The past few years have been rewarding for investors, with many sectors showing strong dividend growth. Capita Asset Services estimates that dividends grew by more than 11% in 2017, which works favourably with inflation at around 3%. While it isn’t always easy knowing which industry to invest in, simply staying on top of sector trends is a good place to start. Last year saw a few different industries rise in popularity, and they’re continuing to grow this year. Here, we discuss the top four sectors to invest in, in 2018.

Translation – for business expansion

As more and more companies begin to expand their operations globally, the need for accurate translation services is considerably growing. Businesses in the UK have been hit hard by the Brexit referendum, and it is still unclear how leaving the EU will affect trading outside of Britain. In order to secure the best deals when working abroad, businesses will need foreign language speakers and translation services that know the ins and outs of trading in other countries.

Businesses can often find it difficult to make deals in other countries, especially if there is a language barrier, leading to a growing need for translators and interpreters. Some companies, such as Global Voices, offer interpretation by phone or video at a discounted cost, which is much more efficient and quicker than dealing with translating documents. This also eliminates geographical limitations, which can further minimise costs for small businesses. By taking part in a conference phone or video call with a trained interpreter, companies can conduct business much faster when making deals abroad.

The language industry was worth an estimated $43 billion last year, and is expected to reach $47.5 billion by 2021. Translation services are in high demand, and businesses have the option to outsource translators, or have remote interpreters on their books. Investing in the translation industry can help to create new jobs for translators and interpreters, while also driving the development of machine translation.

Meditation and mindfulness – healthy minds make healthy workers

A study by Oxford University found that practicing mindfulness can cause a 58% reduction in anxiety levels, a 57% reduction in depression, and a 40% reduction in stress levels. As one of the biggest trends of 2017—the sales of “mind, body, spirit” books increased by 13.3%—it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Business owners and entrepreneurs are increasingly looking to mindfulness to help them deal with the stresses of balancing work and personal life, and many CEOs are implementing mindfulness to the workday, in order to benefit employees.

Mindfulness apps are also gaining traction, and there are now over 1000 apps dedicated to meditation available on app stores. The most popular, Headspace, has over 18 million users around the world, and was said to be worth more than $250 million at the start of 2017. More and more people are turning to mindfulness for everyday use, and the NHS is even recommending apps to help users deal with phobias, stress, and anxiety. Investing in the development of mindfulness apps can help fund much-needed research into mental health, which can ensure that the apps provide as much help as possible to users.

Mobility technology – invest in the cities of the future

Alliance Ventures, which was launched by automaker heavyweights Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, is planning to invest a massive $1 billion over the next five years in start-ups developing mobility technology. The fund will be used to support new technologies such as vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity, and even artificial intelligence.

The UN estimates that 60% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030, as towns and current cities continue to grow and develop. This rapid urbanisation is forcing governments to address infrastructure, congestion zones, and travel times without sacrificing the environment. The smart mobility market is expected to grow by almost 20% by 2023. It will work alongside smart technology in the growth of smart cities, and is set to change the shape of industries by 2025. Investment in the sector will be able to fund research into smart mobility, as well as upgrading current transport technology.

Synthetic biology – unlocking health benefits

Thanks to the plummeting cost of DNA synthesis, scientists are helping to pave the way to explore the wide market of synthetic biology. Rather than relying on biotechnology to make medicines and genetically modified crops, synthetic biology can be utilised for more extensive changes. The technology can be used to develop new ways to treat illnesses, injuries, and can even be used to grow organs for those in need of donors.

Within the first half of 2017, the industry managed to raise an impressive $500+ million in venture capital, public funding, and grants. This funding is enabling scientists to work towards designing new drugs, materials, and chemicals with the rise of synthetic biology. Driven by the advancements being made in healthcare technology, the Global Regenerative Medicine Market is set to grow by over a quarter by 2022. Investors are drawn to the healthcare opportunities synthetic biology can provide, as well as the decreasing cost of research.