Two industry forecasts came across my desk last week that share similar projected growth patterns for very different sectors.

The global stand-up paddleboard market is expected to grow at a rate of 7 percent between 2019 and 2023. That’s slightly faster than the global shoulder-fired weapons market, which is expected to grow by 6 percent during the same period. Both reports were distributed by market research company Technavio.

The paddleboards and shoulder-fired weapons (mostly anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles) sectors share more than a similar projected growth rate. Both products are used by a single person. Each touches a part of the body when in use.

After that, I can’t think of two products more different.

One is quiet, one loud. One is used for recreation, the other for destruction. One is appropriate for children, the other not so much.

The total global value of the stand-up paddleboard market stood at just under $5 billion in 2015, according to Statistia. Experts forecast the paddleboard industry will be worth almost $10 billion by 2020.

The total global value of the shoulder-fired weapons market stood at $5.83 billion in 2016, according to Experts forecast the shoulder-fired weapons industry will be worth $7.7 billion by 2022.

Those numbers suggest the use of paddleboards is growing faster than the use of shoulder-fired weapons. So investors may view paddleboards as the better opportunity for profit.

But there’s plenty of profit to be had in the weapons market, too.

Shoulder-fired weapons appear to be gaining popularity in the combat arena. The MarketsAndMarkets press release on shoulder-fired weapons suggests that the small weapons, able to be handled by a single user, are gaining traction in war zones across the globe because they’re relatively cheap compared to larger devices. And technology is making shoulder-fired weapons more powerful and accurate.

“Developing countries such as China and India, among others, are investing more in man portable weapon systems,” the release states. “India recently signed a contract with Israel for acquiring more than 275 launchers and 5,500 spike missiles. The deal includes transfer of technology to build another 1,500 launchers and 30,000 missiles.”

“Major players in the shoulder fired weapons market are Lockheed Martin Corporation (U.S.), Thales Group (France), Saab AB (Sweden), KBP Instrument Design Bureau (Russia), Raytheon Company (U.S.), and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems (Israel), among others,” the release states.

Technavio’s report on the stand-up paddleboard industry also highlights the role of technology and a changing marketplace.

“Major industry players are shifting steadily from standardized all-use inflatable SUPs to premium purpose-oriented SUPs such as lightweight and high-performance variants for racing, and broad and stable ones for fishing or exercising. Manufacturers have begun focusing on adopting innovative technologies and using novel materials in their new SUP product ranges,” the report states.

Technological improvements drive sales and profits. Technology is marching forward in both industries at a solid pace.

“The U.S., China, and India are expected to be lucrative markets for shoulder fired weapons,” the MarketsAndMarkets release states.

“The North American region led the (paddleboard) market in 2018, followed by Europe, APAC (Asia-Pacific), South America, and MEA (Middle East and Africa),” the Technavio report states.

Contact Business Editor Dan Nielsen at 231-933-1467 or