4. Luxury goods
It may be counterintuitive, but the upper end of the market is generally immune to financial flu.
High-end products, from luxury holidays and designer handbags to artisan ice-creams, are defying the consumer spending slump. Back in the downturn of the nineties, Haagen Dazs did a booming trade; your business could be the surprise luxe success of this recession.
The logic goes like this: even if skint, the modern-day consumer is accustomed to the odd treat. But instead of buying ten middling things, as was their wont in the good times, consumers are more likely to go for quality than quantity now. They’ll go for one good item -- even if it’s a bar scented soap or fancy chocolate.
There’s still money being spent out there: you’ve just got to create the right net to catch it.
5. Domestic tourism
With the pound down against the euro and the dollar, and job-security at an all-time low, it’s likely holidaying abroad will be a low priority for Britons this year.
But families still want to keep their commitment to their annual holiday. As a result, those camping holidays in Cornwall and those breaks in north Wales might well be back in vogue.
Whether you have plans for a budget B&B or your eye on a seaside hotel or campsite, now’s the time to get listed in holiday guide books. Similarly, bus tour operators, historical guides, hiking and adventure organisers – and those running local culture and music fairs – should plan for a busy summer.
These are gloomy times, but the sun may yet shine on businesses offering a traditional British holiday.
If consumers are not buying anything new, older items – from clothes and shoes to cars and home fittings – will still need to be repaired eventually.
There are happy side-effects to a conservative economic climate: cobbling, home, car and general repair firms look set to benefit from a resurgence in popularity. Sustainable living – in the green sense – works well for these businesses.
So if you are a skilled tradesman or mechanic, or if you have a passion for professional-standard DIY, now could be the time to turn your hand to setting up on your own.
7. Green and ethical business
Now that fewer people can afford to buy organic, green business has lost some of its cachet. But this is a sector that fits with the frugal mood.
Ethical retailers, offering fair trade, locally sourced or organic produce, tend to have a loyal customer base that looks for more than the cheapest price. And green still has promise: sustainability is, after all, its motto.
Demand for green goods remains high, and the rising cost of energy and other resources means that eco-friendly business makes good business sense. Investment in green goods, such as energy-saving light bulbs or solar panelling, saves the consumer money in the long run.
So don’t let the pile-em-high, sell-em-cheap brigade get you down: your start-up eco business may soon have competitors green with envy.