The telemarketing industry as we know it is set to die out completely in the not-so-distant future. Advances in technology means it's cheaper and more efficient to make the process computerised. Indeed, telemarketing is the industry most likely to be obliterated by robots, with a 99% chance that the job will be totally automated within 15 years, according to a study on The Future of Employment by Oxford University. Still, those robots will still have their work cut out for them: 93% of calls fail, according to the Data & Marketing Association.
Illegal streaming, expensive ticket prices and viewers getting tired of the same big film franchises dominating movie theaters have resulted in an increasing fall in cinema attendance. The global box office has seen sales down 6% in the first half of 2019 compared to this time last year, with some analysts blaming the large number of franchise releases such as Men in Black: International and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. Ticket sales in the US experienced the biggest drop, with reveneues falling 9.4% in the first six months of 2019. But while cinema is slumping online streaming services such as Netflix are booming, and the number of US households with a subscription to a streaming service rose from 12 million in 2009 to a whopping 71 million in 2017.
Newspapers and magazines are quickly becoming a dated concept. The ease of access to news online and on TV means they simply no longer have the readership they once did. Most recently UK women's magazine Marie Claire announced the closure of its print publication after 31 years. Ad revenues also took a beating following the 2008 recession, and despite the economy thriving since, they've never recovered. In 2016 print advertising for the New York Times decreased by 19%, just one example of the upcoming death of the industry.
While retail will always exist in some form, the industry could be almost unrecognisable in just a couple of decades. Shop workers are already being replaced by self-checkouts, and as a result it's been estimated that the self-serve kiosk industry will be worth $34 billion (£27.5bn) by 2023. There will also be fully automated stores, like the 10 staff-free, checkout-free Amazon Go stores that have opened in cities across America such as Seattle since 2018. Customers who have the app can simply walk out with the items they want, then get charged to their Amazon account.
Streaming services officially overtook DVDs as the most popular format for home viewing in 2016. Since then, things have only gone further south for the DVD industry. In 2018 UK retailer John Lewis announced they would no longer sell DVD players thanks to a 40% drop in sales, and Christmas that year saw a £250 million ($304m) decrease in sales of physical copies of films, music, TV shows and video games in the UK. The Blu-ray industry is set to follow suit: Samsung has already stated it’ll stop making Blu-ray players for the US market in 2019.
In 2017, a report from Local Data Company (LDC) revealed that 700 brick-and-mortar travel agencies closed up shop in the UK alone. Unsurprisingly, the research found that the most prominent reason was competition from online travel agencies and holiday rental companies such as Airbnb. Currently, just one in five travellers book their holidays through traditional travel agents. With online travel agencies offering an increasing level of convenience and greater value for money, their traditional counterparts won't be around for much longer.
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The invention of e-books and the internet has left little demand for public libraries in modern society, and if current trends continue it won't be long before they're completely gone. In the UK alone there were 242 library closures between 2011 and 2016. Book borrowing has fallen by up to a half in some areas, and over 8,000 librarian jobs were lost between 2010 and 2016 according to a BBC investigation.
As renewable energy sources continue to become more affordable, and with countries globally committing to reducing greenhouse gases, the coal industry is on its way out. More than 34,000 coal mining jobs have been lost in the US over the past decade, and the figure continues to plummet. One of the largest coal plants in the US, the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) in Arizona, is set to be closed by 2020, signalling the beginning of the end for the coal industry.
The oil industry is facing a large number of challenges which make it unlikely to survive the next 20 years. Environmental policies, electric cars and cheaper, alternative energies mean the industry is en route to becoming obsolete. By 2015 the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was facing a deficit of $100 billion (£81.1bn), and a downturn beginning in 2015 saw a loss of 300,000 oil and gas jobs worldwide.
The introduction of digital cameras and smartphones has caused the steady decline of the photofinishing industry. Nowadays people simply snap photos on their phones and upload them to social media, rarely printing physical copies. As a result, the industry's revenue has been decreasing by 11% each year for the last decade, and employment has shrunk by almost 58%. Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012, posted losses of $18 million (£14.5m) in the first quarter of 2019.
As the negative health impacts of smoking have become widely known over the last few decades, tobacco use has seen a large decline. In fact, 16% of Americans are smokers today, compared to 45% during the 1950s. Most people take up the habit before the age of 25, but health-conscious young people today are avoiding it or vaping instead. In the US cigarette sales were down 11.2% in May 2019, as part of a consistent 18-month decline, according to research from Nielsen.
Banking jobs are at great risk from AI. In fact, in late 2018 finance leaders warned that those in customer service, middle and back office roles are likely to be replaced by computers in the near future. A 2019 report by IHS Markit estimates that 1.3 million bank workers in the US will be affected, and 500,000 in the UK. Why? AI and quantum computers are replacing the need for bank workers, and there's also competition from new online-only models. And people seem to like it that way: an increasing number of people now do their banking online and a report from GP Bullhound revealed that 91% of people prefer to use an app than go into a branch.
To say the US postal service is struggling would be an understatement. Mail demand has fallen dramatically, and the volume decreased by 42 billion pieces between 2006 and 2010 alone. As a result, the USPS is losing billions of dollars every year – $2.7 billion (£2.2bn) in 2017. With electronic billing becoming obsolete and people using social media to keep in touch, the future of the postal service looks very bleak indeed.