the outdoor space! People chose to socialize outside more, resulting in a 6% increase in the popularity of outdoor spaces. Patio and garden decoration improvement are also potential business opportunities you could chase.

Image Credit: Tim Douglas; Pexels; Thank you!