Industry Life Cycles Often Affect Individual Companies

How much do industry life cycles affect firms in those industries? Sometimes, the answer is a lot.

Consider these remarks from , Contributing Writer,

“Every industry goes through a life cycle that begins at the startup phase — that is, when the industry first comes into existence. Obviously, some industries’ startup phase was decades or even centuries ago, such as homebuilding or restaurants. However, even within those types of industries, there are special niches that can continually come into existence — think of them as sub-industries. For example, while homebuilding as a business has been around for centuries, environmentally friendly homebuilding using reclaimed or recycled materials and solar energy is a relatively new niche within that industry.”

“Next can come a phase of rapid growth. Inspired by the success of industry pioneers, other entrepreneurs may follow suit and launch companies in that field. Eventually, the industry reaches maturity. It may not be brand new and exciting anymore, but it can also offer stability and a good chance for business success.”

According to Lesonsky, there are three types of industry decline:

Rapid Decline. “Often this is precipitated by some drastic event, or combination of events — such as the way the travel industry, and in particular travel agencies, declined after 9/11. At the same time, the growth of online travel search and booking sites helped those who needed to travel to book their own plans without an agent.”

Slow Decline. “Slow declines can be the most common type of industry transformation. They can occur for many reasons, including a change in target market demographics or attitudes, new inventions or technology, or dwindling resources that the industry needs. Print publishing is an industry in slow decline: Although print magazines and newspapers still exist, online publishing, which costs less and is more accessible, has made print less profitable.”

Reinvention. “Sometimes an industry starts to decline, then reinvents itself, leading to a new lease on life — and new opportunities for profits. TV broadcasting is reinventing itself after a slow decline due to the popularity of online video and streaming services. Traditional broadcast networks are joining the game by offering at least some of their content to these services.”

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