Innovation and technological developments have made it difficult for many industries to survive using their traditional methods. While some industries overhaul themselves and keep apace, many are not able to cope up and eventually become redundant. Despite this dynamism and shuffle, there are certain industries that are unlikely to fade away as they support our lives and lifestyles. Even today, people’s basic needs have broadly remained the same. Everyone still eats food, though it can be more processed than fresh. Likewise, children still go to schools, and everyone needs a doctor at times. 

1. Food

The food industry covers a variety of activities such as agriculture, ranching, processing, preservation, preparation, and packaging. This industry is diverse not only in terms of products but also in terms of the size of players, from traditional family-run labor-intensive farms to capital-intensive, highly mechanized firms. Some of the prominent areas are dairy product processing, grain and oilseed milling, sugar and confectionery products, animal food manufacturing, vegetable and fruit preserving, and food packaging. The industry is sure impacted by short-term conditions that can depress the demand of a sector at times, but the long-term demand stays intact until a substitute for "food" is found. 

2. Pharmaceutical

The pharmaceutical industry has experienced impressive growth globally. Presently, the annual global pharmaceutical sales are estimated at $300 billion and are dominated by companies from North America, South America, Japan, and Europe. Companies in this industry are investing a lot in research and development to create breakthrough drugs.

3. Healthcare

The healthcare industry has grown tremendously, backed by government initiatives to provide high-quality healthcare, especially in developed countries. Further spurring growth in this industry are rising populations and incomes in emerging markets, increased access to healthcare facilities, aging populations, and an uptick in chronic diseases. Improvements in healthcare have boosted life expectancies and the quality of lives. The industry is a mix of products and services such as hospitals, nursing homes, ambulance services, laboratories, doctors and healthcare professionals, medical devices, equipment, and hospital supplies. Organizations, healthcare leaders, and governments continue to look for ways to provide high-quality services that are economically viable. 

4. Education

The education industry is one of the fastest-developing industries globally, generating large-scale employment and revenues. Private partnerships, e-learning, higher demand for foreign education, and increased offerings for test preparation have transformed education from the traditional schoolhouse. The rising middle and upper classes in India and China have helped support this rapid growth and transformation. Overall, the industry is comprised of products and services such as private universities, vocational training, online education, primary and secondary education, international studies, and educational materials. 

5. Sin Industry

This industry will continue to survive because, as the old-time adage goes, “old habits die hard.” The industry broadly includes alcohol, tobacco, and gambling. These industries are called "sin" industries because of their undesirable social impact and costs. These industries are heavily taxed by governments and are a source of revenue. The taxes on the "sin products" are often ineffective in curbing the consumption of these products or services, as they belong to a class that is price inelastic.

6. Media & Entertainment

This industry is a mix of businesses involved in the production and distribution of television programs, commercials, games, publishing, music and audio recordings, and motion pictures. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, the US media and entertainment industry represents one-third of the global media and entertainment revenues. The industry is expected to grow at a decent pace, driven by its creativity, diversity, and innovation. 

7. Professional Services

The professional services industry employs highly skilled workers in accounting, engineering, information technology, architecture, and legal matters, along with management consulting. In developed and fast-developing economies, professional services are a substantial part of the gross domestic product (GDP).

For example, according to a report by PwC, professional services in the UK represent approximately 15 percent of the GDP and approximately 14 percent of the country’s employment and exports. The demand for most of these services is driven by the overall economic health and corporate profits. Thus, in hard economic times, the industry can face a slowdown, but it eventually will make a comeback as spending on these services is only postponed.

Bottom Line

Some of the industries listed above are recession-proof, while others are cyclical. Overall, the big players in each of these industries adapt and upgrade to cater to our changing preferences and technologies, so that they can continue to meet our basic and lifestyle needs.