Porter’s Five Forces Analysis of The Scuba Diving Industry

Threat of New Entrants, Bargaining Power of Suppliers & Buyers, Threat of Substitute Products & Services, and Rivalry Among Existing Firms in The Dive Industry

Darcy Kieran
Jul 17, 2019 · 23 min read
Porter’s Five Forces Analysis of The Scuba Diving Industry
Porter’s Five Forces Analysis of The Scuba Diving Industry

Michael Porter’s Five Forces is a framework he defined to analyze competitiveness in an industry. Once the analysis is done, the goal is to identify a sustainable competitive advantage.

If you’ve done an MBA, you’ve most likely done some homework using Porter’s framework. Although it was first introduced a long time ago, in 1980, in the book “Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors,” Porter’s Five Forces framework remains a powerful tool to identify and understand the competitive forces at play in the dive industry.

You could also adapt Porter’s Five Competitive Forces framework to determine how strong is the position of your dive business in your marketplace.

AN ANALYST’S WORK IS NEVER DONE: Internal and external factors impacting our business frequently change, and we need to update our analysis. Since scuba diving industry analyses lead to dive industry strategies, we also need to review our strategies to see if they remain valid.

What are Porter’s Five Forces?

Porter’s 5 Competitive Forces are:

  • The Threat of New Entrants
  • Bargaining Power of Suppliers
  • Bargaining Power of Buyers
  • The Threat of Substitute Products & Services
  • Rivalry Among Existing Firms

When looking at each one of these Porter’s 5 Forces, the first thing we try to do is determine the threat level our industry is facing from that force. It looks like this:

Threat of New Entrants, Bargaining Power of Suppliers & Buyers, Threat of Substitute Products & Services in the Dive Industry
Threat of New Entrants, Bargaining Power of Suppliers & Buyers, Threat of Substitute Products & Services in the Dive Industry
Source: “Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors,” Michael Porter, 1980.

Ultimately, Porter’s Five Forces determine the profitability of an industry. We’re using his framework to identify the key structural features of the dive industry. These fundamental characteristics determine the strength of the competitive forces and hence, expected profitability.

Porter’s theory states that if the threat level is high on each one of the five forces, the competition is high. You may want to pass on investing in that industry. You would have a hard time getting a fair return on your investment. If you already own a company in such an industry, we may want to work on an exit strategy — or find a way to change the structure in your favor.

On the opposite, if the threat level is low on each one of the five forces, you are in a great position to pocket healthy profits.

Of course, it’s rarely all or nothing. Usually, an industry will face low threats on some forces, and high threats on other ones.

Once we have determined the threat level for each of Porter’s Five Competitive Forces, we can work on strategies to take advantage of the areas of strength. And fix the areas of high threat.

What is a New Entrant?

In the context of Porter’s Five Forces analysis, a new entrant is not necessarily a new business incorporated yesterday. Threats presented by a “new entrant” could come from a small player being acquired with the purpose of growing sales in the industry. For instance, a private equity firm with deep pockets could buy a small training agency (like RAID) to redefine the way training agencies provide value to today’s consumer. We will get back to this topic when looking at redefining the dive industry business model and value chain.

Now, the big question:

How do we determine the threat level of each one of these five forces?

For that, we suggest you either read Michael Porter’s book or quickly read a summary of Porter’s framework.

Analyzing The Core Dive Industry Stakeholder Groups

We’ll look at each dive industry stakeholder group separately because they operate incredibly different businesses.

By analyzing the competitive forces at play in each group, we’ll be able to see if a stakeholder group is in a stronger position compared to the other groups. Such a position of relative strength could allow this stakeholder group to grab an inordinate portion of the dive industry value chain.

For each stakeholder group, we’ll look at Porter’s Five Forces in the order they were introduced, above. Please note that this exercise is about identifying threat levels. We’ll look at strengths compared to weaknesses during the scuba diving industry SWOT analysis.

Once we’ve reviewed Porter’s Five Forces for each stakeholder group, we will draw some preliminary conclusions which we will use to discuss strategies for the scuba diving industry.

1. Scuba Diving Training Agencies & Porter’s Five Forces

Based on our 5 Forces analysis, training agencies are currently in the best position for profitability in the dive industry. Let’s see why.

Threat of New Training Agency Entrants

Creating new training material for scuba diving courses is not rocket science. Yet, it’s time-consuming and labor-intensive. Labor can be expensive if you want to use experts in instructional design — and you should.

Nowadays, training agencies are offering hundreds of different courses. Therefore, establishing a new training agency with an equivalent variety of training material would take time. However, with the move to internet-based learning, it’s easier for a new entrant to come in. Printing and stocking large amounts of printed training material used to tie up a lot of cash.

Otherwise, a significant barrier to entry for a new training agency would be recognition. Most divers want a card recognized around the world. Most dive instructor candidates wish to get an instructor card from the largest training agency to open up the door to as many work opportunities as possible, around the world. A new training agency would need to find a way to quickly establish several origin and destination dive centers. With the lack of a reliable brand in the scuba diving industry, this goal shouldn’t be very difficult to achieve if this new training agency comes with serious quality assurance and brand management.

Overall threat level from new training agency entrants: Medium.

It would take time to start a new training agency (or grow a small one), but it’s relatively easy. Therefore, a training agency shouldn’t plan on the current set of competitors remaining unchanged in the years to come.

Bargaining Power of Training Agency Suppliers

This is not a significant factor. Training agencies have been, traditionally, a niche book publisher. They are now converting themselves to internet-based learning companies. Either way, it’s reasonably easy to get a good deal from highly competitive printing companies. And running a website is not rocket science — although it seems like it may be when we look at the confusing and complicated user interface provided by some of the current training agencies.

Overall threat level from training agency suppliers: Low.

Bargaining Power of Training Agencies Buyers (Clients)

Because the training agencies are significantly larger than their clients (dive centers and instructors), the buyers have minimal bargaining power. Products, prices, and teaching standards are all dictated to the buyers.

Overall threat level from training agency buyers (clients): Low.

Note: Buyers, of course, have ultimate power in deciding to change training agency but that is part of the threat of substitution.

Threat of Training Agency Substitutes

There’s only a handful of fair-size certifying agencies and numerous small ones. Yet, it can be easy for a dive center or instructor to switch his allegiance.

To switch agencies, a dive center has to “cross over” all of its instructors and material. This could seem like an expensive thing to do, but it isn’t. Training agencies will readily offer free cross-over to dive centers. As we’ll see below, the industry rivalry is at an all-time high.

What may slow down the flow of substitution is emotional attachment linked to the time invested in getting instructor certification levels from one’s current agency.

Overall threat level of substitutes to training agencies: Medium.

Rivalry Among Existing Training Agencies

The competition among training agencies has always been there. However, up to recently, PADI had the largest market share in the USA and Worldwide. The other training agencies have niche segments of the industry.

Of course, in some areas of the world, regional training agencies have the upper hand (e.g., BSAC in England and CMAS in France).

In recent years, we’ve seen how competition between training agencies can increase significantly and fast. With the acquisition of SSI (Scuba Schools International) by Mares (a dive gear manufacturer), the rivalry between SSI and PADI has increased significantly with SSI seemingly focused on stealing market share from PADI.

Overall rivalry level among existing training agencies: High.

2. Scuba Gear Manufacturers & Porter’s Five Forces

After training agencies, we believe dive gear brands are in the best position to extract good profits out of their operations in the dive industry. Let’s see why.

Threat of New Dive Gear Manufacturer Entrants

We need to look at this on two different categories of products: a) Soft Goods & Low-End Products; and b) Hard Goods & High-End Products.

Soft Goods & Low-end Products

It is fairly easy for a new brand/wholesaler to purchase soft goods (rash-guards, booties, t-shirts) and low-end products (e.g. Asian-made fins, masks & snorkels) directly from the supplier. However, it generally requires big volumes. Each order from the Asian supplier needs to be relatively large, and the delivery time is long.

Furthermore, the terms are usually FOB, which means that you transfer the money to the supplier once the containers are ready to ship out of China (or wherever). Then, your goods sit on that boat for a while, crossing the ocean. You have cash tied up in inventory you don’t have on-hand. You can pre-sell it to dive centers, but these clients of yours won’t pay until you ship.

If your crystal ball didn’t help you plan the appropriate number of units per size, it is practically impossible to get a small restocking order. Furthermore, in many cases, you need to place the order very early on, so that your Asian supplier puts you in his production schedule. You may end up on his production schedule, months from the time you placed the order.

Let’s look at another aspect. Current dive gear purchasers (dive centers) have strong incentives in purchasing their soft goods from the same brand providing them with hard goods. Usually, the dive center gets a rebate based on the annual volume purchased from the dive brand.

It’s also preferable for a dive center, which is a tiny business, to order from a limited number of suppliers.

Therefore, it’s could be reasonably easy for a new entrant to get into the dive industry soft good business. Yet, it’s unlikely to be much of a success unless it also provides hard goods — or until hard goods are no longer a significant group of products sold in dive centers.

Hard Goods & High-end Products

It’s a lot more challenging to gain access to or manufacture, hard goods, and high-end products than it is for soft goods.

For instance, high-end regulators are still, for the most part, manufactured in Europe (Apeks, Mares, Beuchat). The same applies to expensive high-performance fins.

A new entrant in the dive gear industry would have a hard time catching up on the design and quality of these products, to compete with established brands.

One workaround is having your products produced by another dive industry manufacturer. It’s getting less common nowadays with the consolidation of the industry. For instance, a while back, Zeagle regulators were manufactured by Apeks. This ended when Aqua Lung purchased Apeks.

Otherwise, many best selling regulators and BCDs are subject to a variety of patents. You cannot just copy the best sellers.

Other Factors Related to the Threat of New Entrants for Dive Gear Manufacturers

Scuba divers often look for a brand for which they can get service all around the globe. A scuba diver buying a regulator in Montreal may never dive anywhere near Montreal. When this diver encounters a problem while visiting the Fiji underwater world, he wants to be able to find a repair technician in Fiji, for the brand he purchased.

This is the same criteria we encounter with training agencies. Scuba diving is mainly an activity done on vacations around the world. A regional brand (training agency or dive gear manufacturer) will always be at a disadvantage. And since it’s difficult for a new brand to be available around the world rapidly, it contributes to reducing the threat of a new entrant.

In one of the dive stores I owned and operated, at one point, we were offering Aqua Lung and Zeagle products. We eventually dropped Zeagle because clients had concerned about servicing Zeagle products around the world. Meanwhile, Aqua Lung was available pretty much everywhere on the globe. Note: This may have changed. Check with your Aqua Lung or Zeagle sales representative.

Overall threat level of new entrants for dive gear brands: Low.

Bargaining Power of Dive Gear Brands’ Suppliers

This is not a significant factor for high-end products manufactured by the dive gear brand itself (usually regulators, high-end fins, and the like).

However, it may be significant for low-end products for which the dive gear brand acts as an importer and wholesaler. For instance, there’s a limited number of wetsuit manufacturers. They are located in Asia. Dive gear brands have very little bargaining power over them. These Asian manufacturers can increase their prices and extend the time it takes from ordering to shipping. Yet, they usually do that for all their clients, at the same time.

Therefore, it doesn’t impact the competitive advantage of a specific brand. If Aqua Lung’s wetsuits increase in price, Mares’ wetsuits commonly face the same increase.

Overall threat level from dive gear brands’ suppliers: Medium.

Bargaining Power of Dive Gear Manufacturers’ Buyers (Clients)

The forces at play, here, are similar to what we reviewed for training agencies, with a few differences.

It’s easier for dive centers to purchase from another gear brand. This is part of the threat of substitution, although it also has an impact, here. There is no “cross-over” process like what is required for switching training agency.

In theory, there would be a need to train all your staff on “product knowledge” (PK) for this new gear brand. And your service technicians should receive the appropriate training in servicing the new brand. However, since there is very little quality assurance in this industry, it is our observation that these two requirements are rarely done.

The only thing that would prevent you from selling a new brand of dive gear would be if another dive center in your market had an exclusivity deal. That’s something dive gear brands do while training agencies typically do not.

With how easy it is to start selling a new dive gear brand, the bargaining power of buyers (dive centers) is higher than it is between dive centers and training agencies.

On the other hand, dive centers are microscopic businesses compared to the Aqua Lung, Marès, and Huish Outdoors of this world. Under that angle, dive centers have little bargaining power. Think of Walmart as an example. They often dictate prices to their suppliers because they are much bigger than many of their suppliers. It’s not the case in the dive industry where the retailer is the smallest player of all.

So, overall, the threat level is medium. It’s a mix of high and low, depending on the angle.

Threat of Dive Gear Brands Substitutes

As mentioned above, it’s reasonably easy for a dive center to switch brands inside a dive shop. And the (not) funny part of it is that, often, dive gear manufacturers force dive centers to pick up a new brand because of their unreliable inventory levels.

Regardless of the brand of dive gear you sell, you’ve most likely encountered occasions when your supplier is out of stock for a considerable amount of time. Therefore, even if you wanted to limit yourself to one brand, you can’t.

I remember a case when I needed to restock a specific size of BCD from ‘Dive Gear Brand X’ in early January. But my supplier answered that it wouldn’t be available before May for the new “season.” Sorry buddy, but my clients are going on a dive trip in early February. For many divers, the diving “season” is the winter.

On the other hand, dive shops have reasons not to change the brands they carry. Typically, a dive center wants all of its staff to be wearing what is being sold in the store. When changing a brand, it gets expensive to give incentives to your dive instructors to change their set of dive gear.

Overall threat level of substitutes to dive gear brands: Medium.

Rivalry Among Existing Dive Gear Manufacturers

It’s always been high. And unfortunately for them, most dive gear manufacturers don’t seem to understand how they could compete in other ways than cutting prices.

It amazes me how competition between dive gear brands is mostly on price.

I had discussions on this topic with most of my suppliers throughout the years. Do you think a wannabe diver sitting at home will suddenly be interested in scuba diving and visit your local dive shop because a certain model of BCDs costs $100 less than last year? Of course not.

Cutting prices on dive gear cannot increase the industry volume. Reducing prices on dive gear reduces dive manufacturers' profits and dive center profits. It’s even more ridiculous when you understand that dive consumers are mainly wealthy and interested in high-end products.

Overall rivalry level among existing dive gear brands: High.

3. Dive Centers and Porter’s Five Forces

Of all stakeholder groups in the dive industry, dive centers are in the most precarious position, along with independent instructors as we’ll review next. Based on Porter’s Five Competitive Forces framework, we should expect profits to be meager, especially for local dive shops (origin dive centers). Let’s see why.

Threat of New Dive Center Entrants

It is quick and easy to start a new dive center, especially a local dive shop in an urban (origin) location.

In our experience, it’s easy to get an affiliation with a training agency. As long as you send them money, you’ll get your stickers to put on the door. Give them a bit more money, and you’ll be listed on their website. For dive gear, as long as you don’t try to get a brand for which another dive center in your area has exclusivity, it will be just as easy.

And what assets do you need? It’s all inexpensive stuff to get. Your biggest purchase will be an air compressor and the rest of the equipment for your fill station. But you can start with a tiny compressor with a couple of fill whips.

Most dive shops carry very little inventory (which is a problem for today’s consumers). It means that you probably can finance your inventory on a sound credit card. You can use a bunch of homemade displays or get some from your dive gear suppliers.

As for recruiting new clients, it’s much easier nowadays. When the primary source of new clients was the Yellow Pages, a newly opened dive store was out of luck until the next annual publication of the Yellow Pages. Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to target people based on their geographic location or socio-demographic profile by buying ads on Google and Facebook.

Overall, the lack of quality assurance makes it simple to start a dive shop. In fact, we see a lot of newly certified dive instructors opening a dive store shortly after their Instructor Examination — especially the rich kids playing with papa’s (or mama’s) money. They usually stay in business for a couple of years and then, papa (or mama) pulls the plug on a money-losing business. Meanwhile, they’ve hurt the local dive market.

Overall threat for dive centers’ new entrants: Very high.

Note: Dive resorts (destination) can be more expensive to start because of the cost of dive boats and the need to find a good dive location. However, we also regularly see newly certified dive instructors moving South to open a dive center, with one small second-hand boat. We see plenty of them coming back a few years later, bankrupted — but that is another discussion.

Bargaining Power of Dive Centers’ Suppliers

The leading suppliers to dive centers are training agencies and dive gear manufacturers. If you operate a dive resort, you may only buy dive gear for your rental department, but it’s still a significant part of your assets where you tie some of your money.

In both cases, these suppliers are significantly bigger than you are, giving them, in theory, more bargaining power than you have. Unless you are an established large retailer, you have limited bargaining power.

Overall threat level from dive centers suppliers: High.

Bargaining Power of Dive Centers’ Buyers

Substitution is a significant bargaining power a scuba diver has when dealing with a dive center. When choosing a local dive shop for their entry-level training or for buying gear, dive consumers have a fair amount of leverage on the dive store owner or manager — especially if the dive center is late on paying last month’s rent.

When I was managing one of the largest retailers of dive gear in the world, I was often accused by other local dive shops to be unfairly cutting prices. This always seems like a ridiculous statement to me. With our 100+ staff members, we had processes in place, and nobody was allowed to lower prices. However, all the small local dive shops around our store locations were very quick at cutting prices to make a sale “today.”

Either way, the diver-buyer can quickly negotiate a lower price on courses and gear, especially from small (and starving) local dive shops. The number of clients is limited. Losing one client can make or break your month!

Overall threat level from dive center buyers (clients): Very High.

Threat of Dive Center Substitutes

As a scuba diver, when you are looking at a destination for a dive trip, do you have a lot of choices? Yes, you do. It is straightforward for a scuba diver to go to another dive resort. And it’s also effortless for a diver-client to select another local dive shop in town.

Otherwise, it’s easy to do something else besides scuba diving. And since the dive industry made scuba diving complicated, it can be tempting to do something else like trekking in New Zealand or hiking in Costa Rica.

Threat level of dive center substitution: Very high.

4. Independent Dive Instructors, Schools & Clubs’ Five Forces

We don’t need to review each one of Michael Porter’s Five Forces, here, because we can compare to dive centers.

Independent instructors, as well as businesses focusing on offering scuba diving training, are facing the same forces as a dive center with three main exceptions.

  • First, they usually do not sell dive gear at retail. They are typically associated with a dive center where they may get commissions for clients they send that way. This dive center may also provide air fills and other services. This means that the independent instructor is facing the same challenges a dive center faces, except he has fewer sources of revenues and lower profit margins.
  • Second, they get less support from training agencies who do not list independent instructors on their “Find a Dive Shop” website locator. They are even more on their own to recruit clients.
  • Third, they are even smaller than a dive center, which leads to even less bargaining power with suppliers like training agencies.

Pretty much every Porter’s force is worse than it is for a dive center. For instance, the threat of new entrants is even more prominent as the cost to start teaching independently is close to nothing.

Overall threat levels on all five forces: Very high.

5. Dive Travel Agencies & Wholesalers’ 5 Forces

All travel agencies are operating on ‘volume’ with little profit margins. Typically, a niche market should be more profitable. Therefore, overall, travel agencies & wholesalers specializing in scuba diving destinations are neither in a lousy position nor a good one. Let’s see why.

Threat of New Dive Travel Agency Entrants

It’s relatively easy to start a travel agency. You need to have a travel agency certification and, usually, post a bound or warranty with the governing authorities of the place where you operate. That’s been the case for years. Nowadays, it’s a little bit more complicated.

For once, people shop for vacations and dive destinations online. They are unlikely to walk into your office. And because of the nature of the internet, they come from all over the world. Therefore, you are facing many different rules and regulations on selling travel, in numerous countries your clients come from.

Otherwise, customers expect a well-functioning website with a clear user interface (UI). Their experience on your website is almost as relevant as the price of the trips you are selling. This is a significant barrier to entry because creating such a website (and app) can be expensive.

Furthermore, you need to “start” right off the mark with a lot of dive destinations in your catalog, to be of interest to diver-clients.

So, all factors seem to point toward a low to a medium threat. Yet, we’ve seen a very recent start-up in dive travel, Diviac, quickly grab market shares with a much better interface than the established players. This led PADI to purchase Diviac only a handful of years after its creation. Basically, you need good programmers and UX designers.

Therefore, the threat of dive travel agency’ new entrants: Medium.

Bargaining Power of Dive Travel Agencies Suppliers

This is not a significant force.

Suppliers like web hosting, programmers, and credit card processing services are all pretty standard. And there are many different suppliers to choose from.

Suppliers of dive destinations you sell to your clients typically offer the same price to all travel agencies and all travel wholesalers. With online shopping, a dive resort could hardly sustain charging more to one agency.

Threat level from dive travel agency suppliers: Low.

Bargaining Power of Dive Travel Agencies Buyers (Clients)

A scuba diver can pick among many different dive destinations for his vacations. That’s why dive resorts are facing a high-level of bargaining power from their client-divers. The same applies to the travel agent. It’s a threat of substitution, but it also gives the buyers a lot of bargaining power.

Not only the client can easily buy from another agent, but he can also buy directly from the resort!

Threat level from dive travel agencies buyers (clients): High.

Threat of Dive Travel Agency Substitution

Even if you have a full catalog of dive destinations, the risk of substitution remains high. As we discussed above, the client can pick numerous other travel agents or even buy directly from the resort. Furthermore, the client may decide to book a totally different vacation and go trekking in Norway.

Threat level of substitutes to training agencies: High.

Rivalry Among Existing Dive Travel Agencies

Competition among dive travel agencies has always been there. Yet, since prices tend to be the same at all agencies, we don’t expect price wars in this segment of the industry.

The rivalry is mostly based on securing partners. For instance, a dive center is likely to be reselling trips from only one dive travel agency. It’s the best way for that dive center to maximize commissions by increasing purchases from that one agency. But that’s an allegiance that is easy to switch.

In that regard, the dive travel agency/wholesaler associated with a training agency has a leg up in securing partnerships with all dive centers carrying the flag of that training agency. The recent acquisition of Diviac by PADI to convert it into PADI Travel was a good move. Not only it’s an additional source of revenue for PADI, but the travel agency helps the training agency and vice versa.

Overall rivalry level among existing dive travel agencies: High.

Preliminary Conclusions on The Scuba Diving Industry, Based on Porter’s Five Forces Framework

Here’s a summary of the strength of Porter’s 5 Forces on each stakeholder group:

Preliminary Conclusions on The Scuba Diving Industry, Based on Porter’s Five Forces Framework
Preliminary Conclusions on The Scuba Diving Industry, Based on Porter’s Five Forces Framework
Source: Business of Diving Institute

Based on this analysis, the dive industry stakeholders in the best position to produce high profitability are as follows, in order:

  1. Training Agencies
  2. Dive Gear Manufacturers
  3. Travel Agencies
  4. Dive Centers
  5. Independent Instructors

This explains why you see private equity firms investing in training agencies and dive gear brands. Some money goes to travel agencies (like the purchase of Diviac by PADI). And you don’t many outside investors looking at dive centers. Yet, we believe that restructuring how dive centers provide value to consumers could be the cornerstone of a dive industry Blue Ocean Strategy.

For training agencies, the game is played between current players fighting for market shares with products and services that are very similar. We believe there’s no real brand value in picking any acronym in the training agency alphabet soup. Therefore, there is no point in investing in a new training agency — unless you come up with a different business model.

The profitability of training agencies is strong, compared to any other dive industry segment. It would make sense for a private equity firm interested in benefitting from structural changes in the dive industry to start with a training agency — as long as they have a different business model adapted to what today’s consumers expect. In our opinion, without dive industry structural changes, the profitability will eventually go down by market share wars from management teams incapable of seeing outside the proverbial “box.”

For dive gear brands/manufacturers, it’s very similar to training agencies. Currently, rivalry among players is mainly focused on pricing, which is bringing down profits without growing the pie. Yet, they are in a reasonably good position to extract good profits, as long as the price wars are limited. The long-term alternative is creating a different way of providing dive gear to scuba divers.

What if you could find a more cost-efficient way to increase your profits while increasing consumer satisfaction? This would require structural changes in the scuba diving industry, opening the door to expanding both profit margins and sales volume.

For dive centers, the future is bleak, especially for origin dive centers (local dive shops). All five forces are pointing toward low profits. And with a lack of branding value from the products and services you are offering, you become a commodity at the mercy of both your suppliers and your clients. Dive centers are in dire need of a redefinition of their role in the dive industry and the value they provide to customers. Otherwise, with all five forces currently playing against you, it’s almost a suicide mission. That’s where the age-old joke comes from: How do you end up with a million-dollar in the dive industry? You start with two.

For independent instructors, it’s even worse than it is for dive centers. The only good thing, in this case, is that you are not gambling much in terms of investments. You can do it as a hobby more than a business, although that is, in itself, another weakness of the dive industry. We have numerous dive businesses run by hobbyists, not business people. There may be nothing wrong with that, on the surface. But we need to become a real industry if we are to find a way to grow the market and better please consumers. In redefining the dive industry, we believe we should look at the value independent instructors could bring to the table, instead of being the hidden sheep of the industry.

For dive travel agencies and wholesalers, to recruit and keep more clients than your competitors, you need to focus on building an extensive catalog of dive destinations as well as offering a great user experience on your website and app, with outstanding customer service. Then, you need to develop your network of affiliates. It’s not rocket science, but it’s intense.

What About Companies Operating in More Than One Stakeholder Group?

We performed this analysis based on Micheal Porter’s Five Competitive Forces model by looking at each of our five core dive industry stakeholder groups. It makes sense. However, the shortcoming in this way of proceeding is that we are not evaluating the profitability of consolidated groups.

For instance, we’ve seen Head become both a dive gear manufacturer (Mares) and a scuba diving training agency (SSI). We’ve also seen PADI assimilating online dive travel resellers to its dive training agency operations.

Since the scuba diving industry is either in a “mature” or “declining” phase, we can expect more of these mergers and acquisitions. It’s called “consolidation”.

What’s Next?

Once we’ve completed our analysis of the scuba diving industry, we will summarize key trends and strategic analysis findings before moving on to the next section where we’ll work on drafting strategies for the scuba diving industry.

Meanwhile, please contribute to the development of this analysis by providing feedback, below. Let us know changes, additions, and retractions you deem valid and valuable. Together, we can put the scuba diving industry back on a path to growth.

“Michael Porter’s Five Forces” is just one of 5 methods we use for studying the dive industry.

Porter’s Five Forces provides us with a snapshot of the current competitive forces in the dive industry. It helps predict profitability. A SWOT Analysis helps us identify if any of our weaknesses should be fixed to prevent going heads up with one of the external threats, and what opportunities match our strengths. The 4Ps and the 4Cs are focused on the marketing of our scuba diving products and services. And finally, the PESTLE Analysis looks into the external macro-environmental factors impacting our industry. It is a tool to identify threats and weaknesses for the SWOT analysis.

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Continue reading: Scubanomics Table of Content.

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The Scuba Diving Industry by the Business of Diving Institute (BODI)

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Darcy Kieran

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Entrepreneur | Executive | Author | Radio Announcer | Scuba Diving Instructor — #WritingCommunity — #Miami #Montreal #Marseille


News & editorials for the scuba diving industry. Scuba diving market data & statistics. Business analysis. Innovation-fueled strategies for growth. Dive store management. Your career as a dive professional.

Darcy Kieran

Written by

Entrepreneur | Executive | Author | Radio Announcer | Scuba Diving Instructor — #WritingCommunity — #Miami #Montreal #Marseille


News & editorials for the scuba diving industry. Scuba diving market data & statistics. Business analysis. Innovation-fueled strategies for growth. Dive store management. Your career as a dive professional.

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