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Asia and Australasia Business Ideas

Top 9 Thriving Industries in Australia and New Zealand To Start A Business for 2021

Australia and New Zealand are also suffering from Covid-19 economic slump. Here's a list of top nine thriving industries where you can invest or set up a business

The current pandemic has caused an economic slowdown forcing many industries to shut worldwide. Australia and New Zealand are also suffering this economic slump, but some industries are still showing positive signs of dealing with the slowdown. Some industries set to grow with New Zealand lifting all restrictions after it was officially declared virus-free on June 8th. We’ve come up with the list of top nine thriving industries in the two island nations where you can invest or set up a business. 

1. Construction

Construction covers many sectors including surveying, estate agency, transportation, equipment, cement and materials mixing, and structural building. It’s grown massively to account for 20% of New Zealand’s and 9% of Australia’s GDP. That’s why Australia deemed it an ‘essential service’ so was construction was allowed to continue during Covid. New Zealand however, only allowed essential business within the sector that met government guidelines. 

Since the pandemic, the construction industry has declined especially in new construction projects, which is forecasted to fall by 27% in Australia because flight restrictions have stopped the high demand from foreigners relocating in both countries. The industry should pick up in New Zealand as the government has pledged NZ$10 million to ‘shovel-ready’ projects on top of the NZ$12 billion in the New Zealand Upgrade Programme. Australia is following the same suit with the government looking to announce new funding. With these initiatives, the construction industry should return to its pre-Covid thriving growth. This offers an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors to begin making money in the sector before changes happen.

2. Healthcare

The current situation has forced everyone to focus on health even more now. Demand for better health infrastructure and services has seen a massive surge for everything from hospitals, medical devices and equipment, pharmaceuticals, elderly and mental services, and health tourism. High consumer demand has created profit-making opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs, particularly in remote and technology-based medical resources.

To add to this, according to Deloitte’s 2020 Health Care Outlook, more governments are placing stricter price controls on industry goods such as vaccines, pharmaceuticals, or hospital insurance that is making products and services more affordable to more customers. It’s a good time for the industry which continues to grow and generate high revenues for businesses.

3. Digital Advertising

As everything is online now, the digital advertising industry continues to grow steadily. It has been expanding into a greater variety of niche services over the last decade, including pay per click, social media marketing, web and mobile application development, and even Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This is increasing customer spending, and in New Zealand, the digital advertising industry revenue grew from NZ$135.1 million in 2007 to NZ1.26 billion by 2019. Despite Covid, the industry grew in Australia at a flatter rate of 0.8% this year, which will increase to 4.38% over the next five years. This is promising for anyone looking to startup or invest in digital advertising as it shows they can earn profit at a steady rate regardless of the economic situation. 

4. Education 

Education is witnessing high growth into new niche EdTech (Educational Technology) sectors that are different from traditional schooling and university. Many companies and independent individuals offer products and services that support educational institutions and businesses with education and training management, and content delivery from learning platforms. This includes teachers, virtual exam assistants, study materials, exam and essay marking applications, and data and security.

The industry is also flooded with millions of courses, training programs, paid tutorials, and pay for hire materials and courses from independent individuals such as entrepreneurs, bloggers, and professionals sharing their expertise on sites like YouTube, Udemy, LinkedIn, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour. The growth in Edtech means that even during the pandemic, the Education industry in New Zealand and Australia has remained strong despite a significant decline in international students intake to universities. More individuals and companies are offering courses online this year. It is a profitable industry for entrepreneurs and investors to do business. 

Australia and New Zealand EdTech 50
You can view the full report for The Top 50 EdTech Companies in Australia and Zealand 2020 at HolonIQ

5. Retail & Wholesale Trading

Trading doesn’t require higher education qualifications, but some vital skills. The retail trading sector accounts for more than 1.2 million jobs in Australia. Retail and Wholesale of foods is an essential business that all countries have allowed to remain open during the global pandemic, so this industry sector has seen growth in Australia and New Zealand. Other industry sectors like clothing and accessories initially increased in March before the lockdown was enforced as shoppers went on a spree. Once stores were on lockdown, eCommerce and online shopping boomed, but overall industry growth sharply declined. In Australia, for example, retail turnover increased by 8.2% in March 2020, then fell by 17.9% in April despite eCommerce surging to a record high 39% in March 2020 and increasing after that. Overall, investments in the Retail and Whole Trading industry get higher returns for sellers and is one of the industries where you can expect instant returns on investments (ROI).

6. Manufacturing

The US dollar softening boosted exports before the pandemic as goods were cheaper, which gave a kick to the already flourishing manufacturing sector. Now, lockdown restrictions continue to affect manufacturing across New Zealand, and Australia as businesses operate at limited capacity, particularly in New Zealand Level 3 areas, which had restrictions on trading activity, and level 4 areas, which forced a lockdown of all non-essential activities.

You can view the full report for the Economic Impacts of COVID-19 measures at Reserve Bank of New Zealand 

The pandemic has also brought a learning lesson for the industry that it is not self-sufficient and relies too heavily on international manufacturing from Asia. This led to both governments pleading grants to manufacturers in the sector. The Australian government will offer manufacturers AUS$1.3 billion (US$925 million). The industry is set to flourish again once the pandemic has passed, making it great for startups.

7. Scientific and Technical Services

Consumers requirement for professional services involving technicians is increasing at a phenomenal rate. The administrative sector is becoming more dependent on science and technology, which is complementing its growth. During the pandemic, this industry’s medical sector grew worldwide as governments searched for ways of dealing with Covid-19, including vaccines, protective equipment, scientific data, and more. The industry is vast, and startups can enter using many ways including legal advice and representation, accounting and bookkeeping, architecture, engineering, specialized design, IT, consulting, research, translation and interpretation, and veterinary services.

8. Hospitality

The hospitality industry plays a vital role in the GDP of both Australia and New Zealand. Both countries receive many international tourists who make up a significant portion of customers in the industry. Pandemic restrictions of no international flights and lockdown significantly impacted the industry in restaurants and nightclubs, bars, pubs, and nightclubs, and hotels and resorts. The hospitality sector faced severe backdrop with some hotels and resorts going from 80% occupancy to single digits, and revenue in restaurants and bars down by 40% to 50%. A large portion of the hospitality industry workforce in New Zealand are also international, so many businesses lost workers during the pandemic who return to their home countries.

Now that both countries have put methods in place allowing international flights so long as foreigners quarantine, some workers are returning. Once borders fully open, the industry is forecasted to have its biggest boom in history. It will be an excellent industry for early adopters to startup a business and take advantage of this coming boom.  

9. Transportation and Logistics

Transportation, including both public and private (mostly taxis), is increasing its reach daily. Increasing digital marketing and improved technology-driven vehicle control has made transport accessible for consumers and businesses. They can now book all transportation and logistics aspects online, from taxi’s, house moving, international freight, lorries, delivery, courier services, warehousing, storage, and distribution.

Over the last decade, the industry has grown massively in Australia and New Zealand driving employment to a high in 2019. According to KPMG, in New Zealand demand for domestic transport and logistics was exceptionally high in March 2020 as the country looked to replenish its supplies to prepare for the pandemic. Still, overall the industry suffered as New Zealand has many small players in the industry that could not cope with the Covid economic downturn. During the pandemic, Australia also suffered, especially its ridesharing sector, which fell significantly by 19.2% from 2019 to 2020.

The transport and logistics industry is expected to rebound strongly from the pandemic over the next five years, especially public transport, taxies and ridesharing. Revenue from ridesharing services is forecast to rise 13.6% annually to US$1.3 billion, and Public Transport at 4.6% annually to US$31.7 billion. This makes it a top industry for startups in Australia and New Zealand. 

Amin Bilal is a business consultant, founder of, and content creator. He specialises in advising SMEs and large multinational corporations solve finance, operational, and technological problems.

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