How To Accurately Measure The Market Size of The Scuba Diving Industry

A process to measure the size of the scuba diving industry market report

How Could We Accurately Measure The Market Size of The Scuba Diving Industry?

We recently discussed the multiple challenges we face when trying to measure the size of the scuba diving industry market.

Scuba diving industry market size report

For instance, we presented the reality that surveying dive gear manufacturers and dive training agencies could never give us a complete picture of the market, even if they all shared data with a third party tasked with delivering market reports. And only a handful of them do it in a handful of markets, anyway. We reviewed why such a set of numbers would come with gigantic holes and issues.

For many other reasons, surveying dive retailers also provides an incomplete picture of the scuba diving industry.

These surveys can give us an indication of the size of the dive industry and how it is growing or shrinking. The Business of Diving Institute regularly administers this type of scuba diving industry market survey, and the results helped us reach the conclusions we presented in the recent edition of ‘Scuba Diving Industry Market Size Research Report.’

I won’t repeat the list of challenges here. Have a look at our prior post about them. Here, we want to consider a solution.

If we want a truly accurate picture of the dive industry, we need to conduct surveys directly with end-users.

Currently, the most reliable data we have comes from the SFIA (Sports & Fitness Industry Association) because they use a specialized firm to randomly contact Americans to establish participation rates in various sports and fitness activities. The TIV in Germany used a similar process to get the numbers we reviewed in the book mentioned above.

So, SFIA has the right methodology. We simply need to dig further than what is probed in the annual SFIA participation surveys. To define the size of the dive industry, we need more than participation rates.

First, we could establish a list of questions to segment respondents into categories for which we expect spending to be at different levels, like:

  • Scuba divers & dive professionals
  • Casual divers & core divers
  • Tech divers & recreational divers

Then, we simply need to ask these survey respondents how much they have spent on dive gear, dive training, dive travel, and other dive services in the prior 12 months.

This would give us a complete and accurate report on the size of the dive industry.

Conducting such a survey would have numerous other advantages, like being able to determine the dropout rate once and for all by simply querying who went scuba diving at one point in their lives compared to active scuba divers who have gone underwater in the prior 12 months.

We could also identify how much scuba divers spend locally compared to what they spend at remote locations when they travel.

And we could run such a survey in any geographic region.

Of course, the main issue with this solution is the cost of administering the survey.

SFIA hires a specialized subcontractor to conduct their annual market surveys. We could join the SFIA and work with them to establish the additional questions we need. OIA (Outdoor Industry Association) and other trade associations have joined SFIA in these annual market research initiatives. It would likely cost us less to contribute to the SFIA surveys than to conduct our own.

But even conducting our own surveys would not necessarily be cost-prohibitive if dive industry stakeholders could recognize the value of having reliable market data and get together to collect it.

Because the participation rate in scuba diving is relatively low (about 1% in the USA, for instance), we would need to reach out to a large number of people to obtain an acceptable sample size. For example, if we wanted to survey 1,000 active scuba divers in the USA, we would need to contact about 100,000 Americans.

It may be a $100,000 project just to evaluate the American market, and then we would still want to assess all the other markets around the world. But if dive gear manufacturers, training agencies, dive retailers, and other stakeholders could collaborate, the cost would be relatively small for each contributor.

If you are interested in working on this project and running a test in one market, please contact us.

In the meantime, I hope the numbers in the ‘Scuba Diving Industry Market Size Research Report, 2nd Edition’ will be valuable to your dive business planning.

You can help the dive industry by taking part in ongoing surveys.

Results from our past scuba diving market studies are also available here.

Other Scuba Diving Industry Resources:

Check our dive industry books.