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What industries have been most profitable in 2022?

2022 was a wild year for the global economy. Inflation soared in countries around the world while central banks fought back by ratcheting up interest rates.

Supply chains continued to be disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. In the middle of it all, consumer spending remained remarkably strong.

Such an usual year produced winners and losers, with some industries faring much better than others. We’ll take a look at 5 industries that were highly profitable in 2022 and could be poised for continued growth in the years ahead.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity experts have been sounding the alarm on digital threats for years. But it was only in the past year that many companies and governments saw just how important cybersecurity will be in the decade ahead.

The average cost of a data breach hit an all-time high of $4.35 million and the war in Ukraine moved cyberwarfare from being a hypothetical scenario to reality. Some analysts estimate that cybercrime could cost companies as much as $10.5 trillion per year by 2025.

In the midst of all this, cybersecurity companies have seen their business soar. Crowdstrike, one of the leading publicly traded cybersecurity firms in the US, saw its operating profits more than triple from $62.4 million in 2021 to $196 million this year.

Overall, the cybersecurity industry was valued at $173.5 billion in 2022. Analysts believe that the cybersecurity industry as a whole will experience a whopping 8.9% CAGR between now and 2027.

Online Gambling

The gambling industry has always been popular, but it had a banner year in 2022. The global online gambling industry expanded at a CAGR of 10.4% this year, reaching a valuation of $81.08 billion. By 2026, analysts expect online gambling to be worth $115.13 billion.

That doesn’t even account for the growth in crypto gambling online. While this is still a relatively new sub-sector, analysts estimate that it could be worth $93 billion in the next 2 years.

Even the US is getting in on the growth of online gambling. Three more states legalized sports betting and bitcoin caisno sites in 2022 and numerous others opened their betting markets for the first time. Online gambling in the US – which is still not widely available – brought in $1.21 billion in the span of just 3 months this past year.

Semiconductors

Ever since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world hasn’t been able to get enough semiconductors. That’s pushed up prices for the chips that power everything from computers to cars to appliances and encouraged many semiconductor manufacturers to scale up production.

As a result, the semiconductor industry brought in an estimated $618 billion this year, up from $595 billion in 2021. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company saw its third-quarter profits jump an astonishing 80% year-over-year, to $8.81 billion.

Analysts have mixed opinions on whether the growth in semiconductor profits will continue into 2023, but there’s little doubt that the industry’s dominant role in the global economy will persist. Gartner predicts revenue of $596 billion for 2023, in line with the industry’s revenue in 2021.

Aircraft Manufacturing

Aircraft manufacturers benefited from a sharp rebound in global travel this year. Travel-related revenue recovered to nearly 90% of pre-pandemic levels. That’s set off a race for airlines to update their aging fleets.

In 2022, the global aircraft manufacturing market was valued at nearly $430 billion and analysts expect a 3.7% CAGR through 2030. Boeing alone delivered more than 400 planes this year and saw third-quarter revenue of $15.96 billion, a gain of 4% year-over-year.

The war in Ukraine and hostilities between the US and China also provide tailwinds for the industry going forward. Strong demand for both military and commercial aircraft in 2023 could provide an additional boost to aircraft manufacturers.

Banking

The banking sector is traditionally one of the most profitable industries in the world. The confluence of higher interest rates and continued economic growth proved especially lucrative in 2022.

According to McKinsey, banks were the most profitable in 2022 that they’ve been since the 2008 financial crisis. They saw a return on equity of 12.5% and $345 billion in revenue growth compared to 2021. The FDIC reported that banks saw a nearly 8% jump in profitability in the second quarter of 2022 as a result of rising interest rates.

The fate of banks in 2023 may depend on whether the global economy is in for a recession or the soft landing that economists are trying to engineer. A strong economy and higher interest rates could yield another record-breaking year for banks, while a recession could see demand for new loans drop sharply.

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