As businesses continue to innovate and new technologies continue to be developed and rolled-out, new opportunities to grow emerge. At the same time, what can constitute an opportunity for one industry may be a threat to another.
U.S. businesses are very different today than they were even as recently as 10 years ago. A number of manufacturing industries are no longer as dominant as they once were, with large portions of production moving overseas or the product simply becoming obsolete. Other traditionally strong industries have also changed dramatically as digital and online technologies have continued to proliferate.
At the same time, other industries have had meteoric growth. Using data from market research company IBISWorld, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed U.S. industries to find the fastest growing — and the fastest shrinking — industries over the past five years. Solar power revenues grew more than those of any other U.S. industry between 2009 and 2014. During that same time, recordable media manufacturing’s revenues were the fastest shrinking of any American industry.
Despite being relatively new, some of the fastest growing industries are products and services that are familiar to nearly all American households today. These include the smartphone application makers industry, which has benefitted from the increasing use to mobile devices. Social networks have also been one of the fastest growing industries, with millions of Americans now using Facebook, Twitter, and a number of other social networks on a daily basis.
On the other side of the equation, many of the fastest shrinking industries were once hallmarks of American life but have been displaced by new technologies. The in-store video and game rental industry is perhaps the most poignant case, as stores such as Blockbuster were unable to keep up with competitors such as Netflix. Recordable media manufacturers, which make CDs and DVDs, and database and directory publishers, which make phone books, have been under pressure from devices such as smartphones. Such mobile devices allow users to play their favorite music and find a phone number with just the push of a button.
In some cases, fast-growing industries are still just nascent players in an otherwise massive industry. For instance, peer-to-peer lending is growing rapidly, but it still represents just a drop in the bucket compared to traditional consumer lending. Further, solar energy production — the fastest growing industry over the last five years — remains a very small source of energy compared to coal, natural gas, and petroleum.
Another important trend for shrinking industries is outsourcing. Both boy’s and men’s apparel and computers can be manufactured at a lower cost using cheaper labor abroad. At the same time, the U.S. now leads the world in a number of fast-growing industries. For example, the growth of smartphone application development has allowed many Americans to build their own businesses through innovative apps.
To identify the fastest growing (and fastest shrinking) U.S. industries, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from IBISWorld on annualized revenue growth rates by industry from 2009 through 2014. In addition, IBISWorld provided annual revenue statistics as well as four-year revenue growth estimates for the period of 2014 through 2018.
These are the fastest growing (and fastest shrinking) U.S. industries.