After the 2009 economic debacle, global scuba industry growth declined 30%. That has ended and as of 2016 several reports for the industry ( and I site this one at: ( https://www.researchandmarkets.com/rese ... obal_scuba
) claim that globally the industry has not only recovered that 30% decrease, it is projecting a CAGR (Compound Average Growth Rate) of 3,78% between 2016 and 2020.
That said, even though the industry as a whole has lost .5 to 1% of its participation rate as a percentage of population wise since 2000 to 2008. Overall participation in diving has dropped 25% or more in the last 25 years or so, though sales appear robust or a least semi-static. see; http://www.williamcline.com/joomla/inde ... &Itemid=66
Cost of equipment and the misleading spectre of inflation due to value weakening schemes of government (through accumulated debt and so-called "Quantitative Easing" [ nothing more than printing/borrowing more money that destroys purchasing power] mislead US industry newcomers into thinking that the industry is healthy due to dollar amounts that appear to have robust growth rates, but due to inflation, have at best
66% (approx) the buying power that they had in 2000. Globally, outside the US, the market is robust, with new tourist dollars from the Arab world, South America, China, Korea and Vietnam creating new opportunities for the industry, while US and European sales remain relatively flat to slightly negative.
Why? IMO, we have newer populations of persons that are less inclined to spend money on a vigorous sport such as diving for the long haul of the average diver who will be active in the sport for 10 years or more. By this, I mean that even though many new people are certified, they are less likely to participate in the sport for what used to be a ten to twenty-year average active participation rate. Also, there are far less of them as opposed to the Boomer 1 and Boomer 2 generations on whom the industry thrived on for many years. There might be a generational difference as well as economic difference from those born around 1942-1966 as opposed to those born around 1974-1990. In my observations, Generations Y and Z appear to like to dabble in things. but the majority don't end up making it a major part of their life for 10 to 20 years. http://www.williamcline.com/lex/Generat ... ained2.pdf
I do agree with the above statement that the industry in America and Europe has gone too far to the ecological left in many respects. This initially was a good thing, but when you think about the way the industry was, say back in 1960 as opposed to today, it has become a Snowflake convention in most of the U.S. and it is due to this "emasculation" of diving that makes it less appealing and far less exciting to most young people today.
Case in point, UNDERWATER HUNTER!!!
God forbid you to look for this certification class in most PADI shops on the left coast or in most places in North America, they will look at you like you are Adolf Hitler reincarnated! Funny thing is in Southern Europe and most places overseas outside of PC control, this course is still offered and was a real mainstay of the industry for years until the practice was abolished in many states and provinces in the US and Canada due to over-zealous eco-Nazis. And the debate about UW hunting is just as moot as the debate about land hunting. If properly done with GOOD oversight, it has not depleted fish stocks. The real depleters are longliners and other such commercial types that really do rape the oceans of the world, but those nasty scuba divers will cause such ecological chaos if we let them do it. Hypocrites all. Hey, I like communing with the fish, but now and then I like to eat one as well.