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.

Wheel Sports

In the United States, more than 52 million people age 6 and above participated in wheel sports, defined as bicycling and skateboarding, in 2016. The vast majority, 45.8 million, were bicyclists; 6.4 million were skateboarders. Among bicyclists, 3.8% participated in BMX, 18.8% participated in mountain biking or rode primarily on non-paved surfaces, and the rest, 77.4%, rode their bikes primarily on roads and other paved surfaces.

Today’s market size shows the total amount spent by wheel sports participants on trip-related expenses, gear, accessories, and vehicles in 2016. Trip-related expenses made up more than 85% of the total. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, spending on wheel sports supports more than 847,000 jobs and $28.5 billion in salaries and wages. Wheel sports spending also generates more than $13.2 billion in Federal, state and local taxes annually.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2016
Market size: $96.7 billion
Source: The Outdoor Recreation Economy, Outdoor Industry Association, April 2017, page 18 available online here; Outdoor Participation Report 2017, Outdoor Foundation, August 7, 2017, page 37 available online here.
Image source: StockSnap, “Mountain-travel-trip-adventure-2605151”, Pixabay, August 2017, available online here.


In 1816, cranberries began being commercially cultivated in the United States. Centuries before that Native Americans gathered wild cranberries for food, dye, and medicine. Pemmican—a mixture of cranberries, dried deer meat, and fat tallow that would last for months—provided a reliable source of protein and fat. Pemmican became a food staple of fur traders, essential to their survival on long journeys during the winter.

The colonists used cranberries in recipes they were familiar with from their native countries, substituting cranberries for the sour fruit called for in these recipes. In the 1620s, after the British brought honeybees to North America, a consistent supply of sweetener was available and cranberries began being used in pies, tarts, and cranberry sauce that was mostly eaten with white meats such as turkey. Although the commercial canning of cranberries began in 1912, the canned, gelatinous cranberry sauce that most Americans are familiar with did not become popular until 1940.

In 2012, the last year for which data are available,1 there were a total of 1,040 cranberry bogs and marshes in the United States, down from 1,134 in 2007. However, total acreage increased from 41,310 in 2007 to 43,918 in 2012. Most of the cranberries produced in the United States come from Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington State. In 2016, 35% of the cranberries harvested were sold overseas; a decade ago, 10% were. According to Kellyanne Dignan, senior manager of corporate communications at Ocean Spray Cranberries, more than 70% of U.S. shoppers who buy fresh cranberries use them for sauce for a holiday meal.

Today’s market size shows the number of pounds of processed and fresh cranberries sold in 2006 and 2015. Per capita, consumption of fresh cranberries remained flat between 0.08 and 0.10 pounds during this time period. However, processed cranberry consumption reached a high of 1.98 pounds per person in 2006, dropped to a low of 1.67 pounds in 2012, then increased yearly up to 1.93 pounds per person 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: 2006 and 2015
Market size: (Processed cranberry sales) 5,909,755 pounds and 6,203,247 pounds respectively
Market size: (Fresh cranberry sales) 258,454 pounds and 270,229 pounds respectively
Sources: “Report – Per Capita Cranberry Consumption,” U.S. Cranberries, Cranberry Marketing Committee, 2017 available online here; Whitman-Salkin, Sarah, “Cranberries, a Thanksgiving Staple, Were a Native American Superfood,” National Geographic, November 28, 2013 available online here; Blakemore, Erin, “A Brief History of Cranberries,”, November 25, 2015 available online here; “Table 40. Berries: 2012 and 2007,” 2012 Census of Agriculture, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, May 2, 2014 available online here; “Cranberries,” United States Department of Agriculture, Economics, Statistics and Market Information System, August 10, 2017 available online here; Offner, Jim, “Marketers See Retail as Sweet Spot for Cranberry Sales,” The Packer, September 2, 2016 available online here; Offner, Jim, “Export Market Continues to Grow for Cranberry Industry,” The Packer, September 4, 2016 available online here; “Frequently Asked Questions,” USDA Census of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, June 16, 2017 available online here.
Image source: alex80, “Cranberries-berry-red-vitamin-1714174,” Pixabay, August 2016 available online here.


America Recycles Day was started in 1997 by the National Recycling Coalition. Since 2009, it has been a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful. Events are held around the country to educate people about recycling not only for its positive effects on our environment but also for its importance to our economy. According to Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, of Keep America Beautiful, “America Recycles Day helps to shine a light on our ongoing efforts to educate and inspire people to reduce, reuse and recycle, and when they buy, to buy products made from sustainable and recycled materials.”

On November 13, 2015, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring November 15 America Recycles Day:

Every American has a role to play in preserving our planet for future generations. Being good stewards of our environment and protecting our natural resources are imperative tasks for ensuring our children and grandchildren live in a clean and sustainable world, and recycling is a pivotal way each of us can do our part. Today, we acknowledge the importance of reusing materials and reducing consumption, and we recognize that a recycling bin may often be a better alternative to a garbage can.

Each year, as much energy is saved recycling and composting as is consumed by 10 million American households. …

Recycling is one way all people can join in the effort of maintaining a sustainable society. Reusing goods and reducing consumption, in addition to donating old or unwanted materials, can have significant impacts on the earth, as well. …

Communities across America must continue promoting activities that encourage people to recycle and to conserve so we do not take for granted today the world our children will inherit tomorrow. We owe it to them to leave behind a stable, secure planet, and that begins with preserving the natural blessings of our Nation. On this day, let us work to fulfill our obligation to our next generation by safeguarding our resources and working with our friends, family, and neighbors to protect the world we share.

On this America Recycles Day we’re recycling our blog post from July 21, 2017, titled Recyclable Materials:

Recycling is beneficial for the environment. It keeps materials out of landfills and helps to reduce the need for harvesting materials from the natural environment. When cities first started recycling programs the assumption was that the cost of the collection and sorting of the materials would be covered by the proceeds of the sale of those materials. In recent years this has not been the case. The value of some materials has dropped dramatically while the cost of recovering them has risen.

Reclaimed paper, a once valuable commodity that was in high demand by the newspaper industry, is one of these materials. As print newspaper circulation dropped dramatically, so did the need for reclaimed paper. Reclaimed plastics is another of these materials. As oil prices remain low, it’s less expensive for manufacturers to make products from new plastic than it is for them to use reclaimed plastic. Since much of the reclaimed materials in the United States are sent overseas, recent legislative action by some countries limiting the amount of imported reclaimed materials has also negatively affected the market making it more difficult to sell such materials.

Today’s market size is the value of a ton of mixed recyclable material for 2011, 2015 and an estimated value for 2017.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2011, 2015 and 2017
Market size: $180, $80, and just shy of $100 per ton of mixed recyclable material respectively.
Sources: Paul Singer, “Recycling Market in a Heap of Trouble,” USA Today for the Lansing State Journal, April 21, 2017, page B1; Obama, Barack, “Presidential Proclamation — America Recycles Day, 2015,” The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, November 13, 2015 available online here; Pulley, Brenda, “America Recycles Day Marks 20th Anniversary, Focuses Nation’s Attention on Recycling Every Day,” Keep America Beautiful Press Release, November 2, 2017 available online here; “America Recycles Day,” National Day Calendar available online here.
Image source: 9355, “recycle-reuse-recycling-recyclable-57136,” Pixabay, September 20, 2012 available online here.


This week many hunters across Michigan are preparing to fan out across the state as regular firearm hunting season begins November 15. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, more than 700,000 hunters in Michigan spent $2.3 billion on trip-related expenses and equipment in 2011, the last year for which data are available.

Across the United States, in 2016, there were nearly 15.5 million hunters. Today’s market size shows the total amount these hunters spent on trip-related expenses (58.7%) and gear, accessories, and vehicles (41.3%). According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, hunting in the United States directly supports nearly 195,000 jobs and $7.4 billion in salaries and wages. Hunting also generates nearly $3.5 billion in Federal, state and local taxes annually.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2016
Market size: $27.4 billion
Source: The Outdoor Recreation Economy, Outdoor Industry Association, April 2017, page 18 available online here; Outdoor Participation Report 2017, Outdoor Foundation, August 7, 2017, page 37 available online here; “About the DNR,” Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 2017 available online here.
Original source: National Shooting Sports Foundation
Image source: JamesDeMers, “Hunter-deer-hunting-rifle-67002,” Pixabay, November 23, 2012 available online here.

Canadian Icewine Exports

Canadian icewineThe Canadian winemaking industry goes back more than 200 years to the early 1800s when Johann Schiller began growing hybridized grapes and making his own wine in Ontario’s Niagara region. The first commercial winery opened in 1866 on Pelee Island. In 1890 there were 41 commercial wineries in Canada, most in Ontario. By 2011 there were 476. Four years later that number grew to 604. Domestic sales of Canadian wines in 2015-2016 were C$2.1 billion. Exports were valued at nearly C$74 million in 2015.

Icewine, a dessert wine that is made exclusively from grapes that are naturally frozen on the vine, began to be produced commercially in Canada in 1978. In 1991 Inniskillin Winery’s 1989 Vidal Icewine won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Bordeaux’s VinExpo, bringing international recognition to Canada’s icewine industry. Currently, Canada is the largest consistent producer of icewine in the world.

Today’s market size shows the value and volume of Canadian icewine exports in 2011 and 2015. More than a third of icewine exports went to China in 2015, followed by the United States (23.5%), South Korea (13.2%), the United Kingdom (6.5%), and Hong Kong (6.1%). In all in 2015 Canada exported icewine to 31 countries around the world. Although the value and volume of icewine exports have increased during the 2011 to 2015 time period, as a percentage of total wine exports, the value and volume have decreased. In 2011, icewine was 36.2% of total wine export value; in 2015, 25.1%. In 2011, icewine made up 0.84% of total wine exports by volume. In 2015, that dropped to 0.32%.

Geographic reference: Canada
Year: 2011 and 2015
Market size: C$13,354,174 and C$18,623,057 respectively
Market size: 181,093 liters and 234,604 liters respectively
Sources: “Canadian Icewine Exports 2011-2015,” Canadian Vintners Association, August 2016 available online here; “Canadian Icewine Exports – Top 10 Markets in 2015,” Canadian Vintners Association, August 2016 available online here; “Canadian Wine Exports 2011-2015,” Canadian Vintners Association, August 2016 available online here; Statistics Canada, “Table 183-0024 – Sales of Alcoholic Beverages of Liquor Authorities and Other Retail Outlets, by Value, Volume, and Beverage Type, Annual,” CANSIM, May 1, 2017 available online here; “Key Dates & Statistics,” Robert A Bell’s Wines of Canada available online here; “Canadian Icewine,” Canadian Vintners Association, 2016 availalble online here; “The Beginning of Wine Making in Canada,” Robert A Bell’s Wines of Canada, 2014 available online here; “History of Icewines,” Robert A Bell’s Wines of Canada, 2012 available online here; “Industry Statistics,” Canadian Vintners Association available online here; “Canadian Wine and Grape Industry Economic Impact 2015 Fact Sheet,” Canadian Vintners Association, March 2017 available online here.
Image source: Hatfield, Craig, “Icewine From The Niagara Region,” Wikimedia Commons, February 2, 2008 available online here. Use of image does not constitute endorsement of brand shown.


According to, Halloween is one of the top 5 busiest days for pizza sales at pizzerias in the United States. The convenience of picking up a ready-made pizza for dinner, or having one delivered, leaves families more free time to prepare for trick-or-treating. In addition, pizza is an often-served and welcome meal at Halloween parties across the country. Forty-one percent of consumers polled for Technomic’s 2016 Pizza Consumer Report said they eat pizza once a week. Two years ago 26% did.

Today’s market size shows total pizza sales at pizzerias in the United States for the year ending September 30, 2016. However, pizza is not only consumed in the United States. Worldwide, pizza sales totaled $128 billion in 2016. The top 3 regions of the world in terms of sales were Western Europe ($47 billion), North America ($45 billion), and Latin America ($13 billion) according to Euromonitor International. Latin America is expected to see a 45% growth in pizza sales through 2020, followed by China (31%) and the Asia-Pacific region (26%).

Geographic reference: United States
Year: Year ending September 30, 2016
Market size: $44 billion
Source: Hynum, Rick, “Pizza Power Report 2017 – A State of the Industry Report,” PMQ, December 2016 available online here; Hobson, Alex, “Halloween is One of the Top Selling Days for Pizzerias,” ABC Action News, WFTS Tampa Bay, October 31, 2013, updated November 1, 2013 available online here.
Original sources: Euromonitor International, CHD Expert, Technomic
Image source: Riedelmeier, “Pizza-stone-oven-pizza-stone-oven-1344720,” Pixabay, March 28, 2016 available online here.

Online Grocery-Delivery Services

For many years people have been buying books, clothing, and housewares online. Why not groceries? The grocery industry in the United States generates more than $600 billion in sales. Nearly everyone shops for groceries and an overwhelming majority shop for groceries at least once a week. Online grocery-shopping services offer the consumer convenience, but many times this convenience comes at a price. Because the consumer is paying someone else to shop for them, in order to pay these employees companies may charge higher prices for the groceries themselves and charge for shipping or delivery. Also, the consumer has to trust that the online grocery-shopping service employees will select the best produce, meat, and other perishable items and deliver them to their door in a timely manner and in good condition.

Despite many of the drawbacks, consumers are spending billions shopping online for groceries. Today’s market size is the total amount consumers in the United States spent online for groceries in 2016, a more than 160% increase in spending over 2015. Also included are projected sales figures for 2025.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2016 and 2025
Market size: $42 billion and more than $100 billion respectively
Sources: Trejos, Nancy, “Hotels Find Alternatives to Room Service,” USA TODAY for the Lansing State Journal, August 14, 2017, page 5B; Kestenbaum, Richard, “Why Online Grocers are So Unsuccessful and What Amazon is Doing About It,” Forbes, January 16, 2017 available online here.
Original source: Morgan Stanley
Image source: JoyintheCommonplace, “List-plan-phone-to-do-list-1474674,” Pixabay, June 23, 2016 available online here. Original image has been modified.

Craft Beer in Michigan

From 2012 to 2016, the number of craft breweries in the United States more than doubled from 2,420 to 5,234. In 2016, sales of craft beer made up 22%—$23.5 billion—of the overall beer market.

Today’s market size shows the number of craft breweries in Michigan and the number of gallons of beer they produced in 2016.

Geographic reference: Michigan
Year: 2016
Market size: 205 craft breweries produced 769,897 gallons of craft beer
Sources: Dillon Davis, “Standing Tall,” Lansing State Journal, April 23, 2017, page 3P; “Number of Breweries,” 2017 available online here.
Original source: Brewers Association
Image source: Tookapic, “Beer-glass-drink-beverage-alcohol-932320,” Pixabay, September 28, 2015 available online here.

International Data Flow

The World Wide Web. A decentralized network of data stored on servers all around the world. But many countries—China, Russia, Germany, and Belgium, to name a few—are enacting laws requiring multinational companies to store and process country-specific data on local servers. According to the source, relaxing such restrictions has become a priority of President Donald Trump’s administration as they negotiate trade agreements, including the upcoming renegotiation of NAFTA.

Proponents of these laws say that having their users’ data stored locally aids in cyber security. Opponents say that storing data on local servers is more expensive, especially for small to medium sized companies. High tech companies worry about having their source codes stolen. Some companies worry that governments or political groups will use the data stored on these servers for illegitimate reasons. And many argue that limiting data flow also limits job growth and innovation. According to Nigel Cory, a trade policy analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, “data needs to flow to create value.”

Today’s market size is the estimated value of data flowing through international borders in 2014, according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2014
Market size: $2.8 trillion
Sources: Yu, Roger, “More Firms Push Back on Foreign Data Rule,” USA TODAY for the Lansing State Journal, August 13, 2017, page 4B
Original source: Manyika, James, et. al., Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows, McKinsey Global Insitute, February 2016 available online here.
Image source: Geralt, “Binary-hands-keyboard-tap-enter-2372131,” Pixabay, June 2017 available online here.

“Legal” Marijuana Market

Although the Federal government considers possession of marijuana illegal and classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, one that has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” according to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, all but eleven of the 50 states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana at the state level. As of the end of 2016, twenty-four states have legalized some form of medical marijuana and eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. While the legalization of marijuana for recreational use is a new phenomenon—Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize this activity in 2012—decriminalization at the state level began in 1973 and California was the first to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Despite legalizing this drug, some states and municipalities are struggling with how to regulate this new industry. In Michigan, where medical marijuana has been legal since 2008, the governor didn’t sign legislation to regulate the industry until September 2016. Under the new regulations, the House Fiscal Agency estimates that annual medical marijuana sales will total $771 million, generating $21.3 million in state tax revenue. Michigan has 244,125 registered medical marijuana users and 40,702 registered caregivers.

Today’s market size shows the amount of revenue generated from legal medicinal and recreational marijuana sales in the United States in 2016 and projected sales for 2021.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2016 and 2021
Market size: $6.8 billion and $21.6 billion respectively
Sources: Kathleen Gray and Paul Egan, “Medical Pot Laws Creating a Frenzy,” Lansing State Journal, March 26, 2017, pages 1A, 15A and 17A; “Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction,” Wikipedia, available online here; “Timeline of Cannabis Laws in the United States,” Wikipedia, available online here; “Drug Schedules,” United States Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Department of Justice, available online here.
Original source: Arcview Market Research
Image source: Rexmedlen, “Cannabis-hemp-marijuana-1382955,” Pixabay, May 12, 2016 available online here.

College Football Guarantee Games

College football guarantee games are mostly non-conference games arranged by contract among opponent schools, in most cases many years in advance. These contracts involve payment to one or both of the schools involved. While these types of games have been in existence for many years, payments have skyrocketed in the past decade and a half from several hundred thousand dollars per contract to several million dollars per contract.

In some cases, larger schools hand-pick their opponents, sometimes smaller schools that they’re presumably likely to beat, while paying the smaller schools an amount more than the revenue the smaller schools are likely to earn by ticket and merchandise sales. In other cases, matchups are chosen based on the strength of both teams, thereby giving their schedule a presumed advantage with the College Football Playoff selection committee. A matchup between two strong teams may also generate more revenue from fans and higher ratings from television broadcasts.

Today’s market size is the estimated amount of money exchanged during the regular 2017 college football season for guarantee games involving teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). In 2017 there were more than 200 guarantee game contracts with teams in the FBS.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2017
Market size: More than $150 million
Source: Berkowitz, Steve, “Guarantee Games Grow in Stature,” USA TODAY for the Lansing State Journal, August 30, 2017, page 5C.
Original source: USA TODAY Sports
Image source: Skeeze, “Football-american-scrimmage-line-557206,” Pixabay, December 9, 2014 available online here.


Several decades ago thrifting—shopping at used merchandise stores—was associated with poverty. More recently while some continue to shop at used merchandise stores to save money, many see thrifting as a lifestyle choice, a way to find inexpensive, unique pieces for their wardrobe or to find pieces to repurpose for do-it-yourself projects. The younger generation, especially, has embraced thrifting. Perhaps as a reflection of that, the 2012 Macklemore song “Thrift Shop” became a hit. The official music video on YouTube, as of May 2017, had more than 1 billion views and more than 5 million likes.

The total revenue of used merchandise stores in the United States is today’s market size.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2017
Market size: $17 billion
Source: Princess Gabbara, “How Thrifting Became Chic,” Lansing State Journal, May 7, 2017, pages 1D, 5D; Ryan Lewis, “Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop Feat. Wanz (Official Video),” YouTube, August 29, 2012 available online here.
Original source: Dun & Bradstreet
Image source: PublicDomainPictures, “second-hand-sign-thrift-shop-20113,” Pixabay, March 1, 2012 available online here.


According to a July 2016 article in The Wall Street Journal, audiobooks are the fastest-growing format in publishing. From 2014 to 2015, sales increased 20.7 percent and unit sales grew 24.1 percent.

Several factors may have contributed to this increase in sales. First, there are more ways consumers can listen to audiobooks: mobile devices, such as smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets; in-car devices, such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; and in-home devices, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Second, obtaining audiobooks has become easier. Libraries offer digital downloads of audiobooks as do subscription audiobook services and services such as Apple iTunes and Google Play which allow instant access to whatever the consumer wants to read at that moment. Also, according to Ian Small, CEO of, the popularity of podcasting has influenced the millennial generation’s new-found interest in audiobooks.

Today’s market size is the total sales of audiobooks in 2015, 90.4 percent of which is made up of adult titles, with a bit more than three-quarters of that being adult fiction.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2015
Market size: $1.77 billion
Sources: Bacon, Beth, “Trending Up: What’s Fueling and Feeding the Audiobook Boom?” DBW, April 11, 2017, available online here; Maloney, Jennifer, “The Fastest-Growing Format in Publishing: Audiobooks,” The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2016, available online here.
Original source: Audio Publishing Association

Back-to-College Spending

According to the National Center for Education Statistics fall college enrollment in 2010 was 21.0 million. Enrollment declined to 20.2 million in 2014 but is projected to increase to 20.9 million in 2017. Today’s market size shows the total amount spent on back-to-college items by students and their families in 2010, 2014 and 2017. The figure for 2017 is projected. In 2017, back-to-college shoppers plan on spending the most on electronics ($12.8 billion), followed by clothing ($8.0 billion) and snacks and other food items ($7.5 billion). Spending on dorm and apartment furnishings came in fourth at $5.9 billion. Spending on school supplies ranked seventh at $3.9 billion.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2010, 2014 and 2017 projected
Market size: $45.88 billion, $48.48 billion and $54.18 billion respectively
Sources: Smith, Ana Serafin, “Back-to-School and Back-to-College Spending to Reach $83.6 Billion,” National Retail Federation Press Release, July 13, 2017 available online here; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, “Table 303.10. Total Fall Enrollment in Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions, by Attendance Status, Sex of Student, and Control of Institution: Selected Years, 1947 through 2025,” Digest of Education Statistics: 2015, December 2016 available online here.
Original source: Prosper Insights & Analytics