VoIP cited as one factor in staggering decline of wired telecom industry

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Waiting for the economic recovery to revive that portfolio heavy with wired telecommunications carriers and their ilk? You may be in for a longer wait than you expected, says market research firm IBISWorld.com.

Among the company's list of "Top 10 Dying Industries," you guessed it, wired telecom carriers top the list. According to IBISWorld, of the 700 industries it studied, the wireline folks saw the biggest drop in actual revenue between 2000 and 2010, 55 percent to $154 billion; and they're expected to see an additional decline of 37 percent between 2010 and 2016, said IBIS World. While major players like AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) continue to dominate the industry, they are generating lower returns each year as consumers switch to VoIP and wireless products.

But, they're not alone. The apparel manufacturing industry saw a decline of 77 percent to $12.8 billion revenue in 2010, record stores fell 76 percent, manufactured home dealers saw revenue drop 74 percent and photofinishing fell 69 percent.

The worst industry outlook through 2016? Manufactured home dealers will see another 62 percent decline in revenue, record stores will continue to see revenues spin down another 40 percent and photofinishing will drop 39 percent.

IBISWorld says all the struggling industries share at least one of these detrimental factors: damaging external competition, supplanting advancements in technology and industry stagnation.

Still, the research company isn't declaring any industry deaths-yet.

"Although these industries are all facing negative numbers, the operators in them aren't necessarily on the brink of death," explains IBISWorld Senior Analyst Toon van Beeck. "Firms that protect their strength in certain market segments, focus on niche opportunities and capitalize on the dwindling number of competitors can often reap the greatest rewards as sole operators, obtaining market survival and profitability."

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