To launch a startup today, you need to know what consumers are going to want tomorrow.
While it's impossible to predict the future, there is ample evidence to help identify which sectors have the wind at their back in today's economy. As a part of Inc.'s annual look at the best industries for starting a business, we decided to highlight the niche sectors that are expected to see a significant jump in revenue in 2015.
The selections come from IBISWorld's exhaustive list of U.S. sectors, which looks at expected revenues for private companies in 2015 and beyond. Here are the five fastest-growing industries in the U.S., based on expected revenue growth this year.
5. Peer-to-peer lending platforms
2014 industry revenue: $500 million
Projected revenue growth (2014-15): 37.7 percent
Peer-to-peer lending businesses process loans from individual investors to consumers and small businesses through online platforms. Industry revenue has risen at an average annual rate of about 78 percent during the past five years and rose 99 percent between 2013 and 2014, according to IBISWorld. Small businesses and consumers are expected to continue pursuing loans from non-traditional sources as the prime interest rate increase.
4. Medical marijuana stores
2014 industry revenue: $2.58 billion
Projected revenue growth (2014-15): 38.4 percent
Medical marijuana stores are expected to see increased demand in the next few years due to the aging population and the growing acceptance of medical marijuana products as treatments for chronic illnesses. Part of the growth should come directly from the increasing popularity of edible products, which will help industry revenue reach $8.4 billion by 2019, according to IBISWorld. The number of businesses in the sector also is expected to rise nearly 20 percent per year during the next five years, bringing the total number of operators to more than 8,000.
3. Cider production
2014 industry revenue: $293 million
Projected revenue growth (2014-15): 38.8 percent
Although the cider production industry includes both companies that make alcoholic and non-alcoholic cider, rising demand for hard cider is driving the majority of growth in this sector. As consumer preferences shift away from light beer and toward craft brews and other alternative alcoholic beverages, cider production companies should see an uptick in revenue. IBISWorld predicts industry revenue will grow at an annualized rate of 14 percent during the next five years, reaching $560 million by 2019.
2. Telehealth services
2014 industry revenue: $585 million
Projected revenue growth (2014-15): 49.4 percent
The telehealth services industry refers to companies that use digital technology to deliver medical services and health education, primarily videoconference consultations, remote patient monitoring, and "store-and-forward" technologies that transmit digital images like X-rays, scans, and video clips. Technological advancements in medicine and telecommunications will drive growth in the sector, as will the rise of wearable self-monitoring devices. Finally, the Affordable Care Act and other legislation is expected to raise federal support for telehealth services, helping industry revenue grow to $3.1 billion by 2020.
1. Motion capture software developers
2014 industry revenue: $1.24 billion
Projected revenue growth (2014-15): 65.6 percent
The motion capture software developers industry comprises businesses that record and pull data from live-action performances to produce 3-D recreations. During the past five years, industry revenue has grown at an average annual rate of 53 percent to $1.2 billion, according to IBISWorld. Demand comes primarily from video game developers and the film, television, and live entertainment industries. As the technology becomes less expensive, revenue is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 43 percent, reaching $7.4 billion by 2019.