13 Fastest-Growing Small Business Industries to Watch

In Canada and abroad, industries are experiencing unprecedented growth as the world around them changes to adapt to the new realities of COVID-19. As a result, a large number of the fastest-growing businesses are operating online entirely or in certain areas of their business, like when it comes to purchase ordering.

Today, clients are increasingly looking for products and services that can be accessed remotely. Similarly, existing businesses are pivoting to online models, and online-only businesses are cropping up to meet the growing demand of small business owners seeking alternatives to brick and mortar operation models. Here are 13 of the fastest-growing small business industries with projected increases in customer demand:

1. Residential remodelling: fastest-growing small business industry

It’s no surprise that residential remodelling is the first industry on this list. The home improvement industry has been experiencing a boom as working from home became the new reality for hundreds of thousands of Canadians nearly overnight. As people’s living rooms started doing double duty as offices and conference rooms, investing in residential remodelling seemed worth the investment in a way it hasn’t in previous years.

Businesses in the residential modelling industry offer interior and exterior renovations for people’s places of residence. This includes additions, alterations, reconstruction, and repair. According to a 2020 Renovation Report conducted by HomeStarz, the majority of Canadians (80 per cent) are still planning home projects despite COVID-19.

2. Home health care: fastest-growing small business industry

Another industry experiencing high demand is home health care. As the healthcare industry was forced to delay elective surgeries and other procedures this year, private in-home care rose to meet increasing patient care demand. Home health care encompasses providing care and supervision to people in areas including:

  • health monitoring
  • drug administration
  • physical rehabilitation

The diversity of the home health care industry means that there are a variety of roles available to individuals with medical field training and to those without.

3. Digital fitness: fastest-growing small business industry

As the work-from-home force redefined at-home fitness, digital fitness came to prominence. No other statistic better encompasses this industry spike than Peloton’s market share, which grew by 250 per cent in 2020.

To meet this demand, personal trainers and health professionals helped the public transition to fitness programs that can be done from home with or with or without professional gym equipment. Similarly, as people crave opportunities to socialize, group classes have taken the form of connected and social media-based delivery. This way, customers can still connect and maintain contact with classmates while socially distancing. You can be a successful personal trainer from home—no gym required.

4. Tutoring: fastest-growing small business industry

Remote academic tutoring is another industry experiencing growth. As classes are being increasingly delivered remotely, there is a pronounced need to meet the knowledge gaps that this delivery method exacerbates. With COVID-19 affecting learning by heightening people’s stress levels while lowering their attention spans, some individuals need a little help to keep up. This is where remote tutoring can help.

From an operating perspective, tutoring companies tend to have lower startup costs. To get started, the only requirements (in addition to a high-speed internet connection) are strong communication skills and a high degree of knowledge in a specific subject.

5. Food delivery: fastest-growing small business industry

Food delivery is another area of business that has been experiencing increased demand and changing shape as people try to limit their exposure to the outside world. Food delivery services like SkiptheDishes, UberEats, and Foodora have experienced so much popularity in recent months that some have expanded into grocery and alcohol categories to accommodate new shopping behaviours. Similarly, as independent businesses across the national struggle to stay accessible and relevant at this time, many have started to offer delivery services. 

However, prepared food delivery isn’t the only sector experiencing growth. Prior to this year, the meal kit delivery service market was already on track to double by 2022. Demand has only gone up as people look for guided, affordable, time-saving options to master cooking at home.

6. Online plant nurseries: fastest growing small business industry

One of the most fascinating consumer trends observed this year is that the Millennial “plant parent” trend is still going strong. According to SWNS, a UK and US-based content agency, 7 in 10 Millennials identify as “plant parent.”

To help Millennials discover the perfect plant addition to their brood, plant nurseries have brought their offerings online. This means that Millennials can now select plants from an online catalogue and have it shipped directly to their door. To make up for not being able to select the exact plant you want, industry players have introduced guarantees in areas of customer satisfaction and plant health. This is the case for Plant Collective, a Toronto-based nursery that offers a 14-day “Happiness Guarantee” to bring customers peace of mind.

7. In-home beauty services: fastest growing small business industry 

As the workforce resumes in a modified fashion and offices reopen, the desire for in-home beauty services has seen its own respective surge. In an era of Zoom meetings, the following services have gained popularity for in-home delivery:

  • Hairdressing
  • Hair colour
  • Nail care
  • Facials

This trend indicates that while work attire during a pandemic has become more casual, body care remains a priority. By having professional care come to them, people find a way to limit their exposure to public spaces and minimize risk. 

The leader for on-demand business models in the beauty space in the Canadian market is StylU, an Uber-style service provider available in Toronto and Vancouver markets. StylU’s service model goes to show that just because physical salons are closed, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a blowout.

8. Online event management: fastest growing small business industry

As the global events industry undergoes a transition to virtual delivery, the demand for online event management is stronger than ever. This is why the virtual events industry is expected to grow from $78 billion to $774 billion by 2030, according to PR Newswire.

At its core, online event management involves the application of project management to the planning and execution of large scale events such as:

  • festivals
  • trade shows
  • conferences
  • competitions
  • training sessions

Depending on the event’s needs, a small business operating in the online event management space will manage logistics surrounding attendees, registration, scheduling, engagement, event promotion and digital marketing material creation.

9. Community health consultants: fastest growing small business industry

A community health consultant, sometimes known as a health educator, is someone who provides and manages health education programs offered by organizations. Part of the community health consultant service offering is the assessment of existing needs and organizational infrastructure to arrive at a set of measures that keep the customers healthy across lifestyles through corporate policies.

When workplaces get ready to re-open their offices, many choose to engage with a community health consultant to take concrete steps toward the safety and wellbeing of their employees in these unprecedented times.

10. Software engineering and development: fastest growing small business industry

It may be a surprise to some that the software engineering and development industry is heavily composed of small business players. Software engineering companies create software for diverse uses like business applications, games, and operating systems. Plus, it’s accessible—a significant portion of the software engineering workforce identifies as self-taught.

Cloud computing and AI intelligence are just two of the areas of advancement identified in Deloitte’s 2020 Technology Industry Outlook where consumers can expect innovation in the coming years.

11. Virtual and augmented reality: fastest growing small business industry

As people are increasingly spending more time indoors, the desire for escapism is fuelling growth in the virtual and augmented reality industries, which are poised to grow by 34.5 per cent before 2025. Virtual reality is a diverse industry, but the value these technologies bring across categories is delivering an interactive computer-generated experience in a simulated environment.

North America is expected to hold the largest size of the virtual reality market with applications across healthcare, education, automotive and aerospace categories. The industry is gaining momentum as tech giant companies like Sony, Samsung Electronics, and Google invest in promising start-ups and advancements in this field.

12. Senior care services: fastest growing small business industry

The senior care industry is one that was plagued by reports of understaffing long before this year, and the need for employees has only grown more pronounced since. The senior population, a vulnerable segment of Canadian society, often relies on medical support for later in life. Senior care services providers often help clients with:

  • Monitoring of outstanding conditions
  • Administering medication
  • Personal hygiene maintenance 
  • Mental stimulation and physical activities
  • Home maintenance and general errands

As COVID heavily hit nursing homes across Canada with numerous tragic casualties in this demographic, some Canadians have pulled loved ones out of assisted care and hired live-in or part-time help in these areas. However, the demand is still outpacing the supply of available businesses that provide senior care services. 

13. Gourmet Coffee: fastest growing small business industry

Grabbing a cup of coffee on your way to work may not be a common morning routine for most this year, but Canadians have found other ways to get their caffeine fill with the rise of gourmet coffee companies. Customers are increasingly replacing go-to brands like Starbucks and Timmies with independent coffee selections they can make in the comfort of their own kitchen. One such example is Toronto’s De Mello, an origin-based coffee roaster run by Korean-born brothers Felix and Won Cha that focuses on the social value of its products.

Growing your small business in an already saturated market

As more business owners take advantage of industry shifts, some markets may reach a point of over-saturation that makes it difficult for new players to gain visibility. When this happens, one route a business owner can take is to focus on a niche corner of the market to attract customers. For instance, a dog walker may choose to cater to specific breeds with unique needs, like Australian cattle dogs, which require mental and physical stimulation for their well-being due to high intelligence levels. The key to successfully tapping into a niche market is identifying a customer need and using it as a point of differentiation for your business.

Now that you know about the top fastest-growing small businesses, it’s time to put your own stake in the ground by starting your own business


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This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed.  All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.