Looking back:
Brands that defined 2020

How do you sum up a year like 2020? While these past 11 months have been era-defining, it's not easy to find a single word or sentiment that can sum up a year that has encompassed a global pandemic, a worsening environmental crisis and international protests against police brutality.

So as the year draws to a close, instead of attempting to sum up 2020 with a ranking of the top launches we have spotted, we have instead curated a list of brands that we feel reflect the mood of 2020 and the way consumer mindsets are evolving.

The launch of brands like Topicals and Radswan demonstrate the ongoing focus that new beauty companies have on serving customers beyond the white millennial. Meanwhile, brands are continuing to move ideas in the health and wellness spaces forward, from Loftie's light-powered alarm clock that works with our circadian rhythms to Emme's smart pill case that pushes a notification to its owner's smartphone when they forget to take their meds.

Others are more overtly capitalising on the fact our lives have, for the majority of this year, been centred around our homes, whether we are busy making sourdough loaves or scrambling to get our home offices set up.

The pandemic has also provided an opportunity for some traditionally boring categories to flourish. Sales of items like hand sanitiser (which rose 300% in March), face masks (up 510% between Q1 and Q2, although now starting to slow), toilet paper (up 700% from February to March) and even kettlebells have all skyrocketed.

19 brands that sum up 2020

Endless Ferments

Live starter cultures that can be used again-and-again to make endless batches of kombucha and sourdough.


A lifestyle brand bringing a new perspective on blackness through hair, by disrupting the synthetic market with innovative products.


We create tech-life balance. Our first product is an alarm clock that helps you break up with your smartphone and get a better night's rest.


Skincare for funner flare-ups starting with eczema and hyperpigmentation.


At-home lab testing empowering everyone to understand and improve their issues with brain fog, sleep, weight gain, high stress, and more.


The Emme Smart Case automatically senses when you take the pill, sending custom reminders that really work.


Speakers designed to feel as artful, intimate, and unexpected as the live performances they transmit.

Season Three

Season Three is an outdoor lifestyle brand making heritage footwear for a new generation.


One tablespoon of Ultra Coffee? A 20x coffee concentrate that wants to put instant granules out of a job.


NON has been developed to raise the bar on non-alcoholic drinking. Developed by chefs, NON beverages are complex, irreverent and delicious.


Prepare for what you can't predict? Judy makes emergency kits that’s digitally-connected keeping you prepared for any scenario.

How We Roll Co.

An Australian eco-friendly toilet paper brand. One tree is planted for every box sold.


Wanda Box elevates at-home dining with seasonal menus, restaurant-quality ingredients and paired playlists, delivered to your door.


Whiled is a leisure brand creating goods designed for downtime, starting with a collection of artful jigsaw puzzles.

Dough Dealer

Easy to make Bread Kits with quality first ingredients sourced from small and farmer-founded companies. Bake bread with us.


Nourishing hand sanitizer that's better for your skin and the planet. Plant based emollients, an indulgent scent, and sustainable packaging.


Branch is a premium office furniture brand making it easy and affordable to create inspirational offices for the home and workplace.


Feel better while you're on the move with BioRomper, a head-to-toe body suit made with recycled, antimicrobial fabric.


Since 15 April, Atoms has been selling antimicrobial-lined facemasks that can be washed and reused up to 50 times.

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Thingtesting is a database of internet-born brands. We’re building the un-sponsored corner of the internet where consumers can come together to talk honestly about new things. Read more about Thingtesting here.

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