Fast-Dying Industries

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Fast-Dying Industries

A century ago, before the automobile industry, the buggy whip industry was thriving.  Before refrigeration, ice delivery was a booming business.  Before personal computers, typewriters were a steadily selling product.  Before MapQuest and GPS devices, it seemed there would always be a demand for printed roadmaps.

History teaches us that with every improvement in technology, and with every leap forward for our standard of living, products that were once a stable source of revenues and profits will suddenly become obsolete.  With that in mind, let's look ahead and anticipate which industries are making today's versions of carbon paper and 8-track tape players.

According to projections from research firm IBISWorld reported in Forbes1 magazine, 10 industries in particular are in danger of becoming extinct:

Bowling alleys face a continued decline in business, with a drop in revenue of 5.3 percent expected between 2007 and 2012.  Traditional bowling alleys can't compete with the fast pace of computer games, and they don't appeal to young consumers with short attention spans.  Enrollment in bowling leagues is down, and the industry faces a challenge that is as daunting as picking up a 7-10 split:  trying to make bowling seem "cool" in a digital world.  The industry's best chance to survive is by upgrading old-fashioned bowling alleys into modern "entertainment centers" that include trendy restaurants and video game arcades.

Game arcades are not immune from creative destruction, either.  These businesses, which feature rows of video games, are expected to lose 9.7 percent of their revenues between 2007 and 2012.  The problem is that home-gaming systems have become increasingly sophisticated, allowing the core market of teenaged males to play games in their basements that are just as realistic and engaging as the ones found in arcades, but without having to feed a steady stream of tokens into coin slots. 

The recorded music industry is clearly threatened by the digital revolution, with sales expected to soften 9.4 percent by 2012.  Since 2003, when the iTunes music store opened, more than 2,700 record stores in the U.S. have closed.  Rolling Stone2 magazine reports that between 2000 and 2006, the number of albums that U.S. consumers purchased, which includes both CDs and digital albums downloaded from the Internet, dropped from 785 million to 588 million.  The top 10 best-selling albums in the U.S. in 2000 sold 60 million copies; in 2006, the top 10 sold just 25 million copies...

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