Cruise Industry

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Cruise Industry Global Market Share

The top 10 cruise brands in order by percent global revenue are Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, MSC Cruises, Holland America, Celebrity, Costa Cruises, AIDA, and a tie between Oceania Cruises and TUI Cruises.


Top 10 Brands

1. Brand: Royal Caribbean
Parent Company: Royal Caribbean
% of Passengers: 19.2%
% of Revenue: 14.0%

2. Brand: Princess
Parent Company: Carnival
% of Revenue: 9.1%

3. Brand: Carnival
Parent Company: Carnival
% of Passengers: 22.0%
% of Revenue: 8.9%

4. Brand: Norwegian
Parent Company: Norwegian
% of Revenue: 8.4%

5. Brand: MSC Cruises
Parent Company: Mediterranean Shipping Company
% of Revenue: 6.8%

6. Brand: Holland America
Parent Company: Carnival
% of Revenue: 5.6%

7. Brand: Celebrity
Parent Company: Royal Caribbean
% of Revenue: 5.3%

8. Brand: Costa Cruises
Parent Company: Carnival
% of Revenue: 4.8%

9. Brand: AIDA
Parent Company: Carnival
% of Revenue: 4.6%

10.1 Brand: Oceania Cruises
Parent Company: Norwegian
% of Revenue: 2.3%

10.2 Brand: TUI Cruises
Parent Company: TUI AG and Royal Caribbean
% of Revenue: 2.3%

Revenue for Cruise lines

  • AIDA Cruises has an estimated revenue of $2,035.78 million.
  • TUI Cruises has revenue of $1,336.82 million.
  • Carnival Corporation has revenue of $18,881 million.
  • Royal Caribbean has a revenue of $9,493.85 million.
  • Princess Cruises has an estimated revenue of $2,413.76 million.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line has revenue of $6,055.13 million.
  • Holland American Line has an estimated revenue of $356.67 million.
  • MSC Cruise has revenue of 348 million euros ($394 million USD) in 2018.
  • Carnival has 9 brands: 25 ships under Carnival, 18 ships under Princess, 14 ships under Holland America Line, 5 ships under Seabourn, 3 ships under Cunard, 12 ships under AIDA, 15 ships under Costa, and 12 ships under P&O Cruises (UK & Australia).
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises has 6 brands: 25 ships under Royal Caribbean, 12 ships under Celebrity, 9 ships under Silversea, 7 ships under TUI Cruises, 4 ships under Pullmantur, and 3 ships under Azamara Club Cruises.

Research Strategy:

We first used Cruise Market Watch to determine the top ten brands by percent revenue of the market. This source was able to distinguish all the brands from the parent companies and provide a percent revenue. In order to provide a second source to corroborate these findings, we conducted another search to provide more lists of the top ten cruise brands. We searched market research websites for the brands by percent revenue, but the only information found addressed the top 3 parent companies in the industry Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. This information is not directly relevant to the top ten list of brands based on global market share, we then decided to try to support the information found on Cruise Market Watch. We found revenues for most of the companies in the top ten list and found that they do support the list.

The three main parent companies/larges companies are Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian. Carnival has the largest revenue and the most ships/brands, while Royal Caribbean has the second largest revenue but fewer ships overall. The brands Royal Caribbean and Carnival both have 25 ships and thus it makes sense for Royal Caribbean to be number one and Carnival number 3 (based on the number of brands and ships per parent company), with Carnival's Princess brand as the second largest cruise brand by global market share. The other revenues support the rest of the order of the top 10 list. We were unable to find revenues for Costa Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and Celebrity because these are brands under a parent company, and so the parent company does not distinguish their revenue from that of their independent brand. However, their placement in the top 10 list makes sense because they are significant brands of the top three largest parent companies.
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Cruise Industry US Market Size

We estimated that the size of the United States cruise market is $20.93 billion.


  • The size of the global cruise industry market is $45.6 billion.
  • According to Cruising Lines International Association (CLIA), 28.5 million passengers went on a cruise in 2018, out of which the United States was the source market for 13.1 million passengers.
  • The size of the United States cruise industry is $20.93 billion.


  • The major players in the cruise industry are Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
  • Carnival Corporation's 2018 revenue was $18.88 billion.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises' 2018 revenue was $9.5 billion.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line's 2018 revenue was $6.06 billion.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises generated 61% of its ticket revenue from the United States.
  • 11.9 million passengers who went on a cruise in 2018 were from the United States (excluding those who are not from the US but boarded a cruise ship from the US).


In order to fulfill this request, we began by searching for research reports that covered the United States cruise market. While we were unable to find any report by research agencies specific to the United States that provided, we did come across a US-specific report published by Cruising Lines International Association (CLIA). However, the CLIA report only provided the passenger count for US departures and not the market size; we found the market size for the global cruise industry. Next, we searched media sources such as Cruise Industry News, G Captain, and World Maritime News. In these sources, we found information pertaining to the global passenger count, emerging trends, and new pertaining to operators in the space, but we did not find the United States cruise industry market size. Lastly, we browsed through the annual reports and websites of the major players in the industry: Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line. These annual reports did not provide any information pertaining to the size of the market in the United States or the market share of the companies in the US. The only related data we were able to obtain was that 61% of Royal Carribean's revenue comes from the US.

As we were unable to find the US cruise industry market size precompiled, we attempted to triangulate an estimate for the same. The top three players represent 82% of the market in the US. Knowing the US revenue of the top three players would enable us to estimate the size of the cruise industry in the US. However, this information is only provided in Royal Caribbean Cruises' annual report; Carnival Corporation and Norwegian Cruise Line have not made this information public.


Given the above limitations, we adopted an alternate triangulation strategy. As most cruise passengers are from the United States and Europe, and the cost of living in Europe and America is more or less the same, the average revenue generated per global cruise passenger is not likely to vary significantly from the average revenue generated by a US-boarding cruise passenger. Therefore, we can assume that the United States' share of global revenue will be approximately the same as its share of passengers.

The number of passengers who boarded from the United States: 13,090,800
The number of passengers who boarded globally: 28,515,000
The percentage of global cruise passengers who board from the US = 13,090,800/ 28,515,000 = 45.91%
The global market size of the cruise industry: $45.6 billion
Therefore, the United States cruise industry market size = 45.91% * $45.6 billion = $20.93 billion

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Cruise Industry US Market Share

The top 10 cruise brands based on the US market share include Royal Caribbean, Princess, Costa Cruises, MSC Cruise, Holland America, Celebrity Cruises, AIDS Cruise, Oceania Cruise, TUL Cruise, and Disney Cruise.

1. Royal Caribbean

  • Market Share: $6.38 billion

2. Princess

  • Market Share: $4.14 billion

3. costa cruise

  • Market Share: $4.05 billion

4. msc cruise

  • Market Share: $3.01 billion

5. Holland America

  • Market Share: $2.55 billion

6. Celebrity Cruises

  • Market Share: $2.41 billion

7. AIDA Cruises

  • Market Share: $2.09 billion

8. Oceania cruise

  • Market Share: $1.04 billion

9. tul cruise

  • Market Share: $1.04 billion

10. Disney cruise

  • Market Share: $1 billion

Additional finding

  • The global market value of the world cruise industry was $45.6 billion in 2018.

Your Research team applied the following Strategy:

In order to identify the top 10 cruise brands based on the United States market share, we examined credible sources such as Cruise Market watch, Forbes, Travel USNews, and other similar domains.
We were able to locate the information in CruiseMarketWatch. Since the market share was presented as a percentage, we triangulated the required value using the total global market size and the market share percentage of each cruise brand. The percentage value calculator that we used is here.


  • Royal Caribbean
14% of $45.6 billion = $6.38 billion
  • Princess
9.1% of $45.6 billion = $4.14 billion
  • Costa Cruise
8.9% of $45.6 billion = $4.05 billion
  • MSC Cruise
6.8% of $45.6 billion = $3.01 billion
  • Holland America
5.6% of $45.6 billion = $2.55 billion
  • Celebrity Cruises
5.3% of $45.6 billion = $2.41 billion
  • AIDA Cruises
4.6% of $45.6 billion = $2.09 billion
  • Oceania Cruise
2.3% of $45.6 billion = $1.04 billion
  • TUL Cruise
2.3% of $45.6 billion = $1.04 billion
  • Disney Cruise
2.2% of $45.6billion = $1 billion.
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Cruise Trips

According to our research, out of all the vacations in the United States in the year 2017, approximately 6.53% were cruises.


The following data was utilized to calculate the X% of all vacations taken in a cruise:
  • In 2017, at least 11.9 million individuals in the United States went on a cruise.
  • In 2017, an estimated 62% of all American adults enjoyed a vacation away from their home, 69% were employed, and more than half (55%) were not employed.
  • The adult population in the United States was 252,063,800 or around 77% of the country's total population in 2017.
  • The total population of the United States in 2017 was 325,719,178.
  • In 2017 there were 195.27 million employed individuals in the United States.
  • Out of the Americans who cruise, over 72% are baby boomers/seniors, 7% are millenials, and 7% are Gen X-ers.
  • According to Gen HQ, the distribution by generation goes as follows: baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964), millenials (1977-1995), Gen X (1965 to 1976), Gen Z (born after 1996).

Additional points of interest

  • An estimated 14.13 million cruise passengers in the year 2019 are anticipated to originate from North America.
  • North America's cruise industry is worth about $21 billion and employs more than 148,000 individuals.
  • The top trend for American cruise travelers is traveling to a European destination.
  • The cruising demand has risen by around 20.5% in the past five years.
  • Up to 15% of the population in the United States have cruised at least once during their life.
  • More than three-fourths (80%) of passengers journey on trips in pairs with their boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse, while at least 29% also travel with their children.

Research Strategy:

To determine the percentage of all vacations in the United States that are cruises, we initially attempted to locate readily available reports on the country's cruise industry, along with existing data on vacationers and their preferences. We searched through annual reports from FCCA/CLIA, industry and market publications such as Market Research and Reuters, and financial news like Forbes and CNBC. Though we found insights on the cruise sector and the volume of individuals that attend cruises in the United States each year, we were unable to distinguish the figure these people represent from the vacationers. Also, the information was available for 2017 only, as the most recent reports on the cruise industry were published in 2018. Since they are released every three years, we used this as the closest year of reference.

Next, we decided to conduct a triangulation/calculation using the data points we came across during our research:


1) Since 62% of all adults in the United States took a vacation away from their home in 2017, we assumed that cruises are included in this percentage as they are away from home.

2) The number of adults in the United States was 252,063,800 in 2017, so we multiplied this figure by 62% to determine the number of adults going on vacations: 252,063,800 * 62% = 156,279,556.

3) Out of the 11.9 million Americans that went on a cruise in 2017, 72% were baby boomers or seniors, 7% were millennials, and 7% were GenX-ers. Therefore, 86% of all passengers were adults (72 + 7 + 7 = 86%), meaning that less than 14% were children or born after 1996, which are not adults (100 - 86 = 14%).

4) We then multiplied the percentage of adults cruising (86%) by the number of Americans who went on a cruise (11.9 million) to obtain the number of adults who cruised in 2017: 11,900,000 * 0.86 = 10,234,000. The rest were children traveling with them, 1,666,000 (11,900,000 - 10,234,000) or 14% of all passengers.

5) Afterward, we divided the number of adults that went on a cruise (10,234,000) by the total number that went on a vacation away from home in 2017 (156,279,556). We then multiplied the result by 100 to obtain the percentage: (10,234,000/156,279,556) * 100 = 6.54%. Hence, we estimated that 6.54% of all vacations reported by adults in 2017 were cruises. This figure includes cruises attended by children, who must be accompanied by an adult, supervisor, or guardian.

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High Market Share Brands

In reference to our findings, some of the academic studies that examine the challenges high market share brands face in driving growth provide information on brands such as Google, PepsiCo, General Motors, General Electric, General Foods, and U.S. Steel. Further details in regard to our findings and research strategy follows below.





We used the following strategies in our search for any publicly available academic studies that met the specifics of the research criteria.


We started research by directly searching for any academic studies that examined the challenges high market share brands face in driving growth through various credible academic databases that included but were not limited to Academia, Harvard Business Review, and World Research Library. Through this strategy, we came across an academic paper published by the Southern Cross University that provided information on how high market share companies such as Google and PepsiCo have sustained their competitive advantage and what the brands did to achieve the same. However, the study provided limited information on the challenges faced by these high market share brands.

Further, we came across another study published by the Priazovskyi State Technical University, Mariupol, Ukraine that provided information on the challenges faced by high market-share companies and how these companies overcame the same.
In addition, we also came across an academic paper published by the European Journal of Futures Research that provided information on challenges faced by high market share companies in driving growth. However, the study did not focus on any specific high market share brand and provided generic information on how high market share brands can achieve growth.

Since there was a limited number of academic studies in the public domain that directly answered the research question, we moved on to searching for companies with high market shares in their respective industries. Through this, we came across an article that provided names of 10 high market share brands. The idea here was to search for any relevant academic studies based around the challenges faced by these brands in driving growth. However, most of the academic studies published on databases such as Core, Directory of Open Access Journals, and Bielefeld Academic Search Engine did not provide any useful information on these brands.

As a last resort, we decided to search for any news articles, press releases, and publications that could provide any information on challenges high market share brands face in driving growth. The idea here was to find any news article that quoted an academic study that was related to the requested information. The leading media outlets referred to in this strategy included Forbes, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Business Insider, Fortune, and Bloomberg. However, most of the news articles found provided general information on industries with high market share brands and did not provide any references to relevant academic studies.
After exhausting the above mentioned strategies, we concluded that a limited number of academic studies that examine the challenges high market share brands face in driving growth are available in the public domain.
  • Academic studies covering strategies adopted by specific high market share brands in driving growth.
  • Academic studies covering generic information on high market share brands .
  • Academic studies covering all aspects of the research criteria i.e. challenges in driving growth, steps taken to gain additional market share, and key strategies for success.
  • One of the probable reasons for the unavailability of relevant information could be that most of the academic studies cover only the challenges faced or key strategies for success separately
  • It could also be possible that no academic studies have been published that specifically cover challenges faced or key strategies for success by high market share brands .
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High-Share Brand Porfolios

Some of the best practices for high market share brand portfolios to increase brand growth without harming other brands in their portfolio include the following: establish a brand architecture, reorganize the brand portfolio, adopt segmentation, and reducing each brand's SKUs.

1. Establishing brand architecture

  • Mentioned in's brand architecture, their strategy attempts to optimize "the hierarchy, linkages, and roles of brands within the portfolio in support of the business strategy."
  • As an example. 3M has established the structure of linking brands' identities and functions successfully throughout their multiple brands.
  • The hierarchies involve layers, such as corporate brands which showcase the company's identity as a way of endorsing the product. Other examples of these hierarchies are master, endorsing, and ingredient brands, which all have unique structures on how they promote a brand architecture.


  • As seen from the annual reports of the company, the company had success in terms of increasing its net sales by 5.1% YoY to a net figure of 31.7 BN dollars.
  • In the worldwide sales change analysis for the company, it was also found that all its business segments which is catered by various brands experienced positive sales change in categories starting from the lowest increase in the Health care with 6.0% YoY to 15.0% YoY in Safety and Graphics.

2. Brand Reorganization

  • Revlon Inc. restructured its portfolio of brands, breaking them into four different segments.
  • They chose to leave iconic brands such as Revlon and Elizabeth Arden as standalone products. However, they condensed all fragrances into one segment and combining brands such as Almay, American Crew, and Sinful Colors became part of another segment of this division.
  • As part of the brand reorganization project, executives within the company were also rearranged.
  • A president was assigned to each of the four new segments.
  • Five additional positions were incorporated, including "a marketing vice president, creative director, packaging vice president, digital director and finance vice president."


  • It was seen that as a result of this brand reorganization, all brands except Revlon experienced a significant increase in their profits for 3 months, which ended on December 31, 2018.
  • For brands like Elizabeth Arden, the percentage increase was 380.4%, while for fragrances it was 48.1%.

3. Segmentation, targeting, positioning

  • Walt Disney separated its portfolio strategy to engage different segments of the audience.
  • Of these audience segments, children were a primary target by using brands they could incorporate throughout cartoons, merchandise, and theme parks.
  • Walt Disney's branding strategy "uses a mix of demographic, psychographic and behavioural segmentation strategies."

  • Following this segmented targeting and value-based positioning, Walt Disney has become "the second largest media conglomerate with such high brand value" with an equivalently high market share.


4. Focus and reduction of SKUs

  • Eliminating marginalized, unused, or old SKUs within a brand portfolio will help a company to optimize its focus on successful brands.
  • As seen from companies who have implemented this strategy, this way of building up brands places attention "on a particular market position, demographic, or unmet consumer need."
  • CPG leaders such as P&G have brought their SKUs from thousands to hundreds.

  • Global CPG leaders like P&G and Unilever follow this method of optimizing their high-share brand portfolios.
  • Katie Rothschild from Interbrand acknowledges how other market leaders such as Gillette, Pampers (#28), and Kellogg's (which all have a large portfolio of brands) also follow this strategy.

  • This strategy has been successful for competing against companies with smaller brand portfolios who could take away a significant market share from global giants, which has completely restructured the traditional approach of FMCG Marketing.
  • When using this strategy or practice, brands with lighter portfolios were quick to adopt new trends into their lines, while also being at the head of the market, and be the first to establish new audiences.

From Part 02
  • "The 2018 total worldwide ocean cruise industry is estimated at $45.6 billion (a 4.6% increase over 2017) with 26.0 million annualized passengers carried (a 3.3% increase over 2017). "
  • "Total worldwide ocean cruise capacity at the end of 2018 will be 537,000 passengers and 314 ships."
  • "Currently, 265 ships run almost every day of the year carrying an average of 1,200 passengers."
  • "The industry is ruled by three companies: Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line. Together they control 82 percent of the market and made $2.8 billion in 2016."
From Part 05
  • "Google, PepsiCo and Singapore Airlines are all organisations that possess particular strategic capabilities which contribute to their sustained competitive advantage."
  • "The purpose of the report is to explore and understand what capabilities lead to sustained competitive advantage for the case organisations; analysis of the each of the cases is based from the beginning of the organisations to present."
  • "Google has become one of the world’s most trusted and used search engines holding over 66% of the global search market (Net Market Share 2015), followed by direct competitor Bing with a much smaller 10% of market share."
  • "PepsiCo is placed first, second and third globally in the savoury snacks, social beverages and nutrition markets (Johnston & Compton n.d.), respectively; with PepsiCo outperforming its chief competitor, The Coca Cola Company, in 2014, experiencing organic growth of 3.5% and Coca Cola only 2% growth over the year (Forbes 2014)."
  • "By diversifying successfully into markets that are different from the one it dominates, a company can ensure that a steady stream of profits will continue even after something as drastic as an antitrust divestiture has occurred"
  • "Many high market-share companies have done just this. For example, the Brookings Institution’s classic examination of the pricing practices of 20 major corporations (including General Motors, General Electric, General Foods, and U.S. Steel) revealed that antitrust concerns seemed to motivate several high-share companies to diversify."
  • "Many of the companies interviewed expressed a preference for making their way into new markets, wherein their share would be a minor fraction, to dominating the market in the established product."
  • "The adoption of diversification strategies by dominant organizations normally has positive social benefits."
  • "high market share units generate the cash flow that can be invested in the unit, used for corporate expenses or transferred to other businesses."
  • "Growth requires cash input to finance added assets. The added cash required to hold share is a function of growth rates."
  • "High market share must be earned or bought. Buying market share requires an additional increment of investment."
From Part 06
  • "Brand architecture is part organisation and part military strategy, in other words brand architecture is about optimising the hierarchy, linkages, and roles of brands within the portfolio in support of the business strategy."
  • "Products, business units, specific services, marketing programs, features, lines extensions, apps, web sites, etc all need names. How these names relate is the difference between brand coherence and brand confusion."
  • "36 yards of Scotch Tape costs a mere $4.79. While most of us have a roll or two on hand, it’s hardly a daily staple. Yet the company that Scotch Tape is the signature product of, 3M Co. (MMM), has a market cap of $110.5 billion, as of October 23, 2018. Are adhesives really that big of a business?"
  • "3M is the leading company in the U.S. for pressure-sensitive tape as of October 2018, producing products for over 25% of the American market."
  • "With that target in mind, Revlon is reorganizing into four divisions. Revlon and Elizabeth Arden will operate in their own segments, Fragrances will operate as a unit, and the remaining brands such as Almay, American Crew, Sinful Colors, Mitchum and others will operate as the Portfolio division, Garcia explained."
  • "Along with that, we are creating regions so we can complement our brand-centric organization with a customer development sales organization,” Garcia said. Revlon will have five areas of geographic focus: North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia, Pacific and Latin America. John Collier, currently senior vice president of the North American consumer division, will be president of North America; Eric Lauzat will be president of EMEA and Asia with regional vice president Marco Ficarelli; Jaime Vazquez will be regional vice president for LatAm; Tracey Raso will be the regional managing director for the Pacific region, and Enrico Baldassarri will be regional managing director for Africa."
  • "The regions report to the chief operating officer of markets, Pieraccioni, and each brand division is led by its own president — Anne Talley at Revlon, JuE Wong at Arden, George Cleary for Fragrances and Sennen Pamich for the Portfolio segment. "
  • "The first thing that the brand presidents have to do is define a three-year growth strategy — where and how they’re going to grow their brands, in which segments, in which countries, [with] what kind of brand positioning,” Garcia said. “Then they will produce all the marketing programs…and all innovation that will come to market."
  • "Below each division president is a group of five: a marketing vice president, creative director, packaging vice president, digital director and finance vice president, Garcia explained. “The idea here is that each brand needs to have a consistent look and feel,” he said. In addition to the VP-level creative directors, the company is in the process of hiring a chief creative officer, who will oversee each group’s creative director, according to Garcia."
  • "As Reported operating income increased 65.1% to $32.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2018"
  • "Segmentation helps in identifying the groups to be targeted and the accordingly, market is divided into subgroups with homogeneous characteristics and demand pattern. Walt Disney company being a leader in its business uses a mix of demographic, psychographic and behavioural segmentation strategies."
  • "One of the primary segments of the Walt Disney group is children who are targeted specifically with their animated cartoons, merchandise, theme parks. However, Disney has such a big influence on our lives, that even we adults are their target segments now."
  • "As the services offered by the company are meant for different customer groups and therefore it uses differentiated targeting strategy to serve the customer segments accordingly"
  • "Being the second largest media conglomerate with such high brand value it garners a high share of heart and share of wallet in the industry. It uses value-based positioning strategy. "
  • "Parks & Resorts segment revenue, increased by 3.79 % faster than Walt Disney Co's competitors within this segment and its market share improved to approx. 49.5 %"
  • "Walt Disney Co achieved revenue growth of 12.89 % in Studio Entertainment segment, and improved market share, to approximate 18.88 %."
  • "An interesting trend in the last decade or so, is that some CPG leaders, such as P&G and Unilever, have significantly culled the number of their brands’ SKUs. In some cases, this has meant reducing them from thousands down to “mere” hundreds and they continue to do so on a regular basis."
  • "Katie Rothschild from Interbrand noticed this too. In her analysis she says: “A number of FMCG brands have a stronghold within the BGB table, such as Gillette (#24), Pampers (#28), and Kellogg’s (#39). These are global household names that possess a combination of strong heritage, positive family associations, and the trustworthiness that is all-important for brands that are bought on a daily basis and consumed instantly. "
  • "However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the success of smaller, niche brands is starting to chip away at the market share of these global giants and shake up the traditional approach of FMCG marketing. "
  • "Niche brands cleverly make use of their nimble size to tap into new trends, be first to market, and win new audiences through visual and verbal storytelling. The big guys are taking notice. Niche brands focus on a particular market position, demographic, or unmet consumer need, and with this focus comes deep understanding of consumer’s needs and wants. What can established global businesses learn from the success of these brands, and what growth opportunities do they represent?"