As business owners and executives it is necessary for us to be aware of the biggest innovations which have the power to disrupt whole industries.
Based on my personal anecdotal insights as well as statistics from reliable sources including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I am sharing the top five industries which are to grow massively in the coming few years.
The changes brought forward due to the disruptions will create huge opportunities for all and sundry as long as we are able to learn from them and adapt ourselves and our organizations. Here we go:
1. Augmented/Virtual Reality
Both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are exciting inventions in which the biggest names in the tech industry are investing billions of dollars, with the forecast being that collectively they will hit the $150 billion mark by 2020. VR artificially stimulates sensory experiences such as sound, sight and touch while AR goes a step ahead and projects computer generated images.
Google’s first foray into this industry was unsuccessful when Google Glass failed to impress the majority of the target audience, but their new invention Google Cardboard is dubbed as the invention which will change the VR-world in manners which Google Glass couldn’t.
Google, however, isn’t the only player in the VR world. From Facebook’s $2 billion bet on the virtual reality headset Oculus to Microsoft’s frenzy with HoloLens, VR is certainly making a solid foothold in today’s economy. To share a glimpse of what’s happening outside the USA within the VR and AR worlds, it is nice to see visionary entrepreneurs like Peter Gould working on reimagining Islam through smart mosques and smart homes.
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2. The Sharing Economy
Lending out your house, car or bike to others, for a fee when they’re not being used by you may not be a novel concept but the use of technology to be able to do so in a safer, quicker fashion is certainly an innovation which has made phrases like "uberpreneur" a part and parcel of our daily vocabulary.
The sharing economy is already churning billions of dollars, but this mark is expected to rise even more in the coming years. Airbnb is a prime example of the sharing concept; it was started when the jobless co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were forced to rent out their living room in 2007.
As reported by Wired in December 2015, the company is now valued at $25.5 billion with the revenue for 2015 expected to be $900 million. Ridesharing, bike-sharing, and carpooling, as well as platform based services such as Uber and Lyft, are all set to expand to several parts of the world.
Uber, as reported by Forbes this week is now valued at $62.5 after it raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The massive upsurge of ridesharing as shown in this infographic has already disrupted the cab big time with strikes of cab drivers taking places in places as diverse as Jakarta and London. In this regard, it is also important to know that Frost & Sullivan predicts transportation as one of the most promising sectors for investment.
3. Big Data
According to McKinsey, Big Data will be a core requirement in the growth and success of businesses, and companies that rely on Big Data will be able to outcompete those that don’t. According to a forecast by International Data Corporation (IDC), Worldwide Big Data and technology services will reach $48.6 billion by 2019 due to the mass adoption of Big Data by industries.
4. Online Retail
From paying bills using a mobile phone to ordering a variety of items online, we are increasingly transforming into a population which gets everything done online. It is hence no surprise that global online retail sales in the US alone are estimated to rise to $1.6 billion by the year 2018.
In a study done by Shopify in 2014 on more than 100,000 stores that use its software, 50.3 percent of the total traffic was coming from mobile devices, which points to the growth of m-commerce. This growth is further proven by the fact that the number of mobile users has already surpassed the number of desktop users.
Regions like the U.S. and Europe might be a bit saturated for some e-commerce ventures according to some, but a lot of E-commerce opportunities exist in the developing world. One example, in this case, would be my home country Pakistan, where security has improved exponentially during the past three to five years, and Telenor (a Norwegian telecom company) now owns the second largest market share within Pakistani telecom industry.
With the Internet Live Stats estimating the number of internet users in Pakistan to be 34 million, E-commerce is beginning to be massively popular in Pakistan. But, based on a brief review I did, it seems that no E-commerce companies are investing in the more sustainable and economical inbound marketing strategies like SEO, content marketing, and CRO, and are, instead, hugely dependent on the riskier and less sustainable mediums of Facebook advertising and Facebook retargeting tactics alone. This only means more opportunities for the wiser entrepreneurs.
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5. Internet of Things(IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is on the rise given that after having networked mobile phones, TVs, and computers, the tech entrepreneurs and geeks of the world are working on networking devices like homes and refrigerators to make them smarter so as to improve our quality of life even further.
In this regard, it is interesting to note Google's acquisition of the network thermostat company NEST or $3.2 billion in 2014, which helped it make a stronger foothold within the home automation business. Furthermore, the IoT market for various healthcare applications such as patient monitoring and hospital operations is estimated to reach $117 billion by 2020.
Not only that, GE Digital predicts that industrial internet in addition to ‘business-to-business’ IoT will have the potential to add a whopping $15 trillion to global GDP by the year 2035. One can only image the kind of changes it will make to our business and our lives.
Above mentioned are the five most happening industries with the most opportunities for growth in the coming years. As the rate of entrepreneurship rises, you should be well-informed at identifying the industries that provide the best prospects for employment and business.