United States / Analyst Insights
Top 10 Dying Industries in North America in 2018
by Jack Curran, Industry Analyst
Jun 19 2018

While the US economy has been in a prolonged growth period, not all industries have benefited from this growth. Whether due to changing consumer preferences or technological advances, some industries have faded over the past five years. See an analysis below of five dying industries in the US and a companion snapshot of declining industries in Canada that are expected to experience significant losses in establishments over the next five years.

Top 5 Dying Industries

Sign and Banner Manufacturing Franchises in the US

The Sign and Banner Manufacturing Franchise industry comprises franchises that primarily produce signs, billboards and traffic signs for advertising and traffic control. Demand for signs and billboards has not declined over the past five years, but these products are not being produced by franchises. Instead, many franchises in this industry have invested in digital printing and shifted their attention to high-demand, low-cost markets. Franchises have little advantage when it comes to sign and billboard manufacturing, so companies have not been motivated to stay in the industry. In 2018, only 31 establishments are expected to remain in the industry, a steady drop from 64 in 2013. By contrast, the Billboard and Sign Manufacturing industry (33995), which includes nonfranchise companies, is expected to have the number of establishments grow at an annualized rate of 2.4% to 32,781 over the five years to 2018.

DVD, Game and Video Rental in the US

One of the most notorious declining industries in the United States, the DVD, Game and Video Rental industry has been losing establishments for over a decade. Since video streaming services emerged, video rental stores have been closing their doors. In 2018, 2,705 establishments are expected to remain in this industry. While this number is expected to fall by nearly 50.0% over the next five years, some establishments have surprisingly held on. Video rental establishments have been able to remain in the industry mainly through Redbox and other video rental kiosks. Additionally, video rental stores have been able to stay in business in areas with poor internet connection. For example, former major player Blockbuster still has 51 franchise locations, 13 of which are based in Alaska. Over the next five years, video rental establishments are likely to continue closing, leading to the eventual death of the industry.

Record Stores in the US

Another victim of the increasing use of the internet has been the Record Stores industry. This industry includes stores that primarily sell prerecorded records, CDs, cassette tapes or any other recordings. Record stores began rapidly leaving the industry during the mid-to-late 2000s as more people began buying and streaming music online. The industry experienced a brief respite from this trend in 2013, when records experienced a sudden surge in popularity. Consumers began seeking out vintage records, and, in response, independent record stores began opening in urban and trendy areas. However, while some consumers have continued to favor traditional records, this fad is starting to pass, resulting in an expected decline in the number of establishments over the next five years. Over the five years to 2023, the number of record stores in the United States is expected to decline an annualized 8.7% to only 1,220.

Declining Industries Chart

Data Recovery Services in the US

As technology has rapidly changed over the last few decades, technology-based industries have come and gone. A prime example, the Data Recovery Services industry, has quickly entered its twilight. Companies in this industry salvage data from corrupted, broken and damaged computers and storage. However, as people have become more comfortable with computers, data-backing awareness has inundated the public sphere. Additionally, cloud computing has made this industry nearly obsolete, as backing up data has become incredibly easy and low-cost for individuals and businesses. This industry reached a peak in 2007 with 1,260 companies, but in 2018, only 262 of those companies are expected to remain. This decline is expected to accelerate over the next five years with the number of establishments projected to fall an annualized 7.5%.

Wired Telecommunications Carriers in the US

The Wired Telecommunications Carriers industry has long been on the decline. Since the emergence of cell phones, consumers have slowly been moving away from landlines. However, this move has accelerated over the past five years as telecommunications companies have shifted their focus toward cell phones and smart phones. The largest companies in this industry, including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., are also wireless and internet providers, so these companies have had other nonindustry-relevant services to focus on. While companies have tried to emphasize wired service by offering bundled packages, demand for wired service is still expected to continue falling. As a result, over the next five years, the number of establishments in this industry is expected to fall an annualized 6.1%.

Canada’s Top 5 Dying Industries in 2018

Get a quick snapshot of what’s trending north of the border in our infographic below.