Top 10 dying industries

The good people at Ibis World just released a report on which industries are facing the biggest declines. You can probably guess a few of them, and the major culprit behind the decline is another mainstay of change: Technological Development. The numbers are from the US economy over the past decade, but I think it’s a fair representation of what is occurring in most first world developed economies.

So while you peruse the list, have a think about the incumbents and if they saw it coming or were in denial. Also have a think about where technology is taking us and if you can be a driving force behind flipping an existing industry on it’s head with your new startup! Enjoy.

1. Apparel Manufacturing

Has declined by 77% over the past decade. Simple reason. Cost of wages in labour intensive industry.

2. Music Stores

In the past decade almost 80% of all music stores have closed down in the USA. Sales recorded music sold on a physical transportable device (Tapes, CD’s, LP’s et al) have declined 76.3% in the past 10 years. The only chance for survival is to be very niche, like some ‘drive in cinemas’ have done. even cultural icons, like Tower Records below have succumbed to the inevitable. If you look closely at the pic below, you might even see the who was behind it all…

3. Manufactured Home Dealers

Declined by over 70% in the past decade. Who knew?

4. Photo development

Photo finishing faced a 69% decline, which digital photography is entirely responsible for. Facebook and Flickr are quickly replacing the photo album, and Kodak got caught napping as this happened. The truth is that 1 hour is still 59 minutes and  59 seconds slower than digital. The question is whether the increasing level of awesomeness of cameras in mobile phones will make stand alone digital cameras redundant?

5. Wired Communications

Wired telecoms declined by 54.9% since the year 2000. The evidence exists with how many people you know who’ve ‘turned off’ their fixed line connection. Long distance and overseas has equally been decimated by Skype which comes at peoples favourite price point – ‘free’ – with the added benefit of video. It’s pretty clear that I life without wires is better than a life with them.

6. Mills

Manufacturing suffered a 50% decrease. Seems they are closing all the factories down in Allan Town – as 23% have closed down since 2000. It’s a pretty simple formula here as reduced trade barriers and low wage markets have concocted this reality.

7. Newspaper Publishing

You’re reading this on-line, and you probably get most of your news the same way. Hence it isn’t a great surprise that newspaper publishing has declined 35.9% in the past decade. What’s really interesting is that most of us consume more news and content than ever before, we just get it in different places from different people. The problem with most publishers is that they confuse the delivery mechanism (the physical publishing) with why they actually exist. Granted, lower barriers to deliver any form information has made the old model almost impossible to maintain. I’d also argue that the pay walls being put up by Rupert Murdoch and the New York Times won’t cut it when valid substitutes are ‘free’.

8. DVD, Game & Video rental

A percentage decrease of 35.7% which is easy to see as local video & DVD rental stores close down. The on-line alternative is simply superior. Enough said.

9. Formal Wear & Costume rental

A curious one as this industry has declined by 35%. Most probably a combination of reduced prices for textiles in general and the casualisation of dress throughout society.

10. Video Post Production

With standard simple digital manipulation tools on our desk top, services of this nature have been hurt. They’ve declined by 24.9% in the past decade. Only the very high end have survived.


15 thoughts on “Top 10 dying industries

  1. Yes, it must have declined even more dramatically. I think they’d only be omitted because their revenue would be harder to measure. But I’m certain that web hasn’t helped their model – PR is a very DIY kinda thing these days.


  2. I reckon their ‘real decline’ is also hidden by the number of doorstops they invade with their previous forest. They still sell their advertising based on ‘delivery numbers’ so the fearful might still believe that just maybe people still use the Yellow Pages.


  3. I still think there is a justification for some redundancy with things like yellow pages. Its like a back-up that doesn’t need power or wifi. Its like the Zombi Apocalypse Back-Up plan. I know there’s massive holes in that, but you can always throw them at the undead if all else fails.

  4. Haha I love Karlos thoughts on the Zombie Apocalypse Back-Up Plan! Proof that we still need yellow pages delivered to our doorsteps.

    The Green Guerilla

  5. Although a stubborn portion of these PR flacks refuse to die, and now call themselves “social media consultants”. It’s the loan officer turned debt consolidation specialist all over again.

  6. It’s interesting to see how the internet and technology has really changed the world around us. Businesses who are unable to adapt go bankrupt. That’s why we can see newspapers now relying more on the internet and charging for online subscriptions. Same with blockbuster. It now has an on demand section on their website. These businesses need to simply adapt and change the way they do business.

  7. What about Video production as a whole? I’ve noticed a HUGE drop in sales and clients over the last 5 years.
    Seems it’s all headed down hill. Every Tom Dick and Harry Dick have a camera and I movie or some form of editing software on their computers.

    Sure that doesn’t hurt the top 2 or 3 players in the Super High-end Market, but it’s killing everything below them.

  8. so they call this progress. how about another poll showing how many Jobs have been lost compared to those created by the new technology .
    As if we don’t have jobs we are unable to pay for these new technologies therefore Why?

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