I think the title is sufficiently clear.

To add a little more clarity, if a business is performing extremely well, we generally say it has "peaked".

Is there a word/phrase/idiom that implies something opposite to "peaking" in business context?

Usage Sentence: (Only tentative, answers can contain their own usage examples)

ABC Inc.'s Smart Phone business _______ when a recent survey showed that it sold only X(single digit) units and added less than Y (also single digit) customers in the previous quarter. It comes as a shocking surprise as the same company had sold 1 million units within the first week of its launch.


Nobody is buying ABC Inc's smartphones any more. Their business __________.

  • 7
    I think plateau(ed) would work well here. "reach a state of little or no change after a period of activity or progress." Mar 7, 2016 at 10:33
  • 3
    The usage examples provided in the original post reflect not a business which has plateaued, but one which has declined. The opposite of "peaking" would be more like "bottoming out," wouldn't it?
    – DaveM
    Mar 7, 2016 at 11:45
  • 4
    I would suggest stagnated.
    – 123
    Mar 7, 2016 at 14:43
  • 2
    It's a bit slangy, but as the opposite of "peaked", tanked comes to mind.
    – Marthaª
    Mar 7, 2016 at 18:43
  • 2
    This question is imprecise; the title and body are contradictory. Some context about the past, recent, and expected future performance of the company or its product is necessary. Some visual plots would help as well. Mar 7, 2016 at 19:47

8 Answers 8


Saturation works.

Saturated market might work even better. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_saturation) Means that there is no new business to be made in that particular market, a real zero profit situation if the business doesn't branch out to something else as well.

Market Pollution, or pollution simply can work too, although pollution is a passing thing.

(There probably are more alternatives.)

  • 13
    But it's not the business that's saturated, it's the market. Try plugging various forms of "saturated" into the blanks in the original post—the examples don't make sense.
    – DaveM
    Mar 7, 2016 at 11:48
  • Their business is in direct relation to the market. If it the business is saturated, e.g. the market is completely overflown with the business, then it is a business that is saturated. A business can (not so directly/indirectly) mean a market/profession, making it valid. Sure, the examples need work. "ABC Inc.'s Smart Phone business saturated when a recent survey showed that it sold only X", "Nobody is buying ABC Inc's smartphones any more. Their business saturated/has saturated." There's a good reason these expressions/terms exist as is.
    – Sakatox
    Mar 7, 2016 at 12:01
  • 4
    This is wrong, for the reasons stated by DaveM, no idea how it is top answer.
    – 123
    Mar 7, 2016 at 14:44
  • As i clearly explained, no, it is not wrong. Show me a better fit. Also, "the examples don't make sense" Yes, they do. Oh, you have to put some effort into making it work? Not my problem, honestly, as explained above.
    – Sakatox
    Mar 7, 2016 at 15:07
  • 1
    I think "Stagnate" is a better fit. There are many reasons why a business could be facing this problem, whether it's saturation in the market or simply some bad customer reviews. "Stagnate" is independent of the market, so better reflects the general business issue. Mar 7, 2016 at 21:52

It looks as though you are asking for different things in different parts of the question.

1. Opposite of peaking. To peak means to reach to reach a maximum (Merriam-Webster). Then the opposite is to hit a minimum. You can use bottom out (M-W). But this suggest that sales may begin to recover in the near future, as in a cyclical business.

2. Example sentences. These state that sales are falling, not necessarily that they are rock bottom. So you could say business is declining or slumping (M-W). An example similar to yours:

Unfortunately, in the same two year period the Hays Asia Pacific business has slumped, with operating income down by nearly one third and operating profit nearly halved

3. Title. Here one can get the impression that the business simply stopped expanding, but that sales are holding on. We can then say that business matured or reached maturity (see this article or this other one).


Stagnate: (verb) to cease developing, progressing, moving, or advancing. Source

cease developing; become inactive or dull.

"Teaching can easily stagnate into a set of routines." Google search result


How about plummet?

: to fall suddenly straight down especially from a very high place

: to fall or drop suddenly in amount, value, etc.



For a candidate for a one-word antonym for "peak/peaked" in the business world there’s trough/troughed

trough verb (LOW LEVEL): to reach a low level, price, etc. before going up again: “The economy troughed six months ago and is now growing again.”

(from Cambridge Dictionaries Online)

“… sales troughed in June 2009 and have been increasing since then.”
(example usage of “sales troughed” from ‘Business Statistics of the United States 2010: Patterns of Economic Change’ edited by Cornelia J. Strawser, via ‘Google Books’)

Just as it takes hindsight to confirm whether business has “peaked” (and is now going down), one can’t know for sure if business has “troughed” until a recovery is started and maintained; so it remains to be seen if the business you describe will remain stuck in its trough (seems very likely, alas), in which case (and regardless) Rathony’s “hit/touch bottom” would get my vote for the term you seek.


ABC's business is moribund.



1. in a dying state; near death.

2. on the verge of extinction or termination.

3. not progressing or advancing; stagnant:


  • 1
    Nice word! I have edited your answer to improve formatting.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Mar 8, 2016 at 5:49

Though not an economist, I think that saying a business has reached a point where creating new business is "impossible" is an overstatement. Clearly a company can reach an impasse in deciding how to proceed with growing the business. Indeed, the expansion of a business and its market share can (and perhaps often does) seem to come to a standstill.

However, with a willingness on the part of a critical mass of optimistic employees, the business can choose to 1) reevaluate its current business practices; 2) retool its practices if necessary; and 3) plan for success and set goals for jumpstarting a business which may seemed to have peaked.

The word peaked, by the way, seems to me to be a synonym--not an antonym--for the "opposite" term you seek, for if a business has peaked, is not the implication it is going to decline unless the business takes the same sorts of steps which I've outlined above to maintain and even surpass its current, "peak" market share?

My vote, then is for the phrase "reached an impasse."

Having reached an impasse in generating new business, Widgets Incorporated decided to reevaluate their current business practices and to retool them in ways which would break their impasse in generating new customers.

  • TWIMC: downvotes can be helpful when accompanied by an explanation or a question. Feel free, then. I have fairly thick skin! Don Mar 8, 2016 at 17:59

The antonym of peak is bottom in business.

the lowest part, point, or level of something

You could considr using "hit/touch bottom" which means:

to reach the lowest or worst point: 'Our profits have hit bottom. This is our worst year ever.'

Your example:

Nobody is buying ABC Inc's smartphones any more. Their business hit bottom.

[Merriam-Webster, McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs]

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