Smartphones, burgers and oil wells may be big moneymakers, but they can’t compete when it comes to speed of expansion. The fastest-growing industries in the U.S. actually involve 3-D printers, solar panels, self-tanning products,
studios and hot sauce.
So says a new report from research group IBISWorld, which measured industries based on their contributions to the economy, revenue growth and expected future performance.
In a season of rising gas prices, consumers and businesses are increasingly feeling the strain of dependence on fossil fuel. That's why, according to IBISWorld, so-called "green" industries are doing so well.
Solar panel makers such as
Solar panel sales are expected to grow 9.4% this year and then 8.2% each year in the future, according to IBISWorld.
Eco-friendly, sustainable construction companies are also on a tear, with annual revenue increases of 28.9% since 2002 and an 18.3% boost expected this year. Governments have begun implementing more building codes that mandate energy-efficient designs; building owners are finding that green certification earns their structures more acclaim.
The industry is expected to grow 22.8% a year going forward, eventually making nearly $287.8 billion in revenue by 2017.
Growing consumer concern over health has heralded the rise of self-tanning product makers and yoga and Pilates studios.
Worries about UV ray exposure and
Technological advances also played heavily on IBISWorld's list. The presence of more retailers online – many now armed with virtual dressing rooms and "try-on" systems – enhanced Web sales of eyeglasses and contacts 28.2% a year on average. Major players include Walgreen Co. and 1-800-Contacts.com.
Several other industries are also outpacing the general economy. But our personal favorite is really spicing things up. As international influences creep into American cooking, ethnic supermarkets expand into more neighborhoods and foodies scramble for ever-more exotic tastes, hot sauce sales are smoking. Revenue in 2012 is expected to come in at just under $1.1 billion – by 2017, it'll be $1.3 billion, according to IBISWorld.