Recreational Vehicles

Low gas prices, favorable interest rates, and a renewed interest in the outdoors are fueling record sales of recreational vehicles (RVs). In addition, more people in their 20s and 30s are interested in buying RVs. Trailers, which make up 87% of the RVs sold, appeal more to Millenials who prefer something less expensive for weekend trips. Baby Boomers, in contrast, prefer buying motorhomes in order to spend most of their retirement years traveling. In 2016, a record number of RVs were shipped, more than 430,000. Manufacturers expect a 3.6% increase in shipments in 2017.

Today’s market size is the estimated total retail value of all RVs that will be sold in the United States in 2017.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2017
Market size: $18.5 billion (estimated)
Source: Diana Kruzman, “Millennials Fuel Growth in RV Sales,” USA Today for the Lansing State Journal, May 26, 2017, page B4.
Original source: Recreational Vehicle Industry Association

Public Transportation in the Lansing, Michigan Area

The Capital Area Transit Authority (CATA) is the largest public transit provider in the tri-county area around Lansing, Michigan. The tri-county area consists of Ingham, Clinton, and Eaton counties. CATA has been operating public transportation in the mid-Michigan area since 1972 and has been twice named the best transit system of its size in North America by the American Public Transportation Association.

Ridership grew steadily during the 1970s, before leveling off during the 1980s and most of the 1990s. During the 1980s and 1990s, the number of rides fluctuated around 3-4 million annually. In 1999, CATA took over the Michigan State University bus service. Since then ridership has increased nearly 3-fold. In contrast, the population of the tri-county area grew by 22.6% from 1970 to 2010.

In 2013, CATA set a fourth consecutive yearly record for number of rides. By 2014, however, ridership was down overall despite seeing increased ridership on its Michigan State University routes and increased requests for its paratransit services. In the fourth quarter of 2014, gasoline prices fell which could account for the decreased ridership. Gasoline prices remained low in 2015. Nationally, according to the American Public Transportation Association, total passenger trips declined by 3.5 percent from October 2015 to December 2015. CATA reported a 1 percent decline in ridership in 2015 relative to the close of 2014.

Today’s market size represents the number of rides annually on CATA vehicles in 1972 and 2015.

Geographic reference: Lansing, Michigan area
Year: 1972 and 2015
Market size: Less than 1 million rides and 11.43 million rides respectively
Sources: “National Trend Leaves Its Mark on Ridership,” CATA 2016 Community Report, June 2016, page 3; “Ridership Trends Vary by Service Type”, CATA 2015 Community Report: Where Public Transportation Goes Community Grows, June 2015, page 3; “Passenger Trips Reflect Stable Demand”, CATA 2014 Community Report: Moving You Forward With Pride, June 2014, page 3; “Growth in Ridership Remains Strong”, CATA 2013 Community Report: Moving You Toward Your Dreams, June 2013, page 4; “Riding High with Record Ridership,” CATA 2012 Community Report 40th Anniversary Edition: Greater Lansing on the Move, August 2012; “CATA Demand Grows with Community Need,” CATA 2011 Community Report: Greater Lansing on the Move, August 2011; Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, “Tri-County Regional Growth: Choices for Our Future,” Draft Report, August 2002 available online here; “Ingham County, Michigan” available online here; “Clinton County, Michigan” available online here; and “Eaton County, Michigan” available online here.

Youth Sports Tourism

An estimated 35 million children in the United States between the ages of 5 and 18 play organized sports every year. Of those, 21 million play non-school youth sports, which include baseball, soccer, lacrosse, rowing, hockey, volleyball, and gymnastics. These non-school groups are organized through local programs, such as Little League, or through sports clubs.

Unlike school-sponsored sports, in which teams usually travel by bus from one local school to another for games and tournaments, non-school sports games and tournaments may be held either across town or across the country. Parents are expected to spend the time and money to take their children to these events. Because of the money families spend while at these far away locations, more cities are planning to build sports complexes to attract youth sports tournaments.

Today’s market size is an estimate of the total spent in 2013 by families in the United States on travel for youth sports, including hotels, restaurants, and shopping. This category of tourism—Youth Sports Tourism—didn’t even exist a few years ago but is now one that is keenly tracked by industry observers and chambers of commerce.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2013
Market size: $7 billion
Source: Mark Koba, “Spending Big on Kids’ Sports? You’re Not Alone,” CNBC.com, January 13, 2014, available online here.
Original source: Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission
Posted on January 16, 2014

Map Apps

According to IHS Automotive, one in four U.S. cars now comes with a navigation system. Globally, installations of dashboard navigation systems are estimated to reach 13.8 million by the end of 2013. Typically, automakers charge between $500 to more than $2,000 for these systems. Even standalone GPS systems tend to cost hundreds of dollars. In addition to high cost, these systems come preloaded with maps and are not connected to the internet, thereby making them more difficult to update. In some cases, a trip to the dealership is necessary.

In contrast, smartphone and tablet map apps are internet-connected, easy to update, often give real-time traffic information and in some cases can be downloaded for free. In 2012, 47% of car owners said that they used a smartphone map app while driving, up from 37% in 2011. Makers of dashboard navigation systems have taken notice. General Motors’ OnStar, Garmin, and TomTom all have created map apps of their own, ranging in price from $36 to $150. In some cases, these apps run both on mobile devices and on a car’s dashboard.

Today’s market size is the number of map app downloads in the U.S. in May 2013, an 11% increase from the total downloaded in May 2012.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: May 2013
Market size: 79.1 million
Source: Keith Naughton, “OnStar, Garmin Try to Keep Pace with Waze, Other Free Navigation Apps,” Bloomberg Businessweek, July 25, 2013, available online here.
Original source: ComScore
Posted on August 13, 2013

Marathon Races

By way of tipping our hat to one of our own who ran a half marathon over the weekend past, today’s market size report is all about marathon races run in the United States. While still an elite group, marathon running has been gaining in popularity over the last two decades and the number of races has been growing steadily.

Congratulations, Bob!

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2000 and 2011
Market size: Marathon races, 300 and 720 respectively
Market size: Number of runners who finished a marathon: 353,000 and 518,000 respectively
Source: Running USA’s Annual Marathon Report, February 26, 2012, available online here.
Original source: Running USA
Now, how shall we categorize this entry… hmm…?
Posted on June 4, 2012

The Business of Weddings

Today’s market size is an estimate of the size of the entire wedding industry in the United States—we take some license in using the word “industry” here. The things included in measuring the size of the wedding industry are many, from planning, apparel and jewelry through the ceremony, flowers, food, reception and honeymoon.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2010
Market size: $47.2 billion
Source: Toon Van Beeck and George Van Horn, “Wedding Bells are Ringing,” The RMA Journal, December 2010-January 2011, page 22-27, available online here.
Original source: IBISWorld
Posted on October 5, 2011

U.S. Airlines

miles and operating revenue

The graphic to the right presents both passenger miles of travel provided by U.S. airlines between 1990 and 2008 and operating revenues in those years. The picture this graph presents is a pleasant one with both measures rising pretty steadily over the period shown, with the notable exception of 2001 and 2002, the years for which the terrorist attacks of 2001 had the greatest impact on air travel. However, the airline business is a complicated business. As it turns out, over this same 19 year period, the industry as a whole suffered cumulative losses of $45.3 billion.

Today’s market size is the operating revenue earned by Airlines in 2008, a year in which the industry had losses of $23 billion. Running an airline is a complicated business to be sure.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008
Market size: $186.12 billion
Source: “Table 1073. U.S. Scheduled Ariline Industry — Summary: 1995 to 2009,” Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, page 677 and earlier editions. A PDF of page 677 of the work is available here. “Table 1-37: U.S. Passenger-Miles (Millions),” from the national transportation statistics available here.
Original source: U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Census Bureau
Posted on September 30, 2011

Air Travel Globally

Despite the dramatic declines in air travel for several years following the terrorist attacks in 2001, over the last decade, humans have been flying more and more. Worldwide, approximately 513 million passengers traveled by air in 1991 and by 2007 that figure had quadrupled, reaching 2,076 million.

Today’s market size is the value of the global airline business in 2007 and a forecast of the value in the year 2012. What is not evident from these revenue based figures is the fact that airlines, despite their growth, have not added up to a profitable business sector. In fact, since deregulation in the United States in 1978, airlines as a whole have lost money.

Geographic reference: World
Year: Forecast for 2007 and forecast for 2012
Market size: $430 billion and $711 billion respectively
Source: “The Global Airline Industry Will Reach a Value of $711 Billion in 2012, Forecasts New Report,” a press release dated March 14, 2009, announcing the publication of a market report being offered through a web service called “Report Buyer.” The press release is available here. The original report is titled Airlines: Global Industry Guide.
Original source: Datamonitor
Posted on September 16, 2011

Visitors to Midtown Detroit

In recent years, Midtown Detroit has seen an economic revival. The area is a major destination for visitors to Detroit. The number one destination is the main branch of the Detroit Public Library, followed by The Detroit Institute of Arts across the street. Data show the annual number of visitors.

Geographic reference: Midtown Detroit, Michigan
Year: 2010
Market size: Nearly 1.9 million people
Source: Doug McInnis, “Talk of the Town: Midtown Detroit Undergoes an Economic Revival,” Wayne State, July 2011, pages 10-19
Original source: University Cultural Center Association.

“Green” Commuting

Ways to commute to work

Whenever we hear about the rising price of oil, most of us immediately worry about the increased cost for the gasoline we put in our vehicles to get us to and from work each day. But for some of us, this is not a worry. Although still a small percentage of the working population as a whole, increasing numbers of workers are choosing to bicycle or walk to work. And, some of us who are able are choosing to work from home, thereby not commuting at all. The data show the number of workers 16 years old and over who bicycle or walk to work and those that work from home. Numbers in parentheses represent the percentage of the working population as a whole.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2000 and 2009
Market size: Bicycle to work — 566,384 (0.4%) and 831,551 (0.6%) respectively
Market size: Walk to work — 3,417,080 (2.7%) and 4,019,162 (2.9%) respectively
Market size: Work from home — 4,009,006 (3.2%) and 5,959,448 (4.3%) respectively
Source: American Community Survey, various dates, available online here.
Original source: U.S. Census Bureau

Airline Industry Worldwide

At the Show in 2009

Today’s market size is the estimated net profits of the worldwide airline industry. The Paris Air Show is being celebrated this week and the press coverage of this important aerospace industry show is providing many interesting glimpses of the industry. The most recent recession combined with high energy costs hit the airline industry hard, causing two years of losses. Financial returns in 2010 represent a return to profitability for the industry as a whole. The mood is good at this year’s Paris Air Show as aircraft manufacturers are hopeful that orders will be healthy this year.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2010
Market size: $18 billion (Global airline industry net profits)
Source: Nicole Clark, “At the Paris Air Show, Anticipating a Surge in Sales,” The New York Times, June 18, 2011, page B1. The image used above is from the Paris Air Show website, here.

Truck Border Crossings into the U.S. from Mexico

Four U.S. states share a land border with Mexico over which a great deal of commerce enters the United States by truck. The measurement presented here is the number of truckloads entering the United States from Mexico in 2009. Texas is the state through which the largest number of trucks cross the U.S.–Mexican border.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2009
Market size: 4,291,000 crossings
Source: “Table 3-18: Incoming Truck Crossings, U.S. – Mexican Border: 2002–2009,” State Transportation Statistics 2009, page C-14.
Original source: Research and Innovation Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation

Truck Border Crossings into the U.S. from Canada

Ten U.S. states share a land border with Canada over which a great deal of commerce enters the United States by truck. The measurement presented here is the number of truckloads entering the United States from Canada in 2009. Michigan is the state through which the largest number of trucks cross the border.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2009
Market size: 5,021,000 crossings
Source: “Table 3-12: Incoming Truck Crossings, U.S. – Canadian Border: 2002–2009,” State Transportation Statistics 2009, page C-12.
Original source: Research and Innovation Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation

Bridges

The total number of road bridges presented in this market size post can be broken down by whether these are rural bridges or urban area bridges. Rural bridges make up 74% of the total and urban bridges 26%. According to the source, nearly a quarter of these bridges are in poor shape, defined as either structurally deficient or, more ominously, functionally obsolete.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2009
Market size: 601,078 bridges
Source: “Table 1-5: Number of Road Bridges by Functional System: 2009,” State Transportation Statistics 2009, page A-5.
Original source: Research and Innovation Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation

Roads in Texas

As a nation of heavy drivers, it is not surprising that we have an awful lot of paved roads. And in this nation of drivers, the largest state in terms of the number of miles of paved roads is Texas. While Alaska is the state with the larger geographical area, it is sparsely populated compared to Texas, the state with the second largest number of square miles.

Geographic reference: Texas
Year: 2008
Market size: 306,404 miles
Source: “Table 1-1: Public Road Length, Miles by Functional Systems: 2008,” State Transportation Statistics 2009, page A-1.
Original source: Research and Innovation Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation

Vehicle Registrations

Here, we look at automobile registrations as well as light truck registrations. These vehicles are used for both personal and commercial purposes but can be seen as primarily vehicles for personal use.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008
Market size: Automobiles, 137.1 million and Light Trucks, 101.2 million
Source: “United States Fast Facts,” State Transportation Statistics 2009, page V.
Original source: Research and Innovation Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation

Motorcycle Travel

This past decade or so has seen increased number of passenger-miles traveled by motorcycle in the United States. Yet a closer look at the data shows that since the number of motorcycles registered rose at a faster rate (81%) than did the passenger-miles traveled (59%) between 2000 and 2008, each bike, on average, actually traveled slightly fewer miles in 2008 than it did in 2000. Motorcycle registrations in the United States numbered 4.3 million in 2000 and 7.8 million in 2008.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2000 and 2008
Market size: 11,516 and 18,395 million passenger-miles respectively
Source: “Table 1-37: U.S. Passenger Miles (Millions),” Bureau of Transporation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics, available online here.

Rail Travel in the United States

Passanger-Miles on Rail

Today is another day of travel for millions of Americans as they head home after the Thanksgiving Holiday. So, here’s another market size related to travel, this time, travel by rail. Rail passenger-miles are presented here for intercity rail commuting. These data do not include commuter rail within a metropolitan area. This mode of transportation saw a sharp decline in the 1960s, a decline which had been in progress through the entirety of the 20th century. The chart shows passenger-miles traveled by rail each decade since 1960. This chart shows quite a different pattern than is seen when charting all other passenger travel modes tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. A few days ago, we charted air travel passenger-miles, by way of comparison.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008
Market size: 6,179 million passenger-miles
Source: “Table 1-37: U.S. Passenger Miles (Millions),” Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics, available online here.

Highway Miles Driven

During this holiday week in which many people will be traveling, we present some market sizes for travel, measured in the number of passenger-miles traveled by different modes of transportation. Today, the miles we travel on highways in passenger cars (56.8% of the total), motorcycles (0.4% of total) and what the Department of Transportation calls “other 2-axle, 4-tire vehicles” (42.8% of total).

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008
Market size: 4,493 billion passenger-miles
Source: “Table 1-37: U.S. Passenger Miles (Millions),” Bureau of Transporation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics, available online here.

Miles Traveled by Air

Air Miles Traveled
During this holiday week in which many people will be traveling, we present some market sizes for travel, measured in the number of passenger-miles traveled by different modes of transportation. Today we look at air travel. Air carrier passenger-miles are computed by summing the products of the aircraft-miles flown on each inter airport segment multiplied by the number of passengers carried on that segment. Air travel has seen steady growth over the years as can be seen in the chart, produced with data in the source listed below.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008
Market size: 583,506 million passenger-miles
Source: “Table 1-37: U.S. Passenger Miles (Millions),” Bureau of Transporation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics, available online here.