By: Dr Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja- Director and Co-Founder of UAE’s Capital College
Every year, thousands of working professionals venture into the stream of entrepreneurship. While previously there were only a handful of markets one could dive into, today there are numerous niche markets that are thriving with the right business model and strategies. People who focus only on the immediate connection between the size and audience often miss out on the options that could be offered through a niche market. By banking on strategies for such markets, not only does it give the company to flourish effectively, but also allows the corporation to become players in the international market. On the other hand, companies who are part of the mainstream markets will find it difficult as competition will be fierce and the pressure will be immense.
In recent times, many organizations have tapped into disruptive ideas and made successful ventures. The Middle Eastern region has grown to be one of the fastest-growing business hubs with Bahrain and UAE (Sharjah) leading the way for the best ecosystems in the region. According to a report submitted by the Global Startup Ecosystem, which has been responsible for tracking over 1.27 million companies, these two regions seem to be significant players in supporting startups and SMEs. Hence, this column will explore some niche markets Middle Eastern entrepreneurs can tap into.
The pandemic has accelerated digitization in almost all industries. With the new wave of innovation, both consumer and business behavior has changed dynamically. Amidst this, the subscription trend has evolved and become quite popular amongst businesses as consumers are drawn to it due to its convenience and reliability. According to Zuora, more than half of the subscription companies have witnessed a sharp 18% increase in subscribers’ growth since the coronavirus outbreak. In the survey conducted, it was further drawn that over 70% of the companies had seen promising growth in the subscription economy in 2020.
With the majority of the businesses based in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, many potential entrepreneurs should consider looking into these regions due to its robust developed ecosystem. Entrepreneurs can venture into this niche market in popular industries including fashion, fitness, mindfulness, and art. In order to encourage consumers to stick by, they can adopt a discount when paid pre-hand for 6-12 months.
In a report submitted at the World Government Summit in February, it was noted that over 11 billion plastic bags were used in 2019. Earlier in 2020, the environment agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) proclaimed to have designed a plan to make the emirate completely free of plastic by the end of 2021. In line with the government’s active initiation, it could be an interesting business prospect for entrepreneurs to venture into plastic-free businesses. Hence, with more and more consumers looking for plastic-free products, businesses could take this as an advantage to provide them with such services/products. Companies can deal with alternative single uses or unnecessary plastic. This can be quite effective considering the initial capital will be quite less. For instance, people can venture into sandwich bags, bamboo kitchen implements, reusable drinking straws which can have both B2C as well as a B2B approach.
This is another market that has grown enormously. The global private tutoring market is expected to generate more than $1.77 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of around 7.1% between 2018 and 2026. Unlike previous times, the increasing competition and pressure to be accepted in renowned higher education institutions have fuelled the private tutoring market around the globe. Further catalyzed by the pandemic, almost all schools, universities, and colleges have transited to an online medium of teaching. This has led to an unprecedented demand for online tutoring which was previously much lower. All an online tutor would require is a good device plugged in with a decent internet speed.
There has been a growing awareness of skincare products which has led to a drastic surge in the natural cosmetic section. The global market size is expected to reach over 48 billion in value by 2025. On the other hand, as per a report circulated by TechSci Research, the organic cosmetic markets in the MENA region is expected to grow to 4 to 5 billion in 2022. The report further suggests that in the UAE region, the demand for organic and ethically sourced cosmetics is quickly rising which only increases due to the current pandemic challenges. With more people getting skeptical about big brands induced with inorganic products, entrepreneurs are given an avenue for cross-selling and upselling.
While these are just some of the niche markets entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts can venture into, it all comes down to strategies to funnel the maximum revenue. One may just turn out to be the next rising star for the coming year!