I once did an article on industries that have emerged in the past 20 years. It’s all thanks to advances that have been made in the field of tech innovations. The internet and social media have and are still playing a central role in pushing that trend forward. Conversely, there are also industries that have disappeared or are disappearing because of technological advancements. So there is a balancing act seen in that some jobs have disappeared whilst new ones have been created. Interestingly the major incidence regarding disappearing industries is a morphing into new ones as opposed to complete annihilation. In this article I’ll be taking a look at some of the industries that have disappeared or disappearing.

Magnetic Media

There were a lot of big businesses that focused on magnetic media as their premise. Magnetic media is a term I’m using to refer to items like audio cassettes, video tapes, floppy disks and so on. The manufacturing, selling and use of these items constituted what once used to be a colossal industry. There was once a time when if you wanted to watch a video or listen to an audio you could do so through video tapes and audio cassettes respectively. All this has been washed away by the aggressive proliferation of digitization.

The shift from the use of magnetic media has been significant particularly in the last decade or so. Especially in developed countries, the overall use of physical media as a whole has dwindled greatly. This has been made possible by the widespread adoption of online digital streaming and cloud storage platforms. In just the last decade alone almost 60% of people once employed in fields related to magnetic media have lost their jobs. This means most businesses therein have either redefined their value propositions or have gone out of business altogether.

Media Retail Or Rental Outlets

If you have been around in the past 20 or so years then you have an idea of what a video shop or book store is like. These are aspects that used to characteristic a very active and large industry for so many years. People were accustomed to going to such shops to rent video tapes or books. When I was in high I recall when I once started a magazine club and one of our fundraising initiatives was doing movies that people would pay to watch. That was sometime in 2005 and I vividly recall that renting movie video tapes was still a thing then. Today it’s a different ball game since digital media is now king. If ever there are those still doing businesses focused on media retail and rental they now do it using digital media and on online digital media platforms.

Analogue And Postal Telecommunications

The use of analogue and postal means for telecommunications characterised most of the old and young generation’s lives. The use of landlines and postal services to send and receive messages was the order of the day. I got my first mobile phone in 2006 and during that time I was usually embarrassed to have it out because the majority of people didn’t have them. Even then the landline telephone was still the most common means of making calls. The greater portion of my 2002 to 2007 high school years were marked by sending and receiving letters from home. These are all aspects that have almost completely vanished in the past years. Locally the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC) of Zimbabwe was a testament of these changes I’ve just been discussing. About 19 years ago PTC had to be disbanded into separate entities following the realization of those changes.

Film-Based Photo Services

Film-based photos were the thing during most of my childhood. There weren’t any digital cameras locally at the time so businesses based on film-based photo services were huge then. The selling of analogue cameras, shooting and developing photo films into physical photos were some of those businesses. Most of these have sharply gone down or disappeared completely. Photos are now mainly taken digitally (using digital cameras or mobile smartphones) and printed digitally in cases where one might need a physical copy. Otherwise people mostly share their digital photos through the internet or social media. People who used to operate in this domain from the era of analogue cameras have had to buy net sets of digital equipment to stay relevant in the business.

So these are 4 of some of the notable industries that have disappeared or at are the varying levels of disappearance in the past 20 years. I have mentioned varying levels because some of these trends aren’t universally applicable to all parts of the world. With that said I can guarantee you that in the next 20 years we shall see more industries emerging and some more vanishing.