NBers prefer ATVs to video gaming

I was involved in a very interesting conference yesterday discussing the forestry industry in New Brunswick and one of the points in my presentation was that New Brunswickers are using the forest for recreation more than most other provinces.  I cited a few stats around spending on camping supplies and the number of fishing and hunting camps but the statistic that really stood out was our spending on all terrain vehicles.  In 2008, the average New Brunswick household spent $134 on the purchase of all-terrain vehicles –  three times more than the national average.  New Brunswickers spend more on ATVs than on video game systems and games.  Across Canada, the average household spends more than twice as much on video games compared to ATVs.  And this trend has persisted going back to the early 2000s.

If you want to see how this spending compares to other recreation, look at the following table.  I think I had better go out and get me an ATV.

Selected Recreational Categories – Average Household Expenditures (2008)

Purchase of all-terrain vehicles $134.00
Sports and athletic equipment 116.00
Photographic goods and services 101.00
Video game systems, accessories and video game cartridges 93.00
Home entertainment services 72.00
Movie theatres 72.00
Live performing arts 70.00
Audio equipment (for example, radios, CD players, speakers) 66.00
Digital cameras and accessories 64.00
Rental of videotapes and videodiscs 59.00
Musical instruments, parts and accessories 40.00
Purchase of bicycles, parts and accessories 40.00
Camping, picnic equipment and accessories (excluding bbqs) 36.00
Live sports events 35.00
Admission to museums and other activities 24.00
Children’s camps 22.00

Source: Statistics Canada Survey of Household Spending (2008).

5 thoughts on “NBers prefer ATVs to video gaming

  1. So how can this be used to our advantage? Instead of perceiving this is some indication of something lacking, how can we see it as an advantage?

    For instance, if we focus on ATV’s…. all of these NB ATV riders are collecting into clubs, who in-turn create trails. I believe NB has a mis-mash of a tremendous number of trails – none of which are collected on a GPS track database. This makes it very difficult to promote this resource as a tourist draw – for instance. I see “white gold” tourism advertising for snowmobiling, but nothing for ATV’ing.

    Also, I believe the ATV industry – overall – is growing. This growth establishes a healthy market for ATV accessories, and there are a great deal of untapped opportunities for innovation in this area. However, I can’t think of any ATV related products coming from New Brunswick (though I can think of one successful company out of Nova Scotia , Dalton Industries, who specialize in CVT transmission modifications required by those who make performance modifications to ATV’s. They (Dalton) pretty much define their market – it is not huge – but they own it, and there are 100’s if not 1000’s of other new potential accessories and parts that yet produced. I’m sure many New Brunswick ATV’er have dreamt up some do-dad or other that would be very marketable; but none of these ideas seem to be taken to the next step.

    This problem (the idea to product divide) permeates many facets of our economy. We cut many trees in this province, yet we are not leaders in lumber processing technologies; forestry machines are made elsewhere. (I’ve had it in the back of my mind to research the innovative influence on the industry from Forestry Engineering program at UNB, but have not taken the time to look into this – yet). What about fishing, aquaculture – are we exporting fish, or innovative products that help others fish/farm?

  2. ..just to add one more point to my last comment. I am concerned that NB economic development efforts are attempting to create mimic industry success found elsewhere. Many of these efforts are to create industrial success that doomed for their failure to aligned with the innovative and productive capacity of the region. In such cases, differentiation, by definition, is not the competitive advantage that we achieve. Instead, by developing “mimic industries” can only hope to gain a cost advantage – by being capable of “mimicking” very fast, and efficiently.

    For example, there is no socio-cultural or resource advantage in this region to that would support a healthy video game development industry, yet we pump money into this in the hopes we can create an industry cluster. Over time, enough money and effort can create a specialty area -like video game production – But frankly, there are many more industries that are untapped that would take far fewer resource to stimulate in order to result in some differentiated, valued, and exportable products.

  3. “We cut many trees in this province, yet we are not leaders in lumber processing technologies”

    As has been said a number of times before on this blog, we are 1) under-invested in R&D in NB compared to other jurisdictions, and 2) we are especially negligent in R&D in natural resources, including forestry. UNB had one of the best forestry engineering programs in the country a few decades ago; what happened?

    Likewise, we had a top quality computer sciences program a few decades ago at UNB. It has also been allowed to decline in stature, despite the evidence of several Fredericton businesses which directly or indirectly have links to those UNB programs. Since UNB is not likely to get much more funding from the public sector, UNB certainly needs to re-allocate its resources away the Humanities and Social Sciences and into science and engineering R&D.

    I think gps’ing the trails and marketing that is a good idea. On the other hand, ATV trails if not well-designed and managed can be extremely destructive to woodland areas and adversely impact watershed areas and water quality.

  4. @Richard,

    Though I can’t claim to know enough about UNB history to agree/disagree to your premise of a “hay-day” for the UNB Computer Science or Forestry program – but for arguments sake, let’s say there was…

    Did we find a corresponding increase in NB IT and Forestry Product product creation (and export) that was significantly difference from other regions? …

    …If not, then what would we need to do differently to ensure we get different (and better) results if the size of the programs were increased once again?

    …If so, then why don’t we find the resulting successful enterprises in-turn investing back into the programs – creating a “XYZ NB Company” School of Comp. Sci.? Of similar Forestry product research and development centre?

  5. I’d really be interested to know what the economic strategy IS. Higgs gave an interview to Irvings rags where he basically said the bad economic scenario is the reason why “Invest NB” has the mandate to “go out and get private investment”. Yet there is no mention what this strategy is or how its different than what the province was doing previously.
    I have seen a couple of forestry innovations come out of UNB lately, but I think the ‘good old days’ of forestry and computer science are largely mythical, or at least over-inflated. I think per capita you’d probably find as much university related computer startups as here in Waterloo. If it weren’t for ONE or maybe two companies in Waterloo, nobody would really be touting Waterloo either.

    But the most important thing is to find out what the strategy IS, before commenting on whether it will succeed or not.

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