How New Interest in These Industries Prompted Unprecedented Growth / Industry / Last Modified: April 7, 2017

You might be surprised to see how fast these industries are growing.

They say that fashion goes in cycles -- styles go out of fashion only to enjoy renewed popularity a few decades later.

If these markets are any indication, fashion isn’t the only industry to benefit from a resurgence of interest. None of these industries are new—in fact, many of them have been around for centuries. What is new is the wild (and unpredicted) modern-day popularity that’s causing unprecedented growth.


Sure, alcohol has always been popular (even during prohibition), but it’s not until recent years that the industry experienced a surge thanks to new interest in artisan wines and craft brews and spirits. As a result, the alcoholic beverage industry is booming. The craft spirits industry topped $2.4 billion in retail sales in 2015, and investments in the industry topped $300 million that same year. This growth hasn’t shown signs of slowing down: As of 2016, there were more than 1,300 craft spirit producers in the U.S. Meanwhile, the craft beer industry has added $22.3 billion to the overall beer market, and there are now more than 4,200 craft breweries across the country.

Arts and Crafts

There was a time when coloring books and arts and crafts projects were the stuff of elementary schools and high school Home Ec classes -- but no longer. Thank the hipsters, the DIY movement or your grandmother; whatever the source, the arts and crafts industry is booming. What we do know is that “Generation Yawn” (aka millennials who embrace hobbies that are reminiscent of the 1950s) is driving the charge both online (Hello, Etsy and Pinterest!) and off. From mending to macramé, embroidery, knitting and adult coloring books, arts and crafts are hip again—so much so that they’re now a more than $30 billion industry (Etsy alone tops $2 billion in annual sales) with more than 62 million adults participating in these hobbies each year.


Five or ten years ago, the assumption was that anyone seeking out a new mattress would need to do so at a big-box retailer, where they would buy from one of only a handful of big-name brands. In short? Buying a mattress was a tedious process that few people talked about. And then a few savvy entrepreneurs realized they could leverage the power of the internet to generate a whole new buzz for the mattress industry. Enter major e-commerce mattress brands such as Saatva and Casper, both named one of the “fastest growing e-retailers” in 2016’s Top 500. These brands rake in $50 to $100 million per year and have already captured three percent of the total mattress market in spite of their youth. And they’re a big reason why the mattress market is currently enjoying rapid growth. Suddenly, people care about the surface they sleep on—which is both a function of consumer trends and savvy marketing on the part of these brands.


Any Baby Boomer willing to dust off their old record player and post it on Craigslist or Ebay will find the reward well worth the effort: These days, interest in vinyl is sky-high. In fact, vinyl record sales hit a 28-year high in 2016. Fueled by a similar hipster aesthetic and “back to the basics” ethos as the arts and crafts industry, the vinyl industry is enjoying a renewed surge in popularity. Record sales topped $416 million in 2015—that’s more than the revenue generated by on-demand streaming services. There’s even a Record Store Day (christened in 2008) and a variety of “Vinyl of the Month” clubs, and vinyl is now showing up in major chains such as Barnes & Noble and Urban Outfitters. Even Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber have released albums on vinyl. All signs point toward the continuation of this trend: Vinyl record sales are on track to top $1 billion this year.

As these industries demonstrate, what is old can become new again at the drop of a hat. All it takes is for consumers to decide that the “old” is appealing—and for young brands to throw themselves into meeting this demand.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Maksim Fesenko

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