Sunrise Industry

DEFINITION of 'Sunrise Industry'

A colloquial term for a sector or business that is in its infancy, but is growing at a rapid pace. A sunrise industry is typically characterized by high growth rates, numerous start-ups and an abundance of venture capital funding. Sunrise industries generally have plenty of "buzz" surrounding them as public awareness about the sector increases and investors get attracted to its long-term growth prospects.

BREAKING DOWN 'Sunrise Industry'

Examples of sunrise industries include alternative energy in the period from 2003 to 2007, and social media and cloud computing in 2011 and 2012.

A sunrise industry is often characterized by a high degree of innovation, and its rapid emergence may threaten to push into obsolescence a competing industry sector that is already in decline. Because of its dim long-term prospects, such an industry is referred to as a sunset industry.

Over a period of years or decades, as an industry grows and matures, it may pass from the sunrise phase to maturity and, finally, the sunset stage. The compact-disc industry is a typical example of such a transition. It was a sunrise industry in the 1990s as compact discs replaced vinyl records and cassette tapes, but the rapid adoption of digital media in the 21st century could mean that the compact-disc industry's days are numbered.

The transition from the sunrise to sunset stages is likely to be more rapid in dynamic sectors, such as technology.