The Evolution of Commerce - What Industries are Dying, What's Thriving?

Submitted by xtramelanin on April 20th, 2018 at 10:25 PM


It has been on my mind recently that we live in a time of change as it relates to many things, not the least of which is commerce.  I see some industries that we all know are dying (see e.g.,  video stores and malls in general) and of course some that are now taking the front and center stage (see e.g.,  Internet shopping ala Amazon).  

Among some of the other dying trades would be things like newspapers, bookstores, 1 hour photo (do those even exist any more?) and maybe things like phone booth manufacturers.   

As to thriving industries, those might include all manner of elder care businesses, microbreweries and distilleries (I can hear a loud cheer from the mgoglitteratti), and surprisingly some of the agricultural/farming niche industries.  

So for you Mgovisionaries, the question is really a two-part one:  What industries do you see that will either die althogether or shrink considerably?  Similarly, what are the up and coming growth industries?   

Lets hear from all you uber-smart folks on the list.  



Santa Clause

April 20th, 2018 at 10:29 PM ^

Retail (brick and mortar) stores are all dying from the same disease (Amazon as op previously stated). I see Virtual Reality technology as the future of entertainment and I can't wait to see what innovations are made in that field.


April 20th, 2018 at 11:21 PM ^

but you may be on to something... an escape room is basically where a group of people gets locked in a room full of clues, puzzles, keys, etc. that you have to use to escape before time runs out (usually an hour). It's pretty much a bunch of brain puzzles with the "threat" of being locked in the room forever


April 21st, 2018 at 12:22 AM ^

I did an excape room on my birthday where we had to leave before a "volcano" erupted. I went with some smart people, and had a lot of fun figuring out the clues and brain teasers in order to get the door code to leave. Ours was an hour and we made it out in just over 50 minutes. I was a lot of fun, but it was relativly expensive. Was good for a special occasion and for the novility of the night.


April 21st, 2018 at 5:07 AM ^

That you list the group experience thing. In a day and age when people have their face buried in their phones and wearing earbuds everywhere they go it seems peolple are just getting way less sociable. It has become all to common these days to see families and young couples having dinner and everyone has those damn phones at the end of their noses. Not trying to be critical or anything but just found it interesting. As a society in whole I think we are becoming less sociable thanks to smartphones, Facebook, the Twitter, Instagram etc...


April 21st, 2018 at 7:37 AM ^

I'll agree with this.  I mean, I even look at my phone every now and then in a restaraunt.  And it drives me nuts when people do it!  I'm one of the old school guys that still believes its incredibly rude to answer your phone at the table - in home, or in a public eatery.


April 21st, 2018 at 7:38 AM ^

Might be wishful thinking but I think there's a growing population of the younger generations who recognize the trade off of being over-connected and are scrapping the iphone and android for dumb phones again. I've thought about it many times, and one day I'll probably bite the bullet and do it.


April 21st, 2018 at 8:56 AM ^

Regarding brick and mortar businesses, and the place of Amazon taking all of their business, there is a major shift, but the elimination of brick and mortar becomes problematic. The challenge is that many people WANT to shop on Amazon, but the same people WANT the ability to browse, and the warmth and community of downtown shops. When virtually all brick and mortar establishments (short of restaurants and bars) are eliminated, there is something lost.

Since we all know and love Michigan, think what would happen if the M-Den and Moe's and Van Boven's were gone. If every used bookstore and art store and jeweler and school supply was eliminated, if there were no longer any shops in Nickels Arcade. I guess it would be fine if they all became just another variation on Starbucks or McDonalds or some Asian Mexican German fusion cuisine, or some high end beauty salon. But I'm not sure about thtat.

When the only stores left to buy merchandise are Walmart, Meijers, and Target, and every former store becomes a place to buy food or drink, it will have shifted too far.

I have heard that in Manhattan on Broadway, tons and tons of former stores have been shuttered. Supposedly the rents are too high. Still, when the only places open any more are live theatre along with places to eat, part of the ambiance is simply destroyed and there is a void.

It is partially the need and sense for community. This extends to many things. There is a place for the internet, there is a place for media, but when all college classes are done online, when all sports events are consumed and watched in the comfort of your own home, something is lost. I don't know what the future will look like. But when we only become private spectators, cut off from real human interaction, the pendulum will begin to swing back the other direction.


April 21st, 2018 at 10:15 AM ^

start-up about process and scaling up in size.

He went off on a tangent about the number of jobs that could/will be replaced by robots in the near future. It was a lot. Robotics is a growth area no doubt.

They have a term for the actual people that are currently doing those jobs: meat robots



April 21st, 2018 at 2:03 AM ^

When I get really old in about 30 years, I will have my robo helper who will take care of me. The central computer, about the size of a smartpone will run all your robots. From your computerized car, to your robo helper, to the robot that will clean your house. In 30 years us 80 year olds will have it much easier than our grandparents and parents. Your robo helper will also monitor your body functions and take you directly to the hospital where your robo surgeon will clear your blocked artery or repair your aneurysm. Micro-bots will be injected into your blood stream and be on the look out for cancer cells and may clear plaque from your arteries. It will be a different world in 20 to 30 years when AI takes over almost everything.


April 21st, 2018 at 7:46 AM ^

I dare say that MLive died with the first comments ever made on its boards as they undoubtedly predicted a time when the discussion section on every article would turn into a pissing match that would make even the most bitter, unrelenting Facebook troll cringe. 

To your statement though, it does seem like we are at a point where places that were once bastions of at least occasionally interesting discussion can rarely achieve that anymore, mostly because of people who prefer to pontificate on their bad take on some issue.


April 21st, 2018 at 7:50 AM ^

Because they were not moderated, and were based on individual news articles, rather then user framed constructs like MGoBlog.  There is no ability for pics or links, just commentary from internet randos - most of whom just want to fight about something.  They weren't fun places to hang with people that think alike.

Sites like MGoBlog, and yes, even RCMB, thrive because its all centered on one topic, and people generally rally around that one topic (however disgusting and immoral the topic may be - looking at you, RCMB).

I think places like these, that center on one topic, will continue to thrive.


April 20th, 2018 at 10:50 PM ^

Security, both physical and cyber, is definitely a growth industry.  You can make the argument that it's not a good thing... but it's true.