Wedding Services

wedding rings

“In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
— “Locksley Hall,” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Most people are aware of these four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. But there is a fifth season that soon will be upon us: Wedding Season. According to Priceonomics, in 2015, 80% of marriages took place between May and October. Traditionally, June has been the most popular month to get married. Why? According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “the goddess Juno (for whom June is named) was the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing, so a wedding in Juno’s month was considered most auspicious.” However, in more recent years, couples have been eschewing tradition and getting married in the Fall. In 2016, September and October were the most popular months for couples to get married, with June falling into third place.

Today’s market size shows the amount of revenue generated in the wedding services industry in 2016. The wedding services industry includes all the businesses that work together to create a wedding event, including wedding planners, stationers, bakeries, jewelers, photographers, videographers, caterers, banquet/reception locations, event transportation and formal wedding attire businesses. According to IBISWorld estimates, the amount of revenue in this industry has increased at a 3.2% annualized rate from 2012 to 2016. Despite the rate of marriage dropping—from 9.8 per 1,000 people in 1990 to 6.9 per 1,000 people in 2016—and the number of people cohabitating rising, marriage is not becoming a thing of the past. While many couples delay getting married, when they do get married they generally have more disposable income to spend on wedding services. As a result, revenue is expected to increase year over year from 2017 to 2021.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2016
Market size: $72.1 billion
Sources: “IBISWorld Industry Market Research: The U.S. Wedding Services Industry is Expected to Earn Revenue of $72.1 Billion in 2016,” PR Newswire, December 27, 2016 available online here; “Marriage Rate in the United States from 1990 to 2016 (per 1,000 of Population),” Statista, January 2018 available online here; Pamela N. Danziger, “Will a Booming Economy Bring a Wedding Market Boom? Not Likely,” Forbes, February 16, 2018 available online here; Sarah Schmidt, “The Wedding Industry in 2017 and Beyond,” Market, May 16, 2017 available online here; Christine Schultz, “Wedding Rituals: Traditional Wedding Ceremonies,” The 2002 Old Farmer’s Almanac available online here; Carolyn Lippo, “This is the Most Popular Month for Weddings,” Redbook, April 17, 2017 available online here; “Wedding Market Research Reports & Industry Analysis,” Market available online here; Renee Stepler, “Number of U.S. Adults Cohabiting With a Partner Continues to Rise, Especially Among Those 50 and Older,” Pew Research Center, April 6, 2017 available online here and “Locksley Hall,” Poetry Foundation available online here.
Image source: artemtation, “wedding-rings-ring-love-two-171843,” Pixabay, October 3, 2009 available online here.

Social Media Analytics

social media analyticsWhat do people think of our product? How successful was our last marketing campaign? Not that long ago if businesses wanted to know the answer to these questions they would have to hire market research firms that would poll select customers about their thoughts. With the widespread use of social media and improved natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, social media analytics tools can provide a more comprehensive picture of how consumers feel about companies and their products.

Social media analytics software is used to gather data from various social media sites in order to guide a business’ marketing strategy. Each social media platform offers its own analytics interface, but for companies whose presence on social media is multi-faceted, a more robust software option is necessary, one in which data is tracked on several platforms at once, and in some cases, in real time. Sophisticated software with natural language processing will attempt to understand meaning and context in text and human speech. The analyzed data can then be used to target marketing campaigns, improve customer service, or improve existing products, among others.

Today’s market size shows the amount businesses around the world spent in 2016 and are projected to spend in 2022 on social media analytics tools. According to the source, cloud-based social media analytics tools are expected to experience the highest growth during this time period due to their cost-effectiveness, scalability and flexibility in allowing businesses to oversee their campaign management and performance monitoring. Currently, there are more than 25 key companies worldwide that create social media analytics tools.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2016 and 2022 projected
Market size: $2.1 billion and $9.5 billion respectively
Sources: “Social Media Analytics Market: Global Market Size to Reach $9463.54 Million by 2022,” Nasdaq GlobeNewswire Press Release, December 22, 2017 available online here; Margaret Rouse and Ed Burns, “Social Media Analytics,” TechTarget, June 2017 available online here; Margaret Rouse and Craig Stedman, “Unstructured Data,” TechTarget, January 2018 available online here.
Image source: Maialisa, “marketing-social-media-advertising-1573711,” Pixabay, August 8, 2016 available online here.

Database Security

database securityGlobally the number of cyber security incidents increased 1,637% from 3.4 million incidents in 2009 to more than 59 million incidents in 2015. In the United States the number of data breaches alone increased from 446 in 2007 to 1,579 in 2017. According to Steve Langan, chief executive at Hiscox Insurance, cybercrime cost the global economy more than $450 billion dollars in 2016.

As a result of the growing threats from viruses, worms, Denial of Service attacks and other malware the need for increasingly sophisticated cyber security solutions grows year by year. In 2017 the business sector was the most vulnerable to data breaches in the United States followed by the medical/healthcare sector, accounting for 55% and 23.7% of all data breaches respectively.

Today’s market size shows the amount industries around the world spent on database security in 2017 and the amount they are projected to spend in 2022. The market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 18.9% due to the increase in the amount of data that needs protecting, the increase in malware threats, and the increase in regulations protecting the privacy and security of customers’ health and financial data.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2017 and 2022
Market size: $2.95 billion and $7.01 billion respectively
Sources: “Database Security Market by Software, Service, Business Function, Deployment, Organization Size, and Vertical Global Forecast to 2022 – Research and Markets,” Business Wire Press Release, January 2, 2018 available online here; “Global Number of Cyber Security Incidents From 2009 to 2015 (in Millions),” Statista, October 2015 available online here; Luke Graham, “Cybercrime Costs the Global Economy $450 Billion: CEO,” CNBC, February 7, 2017 available online here; “Data Breaches: The Insanity Continues,” Identity Theft Resource Center, 2015 available online here; “2017 Annual Data Breach Year-End Review: Executive Summary,” Identity Theft Resource Center, 2017 available online here.
Image source: Geralt, “Binary-hands-keyboard-tap-enter-2372131,” Pixabay, June 2017 available online here.

Intraocular Lenses

intraocular lenses, eyeIntraocular lenses are artificial lenses that are implanted in the eyes to replace a person’s natural lenses that were damaged by cataracts or another eye disease. Monofocal-type intraocular lenses captured the largest share of the market in 2015. Why? They cost less than other types of intraocular lenses, insurance companies are more likely to adequately reimburse providers for implanting them, and monofocal lenses have fewer post-operative complications than other types of lenses according to the source.

Although hospitals were the highest end users of intraocular lenses in 2015, ambulatory surgery centers and ophthalmology clinics are expected to experience a higher compound annual growth rate in their use of these lenses from 2016 to 2024 due to the growing popularity of outpatient cataract surgery at these venues. An aging population with an increased incidence of cataracts, an acceptance of more technologically advanced products and techniques, and a demand for premium intraocular lenses by patients led to North America having the highest share of the global intraocular lens market in 2015. North America’s share, valued at more than $1.1 billion, accounted for more than a third of the global market that year.

Today’s market size shows the total value of sales of intraocular lenses globally in 2015 and projected for 2024. Five manufacturers of intraocular lenses combined—Biosensors International, Biotronik, Terumo Europe NV, Abbott Laboratories, and Boston Scientific, Inc.—had an 80.5% share of the market in 2016.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2015 and 2024
Market size: $3.2 billion and $5.0 billion, respectively
Sources: “Global Intraocular Lens Market Size US$5.0 bn by 2024,” Transparency Market Research, Nasdaq GlobeNewswire Press Release, November 29, 2017, available online here and “Intraocular Lenses Market,” Transparency Market Research available online here.
Image source: Engin_Akyurt, “eye-human-macro-beauty-portrait-2586698,” Pixabay, December 1, 2016, available online here.

Skin Grafting Market

Skin grafting is a surgical procedure in which healthy skin is removed from one part of the body and attached to another part of the body that was damaged by burns, trauma, infection or disease. While skin grafting has been done for centuries, first recorded around 600 BC in India, most modern skin grafting has been done in the past century and a half. Since the 1870s and 1880s, the depth of the donor skin has been recognized as a major factor in healing. Back then surgeons would freehandedly remove the skin using a knife, the depth of the donor skin controlled by varying the angle of the knife. Starting in the early 1900s, various knives with attached guards that could be calibrated in order to more accurately measure the depth of the donor skin were used. In 1939, a semi-cylindrical calibrated dermatome was invented by Dr. Earl Padgett and George J. Hood. Until this time, only expert plastic surgeons would be able to cut skin grafts, but now any trained surgeon was able to do so. This was a major advancement in the treatment of wounded soldiers during World War II. Since then various technological advancements have improved the accuracy of the dermatomes surgeons use today.

Today’s market size shows the projected total revenue earned from the global sales of skin grafting instruments and supplies in 2018 and 2023. According to the source, the skin grafting market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 12.29% over this time period. As bioengineered skin and skin substitute technologies become more advanced, the need for skin grafts using a person’s healthy skin may diminish for some applications. In 2015, the top three companies developing bioengineered skin and skin substitutes were MiMedx, Organogenesis and Integra LifeSciences.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2018 and 2023
Market size: $3.8 billion and $6.8 billion, respectively
Sources: “Global Skin Grafting Market Forecasts to 2022 – Total Market Size to Reach US$6.825 Billion by 2023 – Research and Markets,” BusinessWire Press Release, December 15, 2017 available online here; “Skin Graft,” MedlinePlus, December 21, 2017 available online here; Faisal Ameer, Arun Kumar Singh, and Sandeep Kumar, “Evolution of Instruments for Harvest of the Skin Grafts,” Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery, January-April 2013 available online here; “Dermatome (instrument),” Wikipedia, March 4, 2017 available online here; and “U.S. Market Shares 2015: Bioengineered Skin & Skin Substitutes,” MedMarket Diligence, May 7, 2017 available online here.
Image source: Adapted from “Set, Skin Graft, Instruments,” International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Emergency Items Catalog, January 1, 2011 available online here.

Digital Video Marketing

Digital video marketing word cloudAccording to Jim Louderback, CEO of VidCon, an annual online video conference held in Southern California, “[t]he younger you are the more likely you are to want to consume information in video form. If you’re under the age of 35, video is the way you want to be communicated with, it’s the way you want to learn and understand.” Knowing this, 56% of businesses surveyed by mobile video platform Magisto said they produce video content at least once a week, with 26% producing content daily. However, among companies that spend more than 25% of their marketing budget on video, those companies whose marketing departments are run by Millennials are less likely than those run by Generation Xers to spend money on business videos and less likely to create business video content on a daily basis.

Today’s market size shows the estimated amount businesses in the United States spent on digital video marketing in 2017. This figure includes the cost of video capturing, creation, hosting, distribution, analytics, and staffing. By contrast, businesses were expected to spend $83 billion on digital advertising and $71 billion on television commercials in 2017.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2017
Market size: $135 billion (estimated)
Sources: Chaykowski, Kathleen, “Digital Video Marketing is a $135 Billion Industry in the U.S. Alone, Study Finds,” Forbes, October 17, 2017 available online here; Video’s Payday: Part I: The Modern Marketing Dilemma and The State of Business Video, Magisto, available online here.
Original source: Magisto
Image source: Word cloud created in-house using Wordle™ available online here.

Collaborative Robots

Global Sales of Collaborative RobotsCollaborative robots, or co-bots, are robots that work alongside human workers. Many workers are wary of the increased use of robots in general, fearing the loss of their jobs. M.I.T. and Boston University estimated that up to six people lose their jobs for each robot per 1,000 workers a company adds. Employers, however, cite increased productivity, cost savings, and healthier work environments when robots are used in the workplace. Robots can work in hazardous jobs or do repetitive tasks thereby reducing worker injuries.

Today’s market size shows the total global sales of collaborative robots in 2015, 2020, and 2025. Figures for 2020 and 2025 are projections. According to the Robotic Industries Association, the United States is third behind Japan and China in the total number of industrial robots in use—250,000 in 2017. According to the Brookings Institution, metro Detroit has more than 15,000 industrial robots in place, almost five times the number of any other major city in the U.S.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2015, 2020 and 2025
Market size: $120 million, $3.1 billion (projected) and $12 billion (projected).
Source: Dolan, Matthew, “Rise of the Robots,” Lansing State Journal, October 30, 2017, page 8A.
Original source: Barclays Equity Research analysts

Dog Walking Services

dog walkingAccording to the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 84.6 million households in the United States own a pet. This equates to 68% of all U.S. households, up from 56% thirty years earlier. The total number of pet dogs exceeds the number of pet-owning households by 5.1 million. Many households are caring for multiple dogs.

Owners spent more than $66.7 billion dollars on their pets in 2016. Spending for 2017 was expected to increase by nearly $3 billion. Most people who own pets consider them part of the family. Their spending reflects that attitude. Besides spending on the basics such as food and healthcare, many owners spend money on pet services such as grooming, boarding, pet sitting and dog walking. In 2016 owners spent a total of $5.76 billion on all types of pet services and were expected to spend even more in 2017.

Today’s market size shows the total amount earned by professional dog walkers in 2017. There were 27,838 dog walking businesses in the United States employing 28,576 people, according to IBISWorld.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2017
Market size: $1 billion
Sources: “Dog Walking Services in the US: Market Research Report,” IBISWorld, September 2017 available online here; “Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics,” American Pet Products Association Press Release available online here.
Image source: robynhobson, “park-dog-walk-entrepreneur-606334,” Pixabay, January 1, 2000 available online here.

Blood Donation

Blood donationsNearly 45% of blood donors are over the age of 50 and 60% are over the age of 40. According to Marie Forrestal, president of the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals, those who grew up during World War II and their children saw giving blood as a civic duty. They realized the importance of the country keeping an adequate supply of blood on hand. People in their 20s or 30s, however, are less likely to donate than other age groups, and as a result, as the older donors age and can no longer donate, there are fewer younger people to take their place.

Over the past decade, blood banks have focused their recruitment efforts on teenagers and young adults through blood drives at high schools and colleges and through the use of social media. Although people lined up to donate blood after tragedies like 9/11, the Pulse nightclub shooting, and more recently after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, few of those people come back to donate when the crisis has passed. From 2013 to 2017 the number of blood donors dropped by about 800,000. Because of this, some parts of the country occasionally experience blood shortages, especially during the summer, the winter holidays, and flu season.

Today’s market size shows the number of blood donations in 2013 and 2017. Because of improved surgical techniques and an emphasis on blood conservation, the number of units of whole blood and red blood cells transfused dropped by 4.4% from 2011 to 2013, the last years for which data are available. During this time period, the number of donations dropped 12.1%. From 2013 to 2017, the number of units of blood donated dropped 22.5%.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2013 and 2017
Market size: 14.2 million units and an estimated 11 million units respectively
Sources: Aleccia, JoNel, “As Blood Donors Age, Industry Eyes Young Blood,” USA Today for the Lansing State Journal, September 24, 2017, page 6B; “Survey Report Fewer Blood Collections and Transfusions in 2013,” Transfusion News, September 7, 2016 available online here.
Original source: AABB
Image source: rdelarosa0, “blood-donation-give-732297,” Pixabay, April 21, 2015 available online here.

Coffee Cafes

Coffee cafeAccording to the National Coffee Association’s 2017 National Coffee Drinking Trends report, 62% of Americans drink coffee on a daily basis and 46% of coffee consumed is done so away from home. Although the recent popularity of coffee cafes may be traced back to the 1990s when Starbucks expanded across the country, TV show friends were seen hanging out at Central Perk coffeehouse, and laptops and wi-fi allowed workers to work from anywhere, coffee cafes are nothing new. The first public place to serve coffee dates back to 1475 in Constantinople, Turkey (now Istanbul).

Today’s market size shows the total sales of coffee cafe chains in the United States in 2016. The top three coffee cafe chains, in terms of sales, are Starbucks (estimated $14.7 billion, accounting for nearly 60% of the total sales at coffee cafe chains in the U.S.), Dunkin’ Donuts ($8.2 billion), and Tim Hortons (estimated $760 million).

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2016
Market size: $24.8 billion (a 9.7% increase from 2015)
Sources: “Coffee Cafe,” Restaurant Business, June 2017, page 55 available online here; Paajanen, Sean, “The Evolution of the Coffee House,” The Spruce, November 27, 2016 available online here; Mock, Brentin, “What Made Coffeehouse Culture Go Boom?” CityLab, January 23, 2017 available online here; Auffermann, Kyra, “From Brew Boomers to the Gourmet Generation: National Coffee Drinking Trends 2017,” The First Pull, National Coffee Association, March 28, 2017 available online here; DeRupo, Joe, “Daily Coffee Consumption Up Sharply,” National Coffee Association News Release, March 25, 2017 available online here.
Original source: Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report
Image source: Free-Photos, “coffee-shop-american-flag-america-1081713,” Pixabay, January 7, 2016 available online here.

Specialty Limited-Service Restaurants

Krispy Kreme restaurantA limited-service restaurant is one in which customers choose, order and pay for their food ahead of time. The food can be eaten in the restaurant, taken out, or delivered. Specialty limited-service restaurants specialize in one type of meal or menu item. Today’s market size shows the total sales at these types of restaurants. The top three specialty limited-service restaurants in terms of sales in 2016 were Krispy Kreme (estimated $758 million), Dickey’s Barbeque Pit (estimated $557.6 million), and Auntie Annie’s ($547.9 million).

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2016
Market size: $6.9 billion
Source: “Specialty LSR,” Restaurant Business, June 2017, page 52 available online here.
Original source: Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report
Image source: GoToVan, “Krispy Kreme in Delta (14865312212).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, August 9, 2014, CC-BY-2.0 license available online here. Use of image does not constitute endorsement of brand.

Homeless Courts

law court gavelAccording to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report, The 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, nearly 554,000 people were homeless in the United States in 2017. While most were able to stay in emergency shelters or transitional housing more than 192,000 had no shelter to go to.

The homeless often receive citations for panhandling and other public nuisance violations or are arrested for misdemeanor violations such as petty theft. Some homeless people may not appear in court because they don’t have the means to get there or their need to find food and shelter outweigh all other concerns. Others choose not to appear in court, either because of hygiene concerns, not wanting to make a bad first impression; an inability to defend themselves in court; or a fear of being taken into custody. Even if they do appear in court, they may be required to pay fines they cannot afford. As a consequence of these unresolved legal issues, they may be prevented from accessing services such as employment assistance, housing, counseling, substance abuse treatment and public assistance.

In 1989, San Diego, California established the first Homeless Court Program in the country in order to help homeless defendants get the help they need to become productive members of society. Open only to defendants accused of misdemeanor violations, instead of fines and custody the defendant is ordered to participate in activities as part of a plan designed by the defendant and a shelter caseworker in order to provide the education, training, counseling, substance abuse treatment, and employment assistance needed so the defendant can become self-sufficient. As of January 2018, there were Homeless Court Programs in several jurisdictions in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Today’s market size is the number of jurisdictions with Homeless Court Programs in the United States according to the American Bar Association (ABA). Although Detroit, Michigan is not mentioned on the ABA website, the Street Outreach Court Detroit (SOCD), modeled after the Ann Arbor Street Outreach Court, became the 23rd homeless court in the United States in June 2012 according to Street Democracy’s website. SOCD may be “the only court that combines criminal and civil pro bono counsel to address legal matters outside the court’s jurisdiction and tracks the long-term success rate of program participants.”1 “Six months after graduating from the program, 97 percent of participants had stable housing, 91 percent had stable income, and 100 percent had no new misdemeanor or felony charges.”2

1 “The Story of SOCD,” Street Democracy available online here.
2 Annessa Morley, “A Positive Ripple Effect,” Wayne State, Fall 2017, page 31 available online here.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2018
Market size: 32
Sources: “Homeless Courts,” American Bar Association, 2018 available online here; Annessa Morley, “A Positive Ripple Effect,” Wayne State, Fall 2017, pages 28-31 available online here; Meghan Henry, et. al., The 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, December 2017 available online here; “The Story of SOCD,” Street Democracy available online here.
Image source: Activedia, “law-justice-court-judge-legal-1063249,” Pixabay, November 26, 2015 available online here.

Pinball Tournaments

Pinball machinesPinball machines have existed in one form or another since the 1930s. Before that, the French game Bagatelle, a predecessor to pinball, was popular in Europe and United States in the 1700s and 1800s. In the early 1930s, there were more than 100 companies manufacturing pinball machines. Before 1947 when the flipper became a part of pinball machines, pinball was considered by some a game of chance—a form of gambling—and was outlawed in many large cities, including Chicago where pinball machines were manufactured. A mayoral commission in New York City in 1941 “declared that pinball could lead youths to a life of crime.”1 The game, however, remained popular, especially in the suburbs.

In 1956 a Federal court ruled that flipper-type pinball games were not a form of gambling and could not be regulated as such. Starting in the 1960s, ordinances banning pinball games were removed, although some bans would remain until the mid-1970s.

The popularity of pinball began to wane in the 1980s due to the emergence of video games. By 1999 there was only one manufacturer of pinball machines, Stern Pinball. Jersey Jack Pinball became another manufacturer in the United States in 2011. The game has become more popular in recent years, and so have pinball tournaments. In 2016 the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) hosted 3,571 tournaments worldwide, attended by more than 91,000 people. In 2008 the IFPA hosted 334 tournaments, attended by 7,436 people.

Today’s market size shows the number of players who attended a tournament in 2008 and 2016, according to the IFPA. Competitors are mostly male (88.4%) and between the ages of 30 and 49 (66.2%). In 2016 tournaments were held in 24 countries. Of the 40 countries with players in the ranking system, the United States has the most by far, 18,924, followed by Canada (2,736), Australia (2,029), France (1,388) and Germany (1,148).

1“Pinball,” How Products Are Made from, Gale Research, Inc., 1996 available online here.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2008 and 2016
Market size: 2,585 and 17,244 respectively
Source: “Players by Year,” International Flipper Pinball Association, 2017 available online here; “Events by Year,” International Flipper Pinball Association, 2017 available online here; “Pinball,” How Products Are Made from, Gale Research, Inc., 1996 available online here; “A Little Pinball History,” Pinball Magazine available online here; Balestier, Courtney, “Inside the Wild Comeback of Tournament Pinball,” CNN, June 9, 2014 available online here; Robach, Amy, “A Look at the Unlikely Resurgence of Pinball in the Mobile Age,” NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, October 1, 2017 available online here; “Players by Country,” International Flipper Pinball Association, 2017 available online here.
Image source: Howzit, Sam, “Pinball Machines at Cedar Point,” Wikimedia Commons, July 10, 2014 available online here.


E-sports tournamentE-sports are tournaments where teams of video game players compete against each other for prize money. Traditionally, fans have watched in person and online on streaming services such as Twitch and BAMTech. As e-sports have become more mainstream, fans are able to watch the tournaments on television channels such as TBS and ESPN also. An estimated 258 million people watched e-sports in 2017, an increase of 20% from 2016, according to SuperData.

Today’s market size shows total revenues earned by e-sports in 2016. Most of the revenues were earned from advertising, ticket sales, and merchandise. According to the source, e-sports is a valuable marketing tool for selling video games. Worldwide video game sales—mobile, computer, and console—in 2016 totaled $83 billion according to SuperData.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2016
Market size: $900 million
Source: “E-sports: Play Time,” The Economist, August 19-25, 2017, page 56; “eSports Market Report,” SuperData Research available online here.
Original source: SuperData
Image source: Yo_Tobimoto 2017_05_20_2GGC Greninja Saga_ (46 of 50) via photopin (license)

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicineTraditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a 2,500-year-old system of diagnosis and treatment that emphasizes the prevention of diseases. TCM medicines are tailored to each individual and may need to be altered from time to time, therefore, patients are encouraged to see their TCM doctor frequently. After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911, TCM was regarded as superstition but in recent years the practice has seen an increase in popularity. An interest in preventative medicine as a way to avoid costly trips to the hospital as well as President Xi Jinping’s endorsement of it, calling it “the gem of Chinese traditional science,” have contributed to its popularity. In 2015 there were 452,000 licensed practitioners in China, an increase of 50% from four years prior. One-third of China’s pharmaceutical market consists of TCM medicines approved by the government.

Today’s market size shows the number of hospitals in China that offered TCM either alone or in conjunction with modern medicine in 2003 and 2015.

Geographic reference: China
Year: 2003 and 2015
Market size: 2,500 and 4,000 respectively
Source: “Health Care With Chinese Characteristics,” The Economist, September 2-8, 2017, pages 37-38.
Image source: mac8739, “chinese-medicine-donguibogam-2178253,” Pixabay, April 2017 available online here.

Employment Websites for Freelancers

Man working with a laptop and notebookAccording to the survey, Freelancing in America: 2016, commissioned by UpWork in partnership with Freelancers Union, 35% of the workforce—55 million people—in the United States were freelancers in 2016. As of June 2017, there were at least 79 active employment websites for freelancers. Employers post jobs they would like to outsource and freelancers apply for or bid on the work. Many of these jobs are temporary, an employer wanting to outsource a particular project for example. Most of the jobs listed on these sites allow the worker to work remotely.

Pricing for these services vary. Some of the firms that run these websites charge employers, freelancers, or both a percentage of the agreed upon hourly wage or fixed-rate salary for the job when a freelancer is hired. Others charge the freelancer a monthly fee or charge employers for posting jobs on their sites. Today’s market size shows the total revenue freelance employment website firms earned in 2016 according to Staffing Industry Analysts, a market research company.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2016
Market size: $6 billion
Sources: “The Human Cumulus,” The Economist, August 26, 2017-September 1, 2017, page 55; “New Study Finds Freelance Economy Grew to 55 Million Americans This Year, 35% of Total U.S. Workforce,” Marketwired Press Release, October 6, 2016 available online here; Muhammed, Abdullahi, “79 Websites to Get Freelance Jobs Fast,” Forbes, June 16, 2017 available online here.
Original source: Staffing Industry Analysts
Image source: StartupStockPhotos, “Office-startup-business-home-office-594132,” Pixabay, January 9, 2015 available online here.

Fountain Pens

Fountain penWith the popularity of tablets and smartphones, one would think that old-fashioned pen and paper would fall out of favor. But worldwide sales of pens and other writing instruments is expected to increase, from $16.2 billion in 2014 to $20.2 billion in 2019 according to the report Global Writing and Marking Instrument Market 2015-2019 by Technavio. Increased population and literacy levels are fueling demand in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In the United States and Europe, luxury pens are in demand as gift items and as fashion accessories. Some brands of luxury pens include Cross, Krone, Parker, Think, and Waterman.

Today’s market size presents the total retail sales of one segment of this market: fountain pens. Global sales of fountain pens increased 2.1% from 2015 to 2016.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2016
Market size: $1 billion
Sources: Thomas, June, “How Nakaya Pens Anticipated The Writing-Tool Renaissance,” Bloomberg Businessweek, August 30, 2017 available online here; Yerak, Becky, “How The Pen Industry Hangs On In A Digital World,” Chicago Tribune, January 29, 2016 available online here.
Original source: Euromonitor International
Image source: Jackmac34, “Pen-fountain-pen-ink-gold-writing-631321,” Pixabay, February 11, 2015 available online here.

Christmas Trees

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Your leaves are faithful ever!
Not only green when summer glows
But in the winter when it snows,

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Your faithful leaves will teach me
That hope and love and constancy
Give joy and peace eternally.

— Partial verses of one version of the song “O Christmas Tree” based on the German song “O Tannenbaum,” composed by Ernst Anschütz in 1824.

The Christmas tree tradition as we know it, with trees brought into the home and decorated, began in Germany in the 16th century. In the 1800s German immigrants brought this tradition to the United States, but the tradition was not accepted by most Americans at the time as they considered a Christmas tree a pagan symbol. Then in 1846, the Illustrated London News published a sketch of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children standing around a Christmas tree. Due to Queen Victoria’s popularity and a desire to emulate the royal family’s customs, the Christmas tree became a popular decoration among high-society families in America.

Starting in 1851 Christmas trees began to be sold commercially in the United States, procured at random from nearby forests. In 1883 Sears, Roebuck & Company began selling artificial Christmas trees. The popularity of real Christmas trees increased across the country in the 1890s, so much so that by the early 1900s the national supply dwindled due to overharvesting.

The first Christmas tree farm was started in 1901, located in New Jersey. In 2012, the last year for which data are available,1 there were a total of 15,494 Christmas tree farms in the United States, down from 17,367 in 2007.

In 2015, 25.9 million real Christmas trees and 12.5 million artificial Christmas trees were sold. Most people who bought real trees bought them from choose and harvest farms, followed by chain stores and nonprofit groups. On average, a real Christmas tree cost $50.82 in 2015, up from $36.50 in 2008. Today’s market sizes show the total amount people spent on Christmas trees in the United States in 2015.

1 2017 data is currently being compiled for the Census of Agriculture by the United States Department of Agriculture. The data will be published starting in February 2019.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2015
Market size: (Real trees) $1.32 billion
Market size: (Artificial trees) $854 million
Sources: “Consumer Survey Results,” National Christmas Tree Association, 2017 available online here; “Table 35. Cut Christmas Trees: 2012 and 2007,” 2012 Census of Agriculture, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, May 2, 2014 available online here; “History of Christmas Trees,”, 2009 available online here; “History of Christmas Trees,” National Christmas Tree Association, 2017 available online here; “O Christmas Tree Version 8,” The Hymns and Carols of Christmas available online here; “O Tannenbaum,” Wikipedia, September 25, 2017 available online here.
Audio source: Modified from Kevin MacLeod, “Oh, Christmas Tree Length: 3 minutes 58 seconds,” available online from Wikimedia Commons here. Originally available online here from License: CC-BY 2.0.

Iran’s Tourism Industry

Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, IranAfter the Iran Nuclear Deal took effect and some sanctions were lifted, Iran saw a surge in tourism, up three-fold since 2009. In the year ending March 2017, more than 6 million tourists visited the country. Many of the tourists were young, individual travelers from Europe and Asia who were interested in Iran’s history and culture. As a result of this influx of tourists, hotel firms from France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates have opened or plan to open hotels there within the next few years.

Today’s market size shows the total amount tourists spent in Iran in 2016, in U.S. dollars.

Geographic reference: Iran
Year: 2016
Market size: $8 billion
Source: Alkhalisi, Zahraa, “Iran’s Tourism Industry is Booming,” CNN Money, September 5, 2017 available online here.
Image source: By seier+seier+seier (friday mosque, isfahan, iran) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Fat Bikes

Not too long ago, Winter and its accompanying snow and ice would force bicyclists to put away their bicycles until Spring. But, in recent years, fat bikes have allowed bicyclists to ride outdoors year-round. Fat bikes have very large tires that provide traction on snow. They first came on the market a decade ago, and have gone mainstream just in the past couple of years, even though a fat bike usually costs more than $1,000. According to Jay Townley, a partner in Gluskin-Townley Group, a consultant and market research company focused on the bicycle industry, “[t]he industry, quite frankly, needed something. If anything, the fat tire bike helped to keep a stable bike industry instead of losing volume.”

Today’s market size shows the total retail sales of fat bikes in the United States in 2016. According to NPD Group, “fat tire bike sales have grown eight-fold in the past three years.”

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2016
Market size: $74.7 million
Source: David Sharp, “Conquer Winter Snow With ‘Fat Bikes’,” Lansing State Journal, March 12, 2017, page 5D
Original source: NPD Group
Image source: Marn, Peter, “Bicycle-bicycle-tire-fat-186057,” Pexels available online here.