With the changes that the 21st century has introduced, it’s important to recognize how cultural shifts are changing the ways investors, business owners, and entrepreneurs are approaching business. Everything from social attitudes to technology has an impact on this shift.
For example, calls to prioritize sustainability have affected consumer behavior more than ever before. Likewise, advancements with technology have disrupted several different industries, causing some to boom and others to falter. Many people now prefer shopping online to brick-and-mortar stores, a change that created new opportunities in many industries and niches.
Not only do these changes tell you what people value and believe, but they can also indicate what types of entrepreneurial opportunities may be the most lucrative. Looking at job growth and revenue growth, here are the six fastest-growing industries in the United States.
Many people consider their pets to be a part of their family, which has led to massive increases in the amount of money spent on food, toys, and accessories for animals. In fact, spending on pets is expected to increase to a staggering $281 billion in North America by 2023 and similar growth is expected in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Consumers are prepared to spend more on premium food products for their pets and brands are updating their offerings to adapt to this change in consumer behavior.
How, then, are we seeing cultural shifts affect the pet industry? For one, Mars, the creator of Whiskas cat products, is touting healthier ingredients in their products, while the pet retailer Petco is moving to ban artificial ingredients in the dog and cat food on their shelves. These changes tell us that consumers’ interest in health-consciousness is extending to how they care for their furry friends.
Both commercial and residential real estate has been a steadily growing industry over the last several years, and this trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Real estate technology has also grown as an industry. The term “PropTech” (a mash-up of the words “property” and “technology”) refers to using technology to provide solutions specific to the real estate industry. For example, 360-degree video (viewable through virtual goggles) lets potential home buyers take 3D virtual property tours on their mobile phones. This simply reflects the technologically advanced times we are living in.
“Athleisure” continues to appeal to more individuals who want to be comfortable and stylish. The niche’s growth is compounded by a growing shift toward more casual workplace attire. The global athleisure market was valued at $300 billion in 2018 alone, being powered largely by health-conscious millennial consumers. Experts believe this niche will continue to grow as people explore new avenues of this market, such as work leisure apparel.
High fashion brands such as Stella McCartney and Rebecca Minkoff, celebrities like Rihanna and Beyoncé, and even fast fashion brands like H&M have all developed their own lines of athleisure apparel, showing the significant demand and price range available. This rapid growth of the industry has led to an increased demand for other products and services, such as reliable apparel inventory management software, different warehousing and storage solutions, and new shipping options.
Medical & Healthcare Services
There continues to be an increase in spending on healthcare and its associated services, and an increase in jobs available in the sector as well. In fact, healthcare is one of the country’s fastest-growing sectors, with jobs predicted to increase by 14% between 2018 and 2028, adding 1.9 million new jobs.
Emerging technologies like nanomedicine and AI are shaping the future of the healthcare industry and exemplify the groundbreaking discoveries of the 21st century. They’re helping find ways to harness the consumer demand for the healthcare technology and build innovative models of care.
Marijuana & CBD Products
Marijuana, CBD, and hemp products have been on the national stage for years, and will continue to be as more states begin to decriminalize and legalize these products for medical and recreational use. The CBD industry, in particular, may grow to be worth $20 billion by 2024 due to cannabidiol being included in everything from cosmetics and skincare products to pet treats and pharmaceuticals.
Though most sales are currently in dispensaries, general retail outlets are beginning to carry CBD products. The success of this marketplace depends on reliable testing, labeling, and consumer education on the difference between THC and CBD.
As more people have greater concerns about climate change, there are even more opportunities for the renewable energy industry to grow. In 2019, U.S. monthly electricity generation from renewable sources exceeded coal-fired generation for the first time, indicating a bright future for this industry.
Even traditional renewable energy like hydroelectric power is being rapidly outpaced by new advances in harnessing solar and wind energy. Decreasing costs in lithium-ion battery storage for these power sources combined with decreasing costs of solar panel production has led to a 6% uptick in residential and commercial usage, though industrial usage is not increasing with as much speed.