Popular Industries That Did Not Exist Two Decades Ago

Part of the fun of investing is the potential for discovering something new. Often, though, when new investors think of “discovering something new” they only focus on advancements within industries (and jobs) that already exist. For example, perhaps you found an extremely innovative company in an existing industry — which could prove to be a great investment opportunity. Of course, it would be wise to take advantage of such an opportunity, however, is focusing on singular companies in existing industries thinking too small? Some experts would argue that it is. In fact, some investors believe that the best way to experience significant growth in your portfolio is to focus on jobs and industries that might not fully exist yet, but likely will soon. Amazingly, because of the rapid pace of technological advancements, this might be entirely possible within a shorter period than most seem to expect. To illustrate this, here are a few popular jobs and industries that did not exist twenty years ago, but have proven to be substantial investment opportunities since that time. Further, these have been so integrated into our daily lives that it might be difficult to imagine society without them:

Social Media and Social Media Experts:

In the past fifteen years, social media and the social media market has exploded onto the scene, as well as into our everyday lives. It has created a new way of interacting with others but has also provided a new avenue for businesses and brands to reach fresh customers. Likewise, it has led to the foundation of massive internet companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Snapchat — just to name a few. While on the surface, these companies seem to provide products and services that are simply fun tools for people to use on their mobile devices, in reality, they are data-driven powerhouses that have proven to be some of the greatest investment opportunities over the past decade. For example, Facebook’s stock was trading for $38.23 on May 14, 2012, but hit an incredible high of nearly $200 per share in early 2018 — just about 20 years after modern social media was invented.

Internet of Things:

The term “internet of things” refers to an expanding network of tangible objects that are capable of collecting/sharing data through electronic information systems or the internet. Currently, there are many varieties of smart devices that individuals use every day without thinking twice about it. For example, as of 2017, it was reported that 77% of adults in the United States use a smartphone and 58.7% of households have at least one internet-connected television. That said, internet of things can apply to many different types of objects, not just those used for communication and entertainment. For instance, “smart boards” have replaced conventional chalkboards in many school classrooms. Ultimately, the goal of internet of things is to increase efficiency and effectiveness of products through technology that does not always rely on human intervention. This relatively new industry is certainly booming and might continue to provide fantastic investment opportunities for many years to come.

Modern Cloud Computing:

Admittedly, there is some controversy surrounding the recognition of the exact time at which cloud computing was invented. However, most professionals seem to agree that the birth of the term was in 2006 when huge companies like Google and Amazon started using it. Moreover, this term was used to describe the new way by which people could increase access to software, data, files, and computer power over the internet rather than just through what was saved on their desktops. Since cloud computing has the potential to provide both businesses and consumers with so much data access and storage capacity, it is no wonder that big name companies like Microsoft Corporation, Amazon.com, and Alphabet Inc. had led the charge. Similarly, stock in these companies have become considerably more valuable. On May 1, 2013, Amazon (AMZN) was trading for $269.20 per share and in Q2 of 2018 broke $1,500. Moreover, these are not the only companies utilizing cloud computing, with a little due diligence, it is possible for you to find others that might prove to be great investment opportunities too.

By and large, these examples only scratch the surface regarding the amount of new industries (and jobs) that have developed over the past two decades. That said, they provide examples of investment opportunities that existed (and still exist) for those investors that were willing to “step into the unknown” back when the ideas were first being developed. Fortunately, the rate of technological advancement and innovation is showing no signs of slowing down. Therefore, there are almost certainly opportunities in the beginning stages, now, that might prove to be incredible investments down the road. As an investor, it is up to you to find those opportunities and use them to your advantage as best as you can!