07 July 2011

The Fate of Australian Industries for 2011-12

The Australian white ibis in its
natural habitat: the Sydney CBD. 
To mark the start of the new financial year in Australia, market research company IBISWorld has released its annual report listing the Australian industries predicted to be the best and worst performers for 2011-12.

The list of the ten industries expected to show the greatest growth hardly paints a picture of Australia as an advanced and innovative information economy!  Dominated by primary production, the only service industries are financial asset investment, automotive fuel retailing, domestic airlines and online shopping.

The brightest light in the top ten may be the renewable energy sector, which at least is likely to be driven by investment in new clean energy technologies, and bolstered by regulatory changes (and the increasingly-likely carbon tax) driving reductions in carbon emissions.

On the other hand, the two industries expected to perform worst are both information technology-based: gaming and vending machines manufacturing and wired telecommunications carriers.  IBISWorld predicts that the vending machines market will face increasing competition from imports, while gaming will be affected by regional restrictions on gaming machine numbers (intended to combat problem gambling), and competition from sports betting, which is increasingly conducted online and via mobile devices.


The following table summarises the ten Australian industries predicted by IBISWorld to show the greatest growth in 2011-12.

Industry Growth Revenue ($bn)
Oil and Gas Production 18.3% 41.2
Sugar Manufacturing 16.3% 2.7
Organic Farming 13.0% 0.5
Mining 12.9% 207.7
Automotive Fuel Retailing 10.9% 37.0
Multi-Unit Apartment and Townhouse Construction 10.6% 11.0
Financial Asset Investors 9.8% 17.0
Renewable Energy 9.7% 1.4
Online Shopping 9.0% 5.5
Domestic Airlines 9.0% 13.4


The following table summarises the five Australian industries predicted by IBISWorld to show the greatest negative growth (i.e. largest contraction) in 2011-12.

Industry GrowthRevenue ($bn)
Gaming and Vending Machines Manufacturing -12.6% 0.4
Wired Telecommunications Carriers -7.6% 10.2
Institutional Building Construction -7.3% 10.2
Image Processing and Printing Services -4.9% 0.5
Book and Telephone Directory Publishing -2.4% 4.2


While the Australian economy continues to perform strongly on the back of primary production, and particularly mining (with predicted revenues of over $200bn), it is somewhat disheartening that technology and information industries are unrepresented amongst the top performers.  Predicted growth of 10% would have been sufficient to make the list.

While there is no doubt innovation taking place within the traditional primary industries, we would hope to see the emergence of some new growth industries more relevant to the information economy.  We wonder how long Australia can continue to ride on the back of its natural resources without investing more of the proceeds in a future when those resources will no longer be sufficient to sustain our advanced post-industrial lifestyles?

To read more, IBISWorld has issued a press release, while the report itself, Industries to Fly and Fall in 2011-12 (PDF), is also available for download.


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