Here are some exploding trends we
think you should know more about.
Rising in popularity, ESA letters (emotional support animal letters) were traditionally written by licensed mental health professionals in person. These letters protect patients’ rights to have a pet in their home, free of charge, under the powerful federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and can extend to plane travel.
As a rise in online discussion and searches for ESA letters drives anxious consumers to sites like certapet.com and waggy.pet, more sites are popping up offering the letters after a short survey and consultation.
As a result, laws are being considered that aim to regulate these online services. In fact, a bill is being considered in Michigan right now that would require these doctors to operate out of a physical office space and have had the customer as a patient for a minimum of 6 months.
These laws make it harder for newer companies to start up and have sometimes led to markets for outsourcing a qualification. For example, to sell security alarms within the US, companies must get licensed as an alarm provider company in all the states where they plan to sell products. The process requires that companies have a certified security alarm professional, essentially an individual with a specific number of years of experience and certifications from a variety of tests. As newer and smaller companies entered the industry without naturally having those certified team members, they realized they could outsource this qualification. Consequently, there exist individuals who take tests, maintain their status, and rent out their qualification as a service, essentially letting companies use their name for $800-$1500/mo depending on the state.
As with the security industry, we may see a rise in outsourced qualifications to meet new legal requirements as demand grows.
And because the internet has allowed consumers to educate themselves on their conditions and possible treatments, there’s been a growing fundamental shift in how patients get treated; It’s changed from consumers visiting their doctor and saying, “Here are my problems, what should I do?”, to now saying “I already know what to do, please give me this prescription.”
Cereal, the most common breakfast food in America, is a huge business that has been on the decline. American spending on cereal fell from nearly $14B in 2000 to $9B in 2018.
While cereal is inexpensive, sweet, and easy to prepare, consumers’ growing interest in eating less sugar has cut into cereal sales.
Magic Spoon, a healthy breakfast cereal company which launched in April, is trying to bring cereal back. It’s targeting those that left cereal for healthier options and those who are still frequent users but are looking for something more nutritious. Their site has seen explosive growth – going from 0 visits in March to well over 200k monthly visits this August.
Because of how cereal has traditionally been distributed in retail stores, the competition has been around who can put the brightest colors and boldest fonts onto the front of the box to get consumers’ attention in the aisle. By selling direct to consumer, these cereal brands don’t have to fight for attention this way and can instead focus on finding relevant customers on relevant channels.
One way these brands are able to sell at nearly 2.5x the price of traditional cereals is by positioning the product as an alternative to premium healthy breakfast foods like protein shakes or smoothies and by targeting adults who control their own food budgets.
Unlike other meals of the day, breakfast is the one where consumers tend to be okay with eating the same thing every day, so once a cereal customer turns into a daily user, there’s a consistent and profitable revenue stream.
A significant portion of the traditional jewelry industry targets men who are buying a gift. Mejuri, a DTC jewelry company, is attempting to shift this purchasing role and found that already 75% of customers are buying for themselves.
Rather than releasing large seasonal batches as many jewelry and fashion companies do, Mejuri launches new products weekly in a “drop” model where they launch a small number of products on a weekly basis. This lets them continuously incorporate customer feedback into the designs.
Because of the high engagement, in part due to this tight feedback loop from customers to weekly product drops, the company boasts a monthly repeat purchase rate of over 25%. This points to their customers’ intention to grow a collection of Mejuri jewelry.
While many brands typically market jewelry as something a man buys for a woman on a special occasion, Mejuri has tried to shift the norm. They’ve found that many of their customers are treating themselves out of the blue rather than waiting for someone else to buy them jewelry for a birthday or Valentine’s Day.
In this way, Mejuri is taking a product that has always existed and changed not only the customer, but also the context in which it’s appropriate to purchase. In making these shifts, Mejuri seems to be creating a new and larger market for jewelry.
Although hotels typically require booking services to not post very low rates publicly, SnapTravel – a company that offers hotel deals through chatbot messaging – is able to bypass this. They do this by sending deals exclusively through private 1:1 chat – such as Facebook Messenger and SMS. In fact, according to the company, its access to unsold hotel inventory is nearly identical to those of other companies through sites like Expedia and Hotels.com, as well as directly from hotels.
And even by running their service solely through chat, nearly 19 of every 20 bookings goes through without human involvement. By doing it all through paywall-free messaging, there’s no need to download an app, create an account, or learn a new interface, so getting users through that funnel has come much easier.
The company, which makes money through commission, generated over $50M in sales last year, up 450% from 2017.
The recently-launched Goli Gummies is pouring money into ads, driving over 300k visits to their site, goli.com, up from 14k in April (respond “Goli ads” to this email to see their full set of 120+ Facebook ads).
While the health benefits of apple cider vinegar – the core ingredient in Goli gummies – are hotly debated, it has been relaunched over the past few years in different forms. Each time, it has seen strong interest. From 2017-2018, the apple cider vinegar peaked, from 2018-2019, apple cider vinegar pills peaked, and this summer, interest in apple cider vinegar gummies rose for the first time.
This change in form factor seems to have come about after consumers demanded something better tasting and more convenient to consume while on-the-go, as it’s often consumed just before meals. With consumers struggling to find time to fit in their health routines, products like Goli gummies and portable blenders, which we featured early this year, are rising to fill the need.
With convenience stores accounting for a whopping 3.2% of U.S. GDP in 2017, goPuff is making strategic moves in this century-old industry.
For convenience stores, fuel and cigarettes account for the large majority of sales. But while restocking on fuel or cigarettes is what brings many customers in, the margins are lower with these products than with food, beverages, and medicine. Food alone, while only accounting for just over 1/5th of in-store sales in 2017 ($53B), brought in more than 1/3rd of the profit, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.
As a result, goPuff – similar to a DoorDash for convenience stores – targets food and wellness products often found at convenience stores. The goPuff app went from 275k monthly downloads in June to 350k monthly downloads in August and is the 22nd most popular iPhone app in the food and drink category.
The potential impact here is significant, as over half the US population visits a convenience store on a daily basis.
Instead of buying products directly from the 150,000+ convenience stores around the country like Instacart does with grocery stores, goPuff maintains a network of 3,000 warehouses in around 100 cities and college campuses. This gives them more control over pricing and makes their business more defensible at the price of making it potentially harder to scale.
The app’s use among college students, who are often using their purchasing power for the very first time, is very attractive to the brands goPuff buys from.
And as this is happening, the line between snacks and meals is blurring. Research shows that consumers are eating more meals at non-standard times and that snacks now account for over half the times younger generations eat.
Through ordering via the app, the company is also bypassing the stigma users may fear when buying certain products. goPuff highlights the relatively high order volume for Plan B as an indicator of this.
In a world where organized religion is declining and consumers are looking for new ways to find meaning in life, Co-Star Astrology has seen extremely rapid fully-organic growth. It started with a simple but effective viral loop that has driven Co-Star’s rapid rise to over half a million downloads on the Apple App Store alone in the past month.
This viral loop all begins when users check their astrological compatibility with friends, via SMS or in-person invites. Daily updates and push notifications then cement a ritual of checking the app for guidance. After a while, users start to nudge their friends to sign up in order to check compatibility again, restarting the loop.
On top of this, the majority of traffic to the site comes from search. Despite being a young company in a very noisy space, Co-Star’s site brings in tens of thousands of visits from keywords such as “birth chart” and “natal chart”. Between search, social, and other major channels most astrology sites use to market their products, Co-Star has run sustainable user acquisition with zero advertising budget.
Even without subscribing to the ideas behind astrology, it’s worth recognizing that it accounts for over $2B in annual spend, and that more than half of millennials use astrology as a tool to better understand themselves and the world around them.
With organized religion on the decline, many different spiritual activities have risen to fill the gap. The percent of Americans who practice meditation increased from 4% in 2012 to 14% in 2017, and from 10% to 14% for yoga.
Many people point to technology as the reason behind rising anxiety and depression; that as we become more connected technologically, we become less connected interpersonally. While it’s often suggested that the answer is to shun technology and move closer to our roots, the solution may instead be to find ways that this powerful tool can help society build even stronger connections.
While churches using donation apps like Tithe.ly, rather than donation baskets, are seeing an increase in donations, the sales process hasn’t been easy for the company.
Tithe.ly has found it difficult to get older decision makers to modernize traditional practices. The company has found some interesting ways of sidestepping tradition. For example, in certain churches, letting the donation basket go by without dropping cash in can feel shameful, so churches using donation apps will sometimes print out cards that read “I gave online”.
Founded by a former pastor, Tithe.ly today counts over 11,500 churches as customers. By setting up recurring donations, allowing churchgoers to pay via text or via the app, and giving patrons the option to cover the associated fees (which many do), Tithe.ly has helped churches increase the number of churchgoers that donate and grow donation frequency.
Similar to enterprise resource planning software (ERP), every large church runs on what is called a church management system or ChMS. This software lets the church easily manage everything from their volunteer schedules to planning their ceremonial services and tracking attendee counts. The ChMS is connected to nearly all of the church’s day to day processes, making switching costs prohibitively high.
Companies like Tithe.ly and Pushpay integrate their products with these ChMS’s but avoid building their own ChMS so as to avoid competing with their own distribution channel. As these companies grow and become more commonly-known names in church communities, we can expect them to build their own ChMS in order to have more control over the full pipeline.
Beeswax wrap – kitchen food wrap made from beeswax paper – has already beat our Saran Wrap, Reynolds, Glad, and Kirkland to take the #1 rank in Amazon’s Household Wrap category.
In addition to being part of the larger shift towards zero waste products, these beeswax wraps keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer than plastic bags because of the natural antimicrobial properties.
Despite the higher price tag at about $18, beeswax wraps can come out to a similar price considering they’re reusable and last around a year. This compares to plastic wrap’s one-time use then – according to Amazon’s “most common” label on the subscribe and save feature for plastic wrap products – repurchase every few months.
As environmentally-friendly products gain greater adoption, we’ll start to see economies of scale kick in and yield lower prices to compete with traditional products. To learn more about seeing trending consumer products, respond “consumer products” to this email.
As the Xioami electric scooter is rising in popularity among consumers, Rad Power Bikes – an e-bike brand – are rising among delivery workers who now stunningly make up the majority of e-bike riders in cities like NYC.
The rising popularity of e-bikes is propped up by the growing food and grocery delivery industry which relies on a high number of deliveries over time to make the unit economics work.
The faster the transportation for these last mile deliveries, the more meals can be delivered per dollar, and the happier the customers are with less wait time and warmer food. Many companies also prefer e-bikes to cars because it allows them to tap into the candidate pool of those who don’t have a car or a driver’s license.
Just last month, Dominos launched an e-bike delivery program in a partnership with Rad Power Bikes. Each bike, custom built for pizza delivery, holds up to 12 large pies, turning the e-bike program into a full-on delivery powerhouse.