There are excellent opportunities out there for entrepreneurs looking to start a business. During the past decade, the key trend creating the majority of these opportunities has been the shift toward providing services online, reports the research firm IBISWorld. As internet traffic has grown at an exponential rate and internet connection speeds have increased markedly, businesses from all sectors of the economy have shifted operations online to take advantage of this growth. In particular, opportunities for start-ups are most prevalent in retail and service industries.
IBISWorld has identified the following top industries with low barriers to entry and strong revenue growth that present prime opportunities for start-ups.
Social Network Game Development
There is high interest and demand in games and interactive apps for tables and smartphones. This makes social gaming one of the fastest growing sectors for startups. Consumers have increasingly been able to access their social networks anywhere, at any time.
Indeed, according to a report from research firm Nielsen, consumers spend 20.0% of their time on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn using personal computers and 30.0% of their time online visiting social networks via broadband-enabled mobile devices.
The social network game development industry has grown an astounding 184.3% per year on average during the past five years. Rising demand for social network-based games creates opportunities for potential startups. Additionally, widely available industry associations like the Entertainment Software Association can help new entrepreneurs by providing market research to develop products that are more highly in demand.
Vintage Goods and Online Shoe Sales
Every year, more than 100 million Americans purchase goods from the online retail marketplace, one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. Moreover, a survey by Nielsen indicates clothing, accessories and shoes are the second-largest category of items (after books) that consumers purchase online. With such rapidly increasing demand, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have an opportunity to enter the online realm and recapture sales taken by retailers that operate exclusively online.
Online sales of independent merchants — mostly via sites such as Etsy, eBay, RubyLane, and Supermarket — grew at an annual 6.6% over the past five years, according to IBISWorld. The Online Shoe Sales industry has benefited from the increasing trend of consumers purchasing goods and services online. Industry revenue has grown at a robust 16.2% five-year annualized rate to $8.9 billion in 2013.
Although new industry entrants face competition from well-established incumbents, this threat to success is partially mitigated by the industry’s fragmented nature; in 2013, the industry’s two-largest players, Amazon. com and Foot Locker, control less than 16.0% of the market.
Successful new entrants will need to differentiate themselves by providing a unique product line and implementing a strategy to attract traffic to their wesbite. As more traditional retailers migrate to the internet, IBISWorld anticipates that the number of industry participants will increase at an annualized rate of 4.0% during the next five years.
Technology offers great benefits for online travel agencies. This fast growing and demanding niche presents a great opportunity for anyone looking to start a business. IBISWorld estimates revenue grew at an average annual rate of 3.9% over the five years to 2013, with revenue expected to grow 6.1% to $20.7 billion in 2013 alone.
The era of storefront travel agencies is entering a long-term decline and is being replaced by online services, which offer a relatively high-profit, low-cost way to handle transactions. This segment of the industry has grown significantly and will likely continue to display strong growth during the next five years.
Major operators will continue to acquire global, regional and local websites to improve their revenue and profit and capture a larger share of this growing area. Furthermore, many firms will enter the industry, increasing demand for loans associated with data storage and labor requirements. From 2013 to 2018, industry revenue is forecast to increase at an annualized rate of 2.2% to $23.0 billion.
There is a growing demand for translating different documents for both business and pleasure. Advancements in tech are making it easier for people all over the world to connect with one another. The internet has been instrumental in increasing demand for translators because businesses expanding into new countries often require services to adapt websites and marketing materials to the new region.
According to AnythingResearch.com, the translation and interpretation services industry is a $2.7 billion market that has grown an average of 22 percent a year since 2004. The translation services industry has benefited from globalization and an increasing number of nonnative English speakers in the United States. The industry has grown as companies looked to cash in on an increasingly global marketplace.
The U.S. military and businesses expanding overseas are two of the translation and interpretation industry’s best customers. The healthcare industry is another area in need of language, due in part to the growing U.S. immigrant population. Many opportunities exist in the business-to-business space as well, which includes website translation and creation of multi-language marketing materials.
IT Security Consulting
Cyber criminals are going after businesses more than ever, with cyber attacks on small business and startups rising more than 40% in the past two years. Big companies such as Sony, Zappos and LinkedIn have been victims of cyber-attacks and have thrust IT security into the spotlight. This factor has contributed to industry growth over the past five years, including estimated revenue growth of 8.8% in 2013.
Operators in the IT Security Consulting industry have benefited from the increasing adoption of e-commerce, growth in mobile internet access and a number of high-profile data breaches. IBISWorld estimates that revenue for the IT Security Consulting industry increased at an annualized rate of 9.8% to $5.3 billion from 2008 to 2013.
Over the next five years, IBISWorld projects that private investment in computers and software will increase 6.7% per year on average as more services are conducted online. Business investment in computers and software, along with the continued adoption of mobile and broadband internet connections will also contribute to industry growth.