Seasonality is a fact of life in some industries. Seasonality is predictable patterns in business activity where most (or all) of the business takes place during a specific time of year. While that seems like a financial nightmare waiting to happen, some seasonal businesses are some of the most profitable out there. In this list, you’ll read about ten seasonal markets that are worth a lot, even if they’re only active part-time.
Amusement parks are open for most of the year, and some are open year round. Spooky attractions throughout October and gorgeous holiday displays when winter arrives do keep them going, but it is still very seasonal. Studies show that half of the people that attend a theme park each year do so during the summer months. Smaller parks are only open from April to September because they just don’t bring in enough customers when the temperature drops and schools go back in session. However, there is still a lot of money in it. Disney alone brings in $14 billion per year!
Christmas trees are about as seasonal as a product can get. Some people will buy them as early as November, but the majority of people don’t buy them until the beginning of December and get rid of them before the month comes to an end. It’s no secret that Christmas is a big spending holiday in terms of travel, gifts, food, and more, which is all seasonal spending. But Christmas trees aren’t something that people would consider being as profitable as it is. People spend on average between $75 and $100 on their trees. Only 19% of the trees purchased are real, and that alone brings in over $1 billion each season.
Landscaping is a huge industry and it employs over a million people across America. A lot of businesses have found a way to combat the challenges that come with such a seasonally dependent business like adding leaf and snow removal to their services. Those off-season services account for 10% or less of the business they do in a year. Spring and summer are the peak seasons for landscaping because people use their yards more in the warmer months, many people use the vacation time to redesign the landscape around their homes, and grass simply grows faster when it’s warmer. Landscaping still generates an average of $77 billion in annual revenues.
Kumon, Sylvan, and several other private companies, as well as hundreds of individuals around the country, offer tutoring services to students that need some extra help in reaching their full academic potential. The average high school tutor makes $10 to $15 an hour, which is pretty high, but professional tutors (certified teachers with experience) make $35 to $100 per hour. Tutoring is expensive for consumers and pays well for those who offer the service. Even though school isn’t in session all year, the global market for private tutoring is projected to reach $227 billion in the next four years.
Skiing is a passion for many people that grew up on or around the slopes, a way of life for those who live in towns that are considered prime destinations for the sport, and it is also viewed as a very glamorous leisure activity. Ski resorts are as close to a real-life winter wonderland as someone can get, but there’s a catch. Skiing requires a very specific texture or quality of snow, and people don’t typically take vacations until the holiday season arrives. There’s no question to the factors that drive the seasonality of this industry, but more than 50 million people hit the slopes each year, tipping spending well into the billions.
Women’s swimwear dominates this market, accounting for more than 70% of it. It’s hard to fathom how much a bathing suit can cost when there are $4 bins at your local Walmart, but this industry pulls in around $4 billion per year and it has to come from somewhere. Women can spend over $100 on a bathing suit at a normal surf shop. The customer demand is limited to a few months of the year, so there is a tight schedule to get suits onto racks in stores, and the material has to be designed to withstand the elements, all adding dollars to the price tag. Because of how expensive swimwear gets, this industry still rakes in plenty of money during its peak.
There’s something about a nice breezy day out on the water on a summer day that is refreshing, so relaxing, and it’s an experience that calls out to people. But, not everyone can afford a boat. Owning it, maintaining it, transporting it… It’s a hassle. The answer to that is just to rent one, and so many companies rent out boats for daily or weekly use for patrons who don’t have their own. This is usually reserved for summertime when the water and weather are warm enough and the kids don’t have school. It might sound like a pretty niche thing, but recreational boating has an annual economic value of $121.5 billion.
Ice melt is something that some people living in warmer climates may have never heard of, but it is pivotal in the safety of many when the snowy months hit. Putting salt on the roads helps melt the ice because it will dissolve in the film of water on top of the ice and help lower the freezing point. As the ice melts, more salt dissolves in the water, and the freezing point continues to drop. Ice melt helps make the roads safer to drive on and makes walking to the mailbox a lot simpler. $2.3 billion each year is spent on this important product in America, even though it only snows for a portion of the year.
The US is a big spender when it comes to candy all year, but there are certain occasions that cause those sales to spike like crazy, which is why this has been included here. Seasonal candy is candy that is catered to a specific holiday like Easter, Halloween, and Valentines Day. Even holidays that don’t directly include candy as part of their celebration, like Christmas, cause huge jumps. On chocolate alone, Americans spend about $250 million for Valentines Day, $323 million for Easter, $406 million for Halloween, and a whopping $409 million for Christmas.
People stay in hotels all year, but business sees many high points throughout the year like during Spring Break, and over summer. One thing that is particularly surprising is that most hotels see their peak season in December because of how many families travel for the holidays. Even though hotels don’t experience seasonality in the way that most people think about it, it is still a very seasonal business because the patterns of highs and lows are predictable and depend on the time of year. Even still, the industry is worth about $200 billion a year in the US.