Big business is always looking for new opportunities, but now that the economy is starting to recover, how are they going to differentiate themselves from the competition? There are many economic sectors around the world doing very well. But let’s face it: most businesses have their eyes on one particular market. Top 20 Business Opportunities in Urban Areas (Monthly Earn 5000$)
We’ve met with business leaders across various sectors and analyzed data from industry reports and the OECD to determine the business opportunities that should be top of mind for entrepreneurs looking to expand into new markets.
All cities are starting to show signs of recovery, but some seem to be better than others at attracting investors and other sources of finance.
Top 20 business ideas in urban areas
The restaurant market in the UK alone was worth £21.7bn in 2011, spanning everything from high-end establishments with several Michelin stars to small delicatessens and cafés.
Café culture is thriving across North America too, while Asia’s love for dining out means demand for restaurants remains strong. Operators are increasingly adopting healthier business models too, promoting the provenance of their products and sourcing locally.
2) Outdoor advertising
Most cities in the US now offer outdoor advertising opportunities on street furniture like bus shelters, kiosks, and even ash urns.
This form of advertising has been around for a while but it is gaining new momentum on the back of progress in digital screens.
3) Business process outsourcing
With ever more companies now looking to outsource their non-core activities, the business process outsourcing market is well placed to benefit from this trend.
The sector’s revenue totaled £1bn in 2012 according to research firm IDC. It has grown across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa by over 100% since 2006, while its share of the global market is expected to rise 50% to $10bn.
4) Taxi services
The taxi industry in most major cities grew out of a need for communal transport. But with traditional operators facing increasing competition from operators such as Uber and Hailo, its future is far from certain.
The market in Europe alone was worth $15bn in 2012 according to industry research firm IBISWorld, having grown at a steady pace over the past five years. However, this figure does not fully reflect the impact that smartphone technology has had on this sector, which has changed the way that people book taxis.
5) Shared services
Shared services emerged as a response to the triple threat of high costs, increasing regulation, and falling productivity.
To address these issues, companies are now moving their back-office functions out of their home country in search of lower-cost locations. This is creating new opportunities for shared services centers, which handle everything from IT and finance to HR and customer service.
The sector was worth $67bn in 2012 and this figure is expected to grow by more than 13% a year until 2017, according to industry research firm ABI Research.
6) Shared workspaces
In 2012, co-working spaces were estimated to cater to over 100,000 people across the globe.
WeWork has emerged as one of the most visible examples of this growing trend, having raised $37m in investment since it was founded in 2010.
7) Health and fitness
The health-conscious lifestyle is well established in North America, with operators like 24 Hour Fitness and Gold’s Gym operating in the region for many years.
They are now expanding their reach further afield, drawn by growing demand for their high-end facilities in major cities around the world.
The health club market is worth $43bn globally according to IBISWorld, having grown at a compound annual rate of 3.8% since 2007. However, this figure does not fully reflect the growing impact that digital technology is having on the health and fitness industry, which is enabling operators to serve a wider base of potential customers.
8) Security services
The security services market in Europe was worth $19bn in 2012 according to research firm IBISWorld, having grown at a compound annual rate of 2.3% since 2007.
But with security concerns on the rise in many countries, this market is likely to grow further over the long term.
9) Liquor store services
By improving the customer experience, supermarkets have successfully disrupted this market over the past decade.
However, this is not just about offering customers a wider range of products at lower prices. The grocery market is also increasingly becoming an important part of people’s social lives by providing them with a place to go during their downtime.
The US grocery market is worth $628bn and it has grown at a compound annual rate of 2.8% since 2007, according to research firm IBISWorld. Although this figure does not reflect the growing impact that digital technology is having on this industry, which is changing the way people shop for groceries.
10) Online dating services
The internet has created new opportunities across a range of industries, from selling music to finding love.
One industry that has been transformed by the internet is online dating, which was worth an estimated $2bn globally in 2012 according to research firm IBISWorld.
However, this figure does not fully reflect the growing role that smartphone technology is having in this market, which is enabling people to find potential partners on the move.
11) Personal services
As growing numbers of consumers start to embrace wearable technology, it’s likely that many will turn these devices into mobile wallets that enable them to purchase products and services by clicking or tapping on their smartphone or smartwatch.
This trend has the potential to disrupt the personal services market, which was worth $2tn globally in 2012 according to industry research firm IBISWorld.
Two of the main beneficiaries are likely to be dry cleaners and shoe repair shops, both of which offer services that can easily be purchased on a person’s mobile device.
Many brick-and-mortar retailers are increasingly turning to e-commerce in an effort to compete with the likes of Amazon.com.
One of the main benefits is that this enables retailers to offer a wider range of products while reducing costs by removing the need for expensive stores.
Another key benefit is that it makes it easier for retailers to target customers all over the world.
According to research firm IBISWorld, e-commerce is worth $1.3tn globally.
This figure does not reflect the growing impact that mobile technology is having on this market, which is enabling people to purchase products and services by clicking or tapping on their smartphone or smartwatch.
13) On-demand services
As well as enabling retailers to reach a wider base of customers, the internet has also provided a platform for new types of service providers – known as on-demand companies – to emerge.
Examples include taxi booking apps such as Uber and Hassle.com, which make it much easier for people to find a taxi when they need it.
According to research firm IBISWorld, on-demand services are worth $100bn globally in 2013 and this figure is expected to grow at 13.3% per year over the next five years.
Although the growing role that mobile technology is having in this market is not captured in this figure, it is creating opportunities to disrupt many other sectors.
One example is food and grocery delivery services such as Instacart and Seamless, which are also enjoying strong growth thanks to increasing numbers of consumers using their mobile devices to order food.
14) Personal loans
The rise of peer-to-peer lending sites, such as Lending Club and Funding Circle, is changing the way people borrow money.
These providers enable people to effectively become their own banks by passing on what would otherwise be the banks’ loans without the need for expensive loan officers.
According to IBISWorld, peer-to-peer lending sites are worth $3bn globally in 2013.
This figure does not reflect the growing impact that mobile technology is having on this sector, which is enabling people to apply for loans directly from their smartphones.
15) Travel agencies
Thanks in part to the rise of easy-to-use flight comparison apps, such as Kayak and Skyscanner, the value of the global travel agency market is expected to decline by an annualized 3.9% over the next five years, according to IBISWorld.
However, this sector also provides a platform for new entrants that are increasingly using mobile technology to offer a wider range of services.
This has been helped by Google and Apple rolling out more comprehensive travel apps that enable people to book hotels, flights, and rental cars whenever they need them.
For example, Google recently launched its Trips app for Android devices with information about where to eat, drink and visit when on holiday.
16) Online dating
Online dating sites are offering new opportunities to disrupt many traditional industries, from retail to media.
According to IBISWorld, the value of the online dating market was US$2.1bn in 2012 and is growing at an annualized 2.5%. This figure does not reflect the full extent of mobile’s impact on this industry because many dating apps are accessed via a website rather than directly from the user’s phone – although this is changing.
17) Digital news media
Thanks in part to the growing role that social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, are playing in delivering news content to people, advertisers are increasingly moving away from traditional print newspapers to online platforms.
According to research firm eMarketer, global digital advertising revenue is set to grow from $88.1bn in 2013 to $118.6bn in 2018, a rise of 33%.
At the same time, traditional newspaper publishing companies are seeing their print advertising revenues decline. Research firm Pew found that US newspapers generated only 8% of total print and digital advertising revenue last year – down from 45% in 2003.
This means there are opportunities to boost the earnings of news companies by developing new business models, such as paywalled publications and mobile-only news apps – although this must be done in a way that is not detrimental to user experience.
Many established banks have yet to fully embrace the mobile revolution, but there are exceptions.
American Express, for example, recently rebranded its Amex US mobile app as Serve to reflect the fact that it has moved beyond just credit cards and is now focused on making mobile payments simple.
According to market research firm Berg Insight, global mobile banking transactions will increase from 460 million in 2012 to more than 1.9 billion by 2017, a rise of nearly 180%. Berg said this growth will be driven by the increased use of smartphones and tablets to manage cash flow and make secure payments.
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19) Software as a service (SaaS)
Mobile is being used to drive the global adoption of SaaS delivery models, according to IBISWorld.
It says this is being driven by the need to simplify business operations and increase productivity, as well as a desire from users for more flexible access to applications.
In fact, the firm expects revenue from SaaS sales worldwide to grow at an annualized 4.4% over the next five years – which makes it one of the faster-growing internet services categories.
IBISWorld points out that companies such as Salesforce, Workday, and Box have already seen their customer numbers rise significantly as a result of this trend.
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20) IT and computer services
The global mobile devices market is set to rise by almost 40% in the next five years, according to research firm IDC – but this will not affect all companies equally.
It says most of this growth will come from demand for smartphones and tablets rather than more basic mobiles.
This changing landscape is having an impact on IT services companies, too.
According to IBISWorld, demand for computer hardware is being driven by the use of mobile devices as entertainment and productivity tools rather than more basic phones. In particular, Apple’s popular iPhones and iPads were behind a more than 20% increase in revenue from hardware manufacturing between 2010 and 2013, says the firm.
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