Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Decade's best and worst industries? VoIP and apparel manufacture

Market researcher IBISWorld crunched change in revenue over 10 years to pick its winners and losers.

Decade's best and worst industries? VoIP and apparel manufacture

It’s the most wonderful time of year for lists of the best and worst of everything.

My taste in trivia trends toward the corporate, rather than the cultural. Market researcher IBISWorld Wednesday picked the best and worst industries of the decade. The metric of choice was revenue change from 2000 to 2009.

Fast-growing revenues generally translate into expanding companies that are creating new jobs. You don’t have to do a Google search to know that the search engine sector was one of the best in the last 10 years. IBISWorld said revenues rose 1,656 percent over the decade.

But Internet search wasn’t No. 1. That honor belongs to Voice over Internet Protocol providers, a sector that didn’t even begin to generate revenue until 2002, said Los Angeles-based IBISWorld.

VoIP may be most-identified with Vonage, Skype and magicJack, which was started by former Philadelphia-area businessman Dan Borislow. The 179,036 percent growth the analysts calculated for VoIP looks like a typo.

Among the worst sectors was anything to do with making clothes. Revenues for the men’s and boys’ apparel manufacturing sector fell 89 percent over the past decade.

OK, you say, a lot of good it does to look backward. Well, IBISWorld did crawl out on a limb to project the best and worst industries for 2010-2019. Again, VoIP tops the best-performing list, as analysts see the sector cannibalizing sales from the phone companies.

Four other growth sectors were: retirement and pension plans (up 134 percent); biotechnology (up 128 percent); e-commerce and online auctions (up 125 percent); and environmental consulting (up 120 percent).

The good news for the Philadelphia region is that it has big players in many of those areas, including Vanguard Group in Malvern, Weston Solutions in West Chester, and Centocor Ortho Biotech in Horsham.

IBISWorld expects wireline telecom carriers to see the biggest decline over the next decade - 52 percent - followed by tank and armored vehicle manufacturers, which boomed during 2000-09.

Three other industries destined to shrink are: vacuum, fan and small household appliance manufacturing (down 34 percent); DVD, game and video rental (down 33 percent); and photofinishing (down 32 percent).

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
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