What are the World's Biggest Emerging Industries?

If you’re the owner of a business that’s looking to expand into new areas, there are a wide number of emerging industries each offering you potential new avenues for your company.

Naturally, not all of these industries will be something you can work with, but there may still be other opportunities for you to try and capitalise on or perhaps partner with.

Equally, if you’re a small business owner or are looking at creating your own start-up, you may well find yourself getting involved or becoming part of some of these ever-growing sectors. So what exactly falls into the category of an ‘emerging industry’ and what’s the situation like for these both in the UK and abroad? Here, we take a closer look.

What is covered in ‘emerging industries’?

The definition of ‘emerging industries’ according to emergingindustries.eu – a service contract for the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General of the European Commission – is as follows:

‘Emerging industries can be defined as the establishment of an entirely new industrial value chain, or the radical reconfiguration of an existing one, driven by a disruptive idea (or convergence of ideas), leading to turning these ideas/opportunities into new products/services with higher added value.’

In other words, these are the upcoming companies and businesses within new or revitalised sectors that subsequently become successful or highly sought-after. Within the UK, and indeed across the European continent, there have been many examples of such new and exciting ventures that have proved so far to be quite popular.

Specific Examples

Just a few examples of the biggest emerging industries include:


To the uninitiated a ‘drone’ aircraft might be something which you have only heard about in the news for use in military operations. While there are drones used by the armies of the world, the commercial reality is a drone is simply an unmanned aircraft that can be remote control operated.

The use, and technologies used, within these drones is rapidly growing and improving as the months go on. They can come in a number of shapes and sizes and – for the moment – you don’t need a licence to fly them, although there are a number of rules to follow. Their versatility is perhaps another reason why they’re so widely used, as they can be used for a number of purposes from filming and recording footage, to transporting goods.

It is the latter of these points according to a report in AV Magazine which experts predict will see their rise become even more substantial. The piece quotes the UK Drone Show project manager Oliver O’Brien who suggests that: ‘We predict the use of commercial drone technology is going to continue to increase throughout 2016, especially with DJI, the world’s largest consumer drone manufacturer, reportedly being valued at $10 billion’.

3D Printing

A hugely popular worldwide industry which is relatively still in its infancy, is the 3D printing sector. These clever machines are now being used to create everything from car parts, to medical implants and other working machines.

What makes them so impressive and popular is how fast, efficient and easy to use they are which ultimately means they’re much more cost-effective. So much so that forecasters in this post on Consultancy.uk believe that ‘the global market for 3D printing is set to grow from $4.5 billion today to $17.2 billion by 2020’.


As an industry ‘fashion’ isn’t new, but it is however one of the most popular here in the UK and across Europe. According to the EU ‘EU textile and clothing sector remains a SMEs based industry. Companies of less than 50 employees account for 90% of the workforce and produce almost 60% of the value added.’ What’s more, ‘Europe now imports about half of the world’s entire clothing production’.

This rise of new fashion SMEs is testament to the strength of this industry, but better still for the UK is that we are ‘the world’s top destination for fashion students’ as this report from the Times Higher Education suggests. Again, this is another positive that shows this industry could be a wise move for businesses looking to expand or get started. TNT, for instance, now offer delivery and distribution services for the fashion industry.

Overall, these are just a small selection of the many different emerging industries available today. For many businesses it’s an exciting time as there are more options to get involved or indeed start up with. So be sure to conduct a little research into emerging industries and see whether or not there’s anything upcoming in your area of the country, or talk to TNT to take advantage of our wide ranging industry expertise.