Launching a new business hinges on a lot to be successful, not least industry and timing. If you're considering pursuing your entrepreneurial dream, you need to consider the state of the industry you're preparing to enter. More established industries experiencing disruptive technological advancements could be ripe for the picking, or fledgling industries with big growth prospects can offer a lot of opportunities for you to get in on the ground floor.
Whether you're looking to revitalize old ideas or build something new, there are plenty of opportunities to enter industries with exciting futures. We looked at some of the most promising industries with impressive growth prospects. Here are five fast-growing markets to consider.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more seamlessly incorporated into our lives every day. AI includes diverse applications such as virtual assistants (Cortana, Siri or Alexa), automated customer service representatives on live chat, and algorithms that analyze massive stores of data to deliver recommendations and real-time alerts.
While it can be difficult to pin down everything that the AI industry encompasses, and projections differ depending on the source and its definition of AI, there's no doubt the industry is poised for explosive growth. Forrester Research estimates the AI industry – which it defines as "cognitive computing technologies" – will grow to $1.2 trillion by 2020 with a global GDP annual growth estimate of 3.5 percent, while other sources' more conservative predictions estimate the market will reach $70 billion within the same timeframe.
Mixed reality is an industry growing largely on the backs of both entertainment and business applications. For businesses, mixed reality offers benefits like the ability to more efficiently conduct a meeting with remote participants, train workers in immersive and hands-on environments without risking assets, and turn employees into mobile data gatherers on factory and plant floors. For these reasons, the mixed reality market is projected to hit $6.9 billion by 2024, according to SuperData.
Deloitte LLP's internal analysis released in April 2017 stated that 52 of the Fortune 500 companies were testing or had deployed AR/VR products and solutions, and those numbers have only increased since then. Lindsey Vontz, content marketing manager for graphic design crowdsourcing platform 99designs, said mixed reality projects are among the fastest-growing categories on the platform in recent years.
3D printing, a major pillar of additive manufacturing, is making huge inroads into the manufacturing industry, which is undergoing a widespread modernization effort known as Industry 4.0. With the right technical skills and equipment, just about anything can be 3D printed, from auto parts to kitchenware. One of the most famous examples of additive manufacturing is the 3D-printed fuel nozzles in use on GE's LEAP jet engine.
Because of the promise of lowered costs and greater efficiency in fabrication and manufacturing, especially as the technology evolves, the industry has been growing steadily in recent years. The research group MarketsandMarkets expects the 3D printing industry to grow to $32.78 billion by 2023. If you have ideas for combining 3D printing with green building practices, an industry which is projected to grow at a rate of 23 percent annually, you've really hit the jackpot.
Mobile food businesses
America has officially become the foodie capital of the world – the more interesting and offbeat the food is, the better. With independent and alternative food shops, online subscription services, pop-up shops, street vendors, and food trucks increasing in popularity, the opportunities to break into this industry seem endless.
Street vendors and food trucks in particular have a projected revenue growth of 3.7 percent over the next three years, which will bring the industry total to $1.7 billion. IBISWorld cites that the increase in the demand for street vendor reflects consumers' desire for more unique, gourmet food trucks – which have been popular in coastal and trendy cities for several years – but predicts the industry's second-tier markets will also experience a sharp uptick over the next couple of years.
Educational software and online learning
America's education system is at a crossroads. Teachers and educators are tasked with preparing students for both standardized testing and for life beyond the classroom, and this is paving the way for educational software and online education businesses to reinvent the industry.
Don't see it? Just think, the early education and pre-kindergarten market, which was nonexistent in 2010, grew to more than $14 million in just two years. The global online education industry is projected to increase annually by over 20 percent, with in-demand courses including academics, languages, and professional business and marketing certifications.
Additional reporting by Adam C. Uzialko.