At this years DEMA show, besides being aware that the participants and vendors seemed more upbeat and excited about their branch of the scuba business this year, we noticed the follow trends:
- While many vendors had something new and often interesting to show us, the new products booth did not have as many products that made us want to run right to that booth for a look. There also seemed to be more “new” products in that section that were only subtlety new and which we had seen before.
- TECH COMPANIES CROSSING OVER: Many companies that traditionally only focused on tech diving are starting to branch out into the crossover and recreational dive markets. This even includes some DIR specific companies. Halcyon has removed the “doing it right” tag line from the patch on their wings (Halcyon had no booth at this show). Deep Sea Supply staff did tell us the were sticking with only DIR approved equipment and there was no need for add-on items to the Hog rig like the Halcyon Cinch but then showed us that they had did sell a similar product.Ocean Reef, maker of full face masks had new masks in color and say they are looking to capture more recreational divers.
- LEDs ARE EVERYWHERE: Both in the new products display and on the show floor there was an abundance of LED lights. LED seems to have pushed out HID and many manufacturers are admitting the HID lights are mostly dead. The downside of the trend is that LED technology is extremely complex. There is a new standard
- (ANSI/NEMA FL1) but hardly anyone is following it yet. Even with the standard, vendors can baffle divers with jargon and claim mostly anything that will sell the light. Light and Motion owner (makers of the SOLA lights) showed us an “independent study” that he commissioned and is using to claim that all but one other light manufacture is greatly overstating their lumen output. We will be publishing a full investigative report on this.
- LIGHT WEIGHT DIVE GEAR AND LUGGAGE: If Aqualung did not start this trend then they are undoubtedly leading the movement with their “travel light pack.” Headlined by the elegant 2 kg (4.4 lbs) Zuma BC, Aqualung has assembled a complete travel dive package in its own carry-on bag weighing under 20lbs (full video review soon). Mares, ScubaPro, and most every booth we visited is offering at least a light weight travel BC. Even tech companies like OMS are seeding this trend.
- FASHION FORWARD DIVE GEAR: Cressi has long been recognized by their ads that emphasize the fashion in their dive gear. But more companies are following the Cressi trend and releasing gear with a hint of the runway. Given that Italy is a hub for dive gear design and manufacturing, it is amazing that it took so long. Most booths we visited from companies that made regulators, fins, or wet and drysuits were displaying gear with fashion accents. Scuba Pro and other regulator brands had models that come with interchangeable plates on the second and/or first stage. The Uemis dive computer comes with your choice of five colors of body covers. While it is perhaps obvious that the one impetus for this fashion movement is more women in diving, major companies’ reps also told us the drive was aimed at capturing more fashion conscious international markets. Three reps from different companies specifically pointed to Japanese divers as a market that craved fashion in their gear.
- GEAR JUST FOR WOMEN – PAST THE TREND STAGE: Dive gear designed specifically for women has been around for years. Mares groups their women’s line under the head “She Dives” and uses social networking to keep in touch with their women customers. This year it seemed clear that women specific gear is beyond the trend stage. It is now the way of the industry. If you sell any gear that could be gender specific you better have an offering to stay in the game. One branch of the gender aware dive world that is still blossoming is dive training for women. Seattle based, Cindy Ross of GirlDiver is the leader in this arena and a model for others around the world that recognize that women learn differently and experience diving differently than men. We have also heard from many men that have realized they also prefer this feminine touch to dive training and groups.
COMING UP: DEMA show BEST OF SHOW AWARDS