Survey Results: State of The Dive Industry 2024 Market Reports

scuba diving industry market reports

Scuba Diving Market Reports on Sales of Dive EQUIPMENT, Scuba CERTIFICATIONS & Dive TRAVEL. Benchmarking DIVE SHOPS and Scuba Diving INSTRUCTORS.

March 6, 2024 – The Business of Diving Institute, in collaboration with InDEPTH Magazine, announces the results of a survey on worldwide market trends in the scuba diving industry: dive certifications, scuba diving equipment sales & dive travel.

Over the last two months, we conducted the second annual ‘State Of The Industry’ (SOTI) survey of the dive industry. We looked at 2023 results for dive certifications, scuba diving equipment sales, and dive travel compared to the prior year. We also surveyed expectations and forecasts for 2024.

Our goal with this State of The Dive Industry market study is to provide you with:

  • A benchmarking gauge to help you: Are you doing better or worse than your peers?
  • A business weather forecast: What are the trends in our industry? What product/service markets are growing? Which ones are shrinking? In which geographical regions?

Thanks to all those of you who participated! 

Considering the positive response and extensive participation, we intend to make it an annual survey to be administered in January.

State of The Dive Industry Market Study Participants

770 dive professionals participated in the market study, representing the following dive industry sector of activities:

  • 227 Dive Centers (excluding dive resorts)
  • 63 Dive Resorts (with rooms & specializing in diving)
  • 56 Dive Schools Only (e.g., University programs) or Dive Clubs
  • 58 Dive Gear Brands, Manufacturers, Distributors & Agents
  • 26 Dive Training Agencies
  • 302 Independent Instructors
  • 26 Dive-Specialized Media (printed or digital)

The other 12 survey respondents were in categories for which, unfortunately, we did not receive enough answers to be able to report on them: dive travel agencies, day-trip dive boat operators, and dive operators on cruise ships. However, overall, participation in this dive industry market study increased by 52% (770 participants this year compared to 504 last year), and we got significantly more respondents from dive resorts. Thank you!

Scuba diving equipment manufacturers and dive training agencies reported on their worldwide results by region. Other survey participants were from the following regions:

  • 41.1% U.S.A.
  • 27.4% Western Europe
  • 8.3% South Pacific, Indo-Pacific, Other Tropical Asia-Pacific Region

All other regions had lower participation.

Therefore, for SOTI 2025, we will plan ways to get better participation from the rest of the world and further increase the number of respondents from dive resorts.

Your help will be greatly appreciated. Better scuba diving industry market data benefits all dive professionals.

76.4% of survey participants were owners or co-owners of the business on which they reported, 11.9% were managers, and 11.7% were employees.

Scuba Diving Industry Market Reports

Here is the list of eight dive industry market reports produced by analyzing the data collected in the 2024 worldwide State of the Scuba Diving Industry Market survey.

  1. (BELOW) An Aggregate View of Dive Businesses’ Revenues, Profits & Current Concerns

  2. 2024 Forecast & 2023 Worldwide Trends in Certifications & Courses at All Levels by Category & Region

  3. 2024 Forecast & 2023 Worldwide Trends in Sales of Dive Equipment by Category & Region

  4. Benchmarking Local Dive Shops: 2024 Forecast and 2023 Revenues, Profits & Financial Profile of Dive Centers in Europe & USA

  5. Benchmarking Independent Scuba Diving Instructors: 2024 Forecast and 2023 Revenues, Profits & Business Activity Profile of Dive Instructors in Europe & USA

  6. Benchmarking Dive Resorts: 2024 Forecast & 2023 Revenues, Profits & Business Activity Profile of Dive Resorts

  7. Average Number of Dive Certifications Issued in 2023 by Dive Centers & Independent Instructors in Europe & USA by Category

  8. 2023 Trends & 2024 Forecast for Dive Industry-Specialized Media

Below, you will find general trends in revenues and profitability for all dive businesses that participated in this scuba diving industry market study.

You will also find a list of concerns scuba diving professionals, dive business owners and managers currently have for 2024 and beyond.

Dive Businesses Sales Results & Forecast

An aggregate of all scuba diving businesses indicates that dive professionals were much more optimistic about 2023 than what their actual revenues ended up being, and they are still very optimistic about 2024.

scuba diving businesses annual revenues
scuba diving businesses annual revenues

2023 sales results for scuba diving businesses in comparison to their forecast for 2023:

  • 11% forecasted a decrease in sales for 2023, while 29% actually experienced a decrease.
  • 65% forecasted an increase in sales for 2023, while 49% actually experienced an increase.

Yet, scuba diving industry managers and dive professionals remain optimistic for 2024, with 66% of them forecasting an increase in 2024 and only 8% forecasting a decrease in sales.

Scuba Diving Businesses Profitability

A business may experience revenue growth while profits are down for many reasons. And vice versa. Since, at the end of the day, dive business owners and shareholders care about profits, we also asked SOTI dive survey respondents to report on the profitability of their scuba diving business.

scuba diving businesses annual profits
scuba diving businesses annual profits

2023 profitability results for scuba diving businesses in comparison to their forecast for 2023:

  • 13% forecasted a decrease in profits for 2023, while 20% actually experienced a decrease.
  • 57% forecasted an increase in profits for 2023, while 42% actually experienced an increase.

Scuba diving industry managers and dive professionals are slightly less optimistic for 2024 than they were for 2023. 49% of them are forecasting an increase in profits in 2024, while 57% had forecasted an increase for 2023.

What Is the “Number One” Issue of Concern for Your Scuba Diving Business in 2024?

Among the many answers received to this open-ended question, we noted recurring themes represented by the following statements by scuba diving business owners, managers & staff:

  • Insurance
  • Trend toward fewer core divers and more casual divers who are not committed to the activity but only dive here and there once in a while
  • Environmental sustainability of the ocean ecosystem, degradation of our reefs
  • Lack of dive gear manufacturer support
  • Political and economic stability in Europe
  • World stability & wars
  • Price-driven discounting for no reason
  • Increasing costs of raw materials and transportation
  • PADI costs are outpacing the inflation that is already too high
  • Shrinking network of dive shop retailers
  • Interest rates
  • Cost of helium
  • Poor supervision of safety standards & race to the bottom
  • Slow recovery in Asia
  • Dive travel being booked at the last minute
  • Access to swimming pools
  • Extreme weather
  • No support for independent instructors
  • Training agency being unrealistically greedy
  • Difficulties in recruiting short-term seasonal staff

How valuable would this survey of the dive industry be to you and your business if we were to produce it on an ongoing (annual) basis?

With the following answers and the high participation rate for this second SOTI scuba diving industry market study, we will fine-tune it and re-run it in January 2025.

  • 25.2% Very Much Valuable
  • 62.9% Valuable
  • 8.6% Not Valuable
  • 3.3% Very Much Not Valuable

In the comments, we noticed many dive professionals requesting that we add questions about marketing. Since this SOTI survey is already too long, we will look at conducting a similar worldwide market study on the marketing of dive businesses, including advertising, sources of new clients, and the social-demographic profile of clients.

Thank You!

The following scuba diving industry leaders support our efforts to provide more insights into the dive industry in collaboration with InDEPTH Magazine.

Shearwater Research designs and manufactures computers for all types of divers: air, nitrox, multi-gas trimix, rebreather diving.

GUE is a leader in scuba education, having developed many industry-first training protocols and utilizing an elite cast of diving educators.

DAN Europe assists & protects divers, and conducts scientific research to make diving a safer, more accessible, and sustainable activity for all.

Please let us know if you would like to add your name to the list of organizations supporting a better understanding of the dive industry for the benefit of all dive professionals.

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.