A new report from industry research firm IBISWorld has identified eight industries that are seeing high growth and have ample opportunity for new players. Some might seem fairly intuitive, but others are low-glamour industries that don’t get a lot of ink.
What’s the hottest niche for 2013? Look up from playing FarmVille on Facebook for a minute, I’m talking to you!
Oh yes — it’s social games.
The sector saw explosive growth of over 180 percent over the past five years. The spread of mobile devices and Internet usage means more users for games every day. And a recent Nielsen survey found mobile-device users spend 30 percent of their time on social networks.
Get yourself a smart coder and Internet access, and you could cook up the next Words With Friends. Zynga has its own troubles these days, and there’s room for anyone with a fresh game that gets people hooked. And research from the Entertainment Software Association can help you spot trends and figure out what type of game to build.
The second hot niche IBIS identified is less in the spotlight, but in increasing demand. It used to be dealmakers got in a room together to look over sensitive business proposals. Now, that happens online in virtual data rooms. As companies create increasingly far-flung teams and commerce becomes more global, demand for secure ways to exchange information will only rise.
The virtual data room industry leaders are IntraLinks, Merrill Corp., and RR Donnelly, but it’s still a fragmented sector. Plus, demand is expected to rise as the economy improves and more business deals get done.
In third place is something I never thought I’d say was a hot niche: Online shoe sales. Liberal return policies and online-fit tools have overcome consumers’ initial reticence to buy footwear online, and now sales are growing more than 16 percent a year on average.
From all the media coverage they get, you might think Zappos is selling every shoe on the Internet. But IBISWorld reports Amazon (which owns Zappos) and Foot Locker are the industry leaders — and the two companies only capture 16 percent of online shoe sales between them.