Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that there’s been a steadily increasing interest in ‘hoverboards’ over the course of 2015. However, the size of the increase may surprise you.
The map above shows the percentage increase in monthly Google searches for hoverboards in August 2015 (latest month data is available) compared to August 2014. Across the United States as a whole, searches grew from 40,500 to 1,500,000, a 3,603.70% increase!
Yet, the increase in popularity was not evenly distributed. The 10 states with the biggest increases in interest were:
1. Washington DC: 8,519%
2. New Jersey: 4,850%
3. Delaware: 4,789%
4. New York: 4,525%
5. Maryland: 4,493%
6. Mississippi: 3,782%
7. Georgia: 3,708%
8. Pennsylvania: 3,708%
9. Illinois: 3,681%
10. South Carolina: 3,671%
But even in the 10 states that grew the least, there was still at least a 1,000% increase. States with the slowest growth in interest were:
1. Wisconsin: 1,956%
2. Oregon: 1,951%
3. Colorado: 1,710%
4. North Dakota: 1,627%
5. Alaska: 1,355%
6. Vermont: 1,329%
7. Wyoming: 1,329%
8. Utah: 1,273%
9. Montana: 1,043%
10. Idaho: 1,015%
You can get a full list by state at the bottom of this post.
However, while the above tells us a lot about the growth rates in hoverboard interest, it doesn’t tell us overall interest. To see that we created the following map that shows monthly searches for hoverboards per 1,000 people in August 2015 by US state:
The states with the highest interest per capita are:
1. Washington DC: 27.47 searches per 1,000 people per month
2. California: 6.47
3. New Jersey: 5.58
4. Nevada: 5.36
5. Texas: 5.18
6. Georgia: 4.99
7. Massachusetts: 4.98
8. Delaware: 4.80
9. Illinois: 4.70
10. Florida: 4.68
The states with the lowest interest per capita are:
1. Mississippi: 2.21 searches per 1,000 people per month
2. Alaska: 2.19
3. Maine: 2.18
4. Iowa: 2.15
5. West Virginia: 1.94
6. South Dakota: 1.92
7. Idaho: 1.82
8. Wyoming: 1.73
9. Vermont: 1.60
10. Montana: 1.59
While the groups of states are quite similar there are some notable differences. For example, even though the popularity of hoverboards is not growing as quickly in California, it remains the states with the highest overall interest.
Washington DC has a much higher interest, but this may just be because it’s a city, whereas rural states have relatively low levels of interest in hoverboards.
Why the sudden increase in interest?
While it’s difficult to say for sure why the number of monthly searches has soared as much as it has. It likely comes down to 4 related trends that have all converged this year:
Rise of ‘hoverboard’ scooters: These new toys have taken the US by storm. While not true hoverboards, they have nevertheless managed to capture the nation’s imagination.
Kickstarter campaigns: In the past year there have been 2 relatively prominent kickstarter campaigns related to hoverboards. The most recent has been the Hoverboard by Hoverboard Technologies, which again is not a true hoverboard and has yet to meet its funding goal.
The more successful one has been the Hendo Hover, which looks like it will be a true hoverboard. It successfully raised over $500,000 on Kickstarter, including 11 people who each pledged $10,000 for a real working hoverboard. It’s been generating a lot of press and viral videos including a test spin by Tony Hawk.
Other viral videos: On top of the hype surrounding hoverboard scooters and potential hoverboard prototypes, 2015 has also seen several viral videos playing off the idea of hoverboards.
A third video making the rounds is Catalin Alexandru Duru’s breaking of the Guinness World Records Title for the Farthest journey by hoverboard.
Back To The Future: Finally, in Back to the Future Part II Marty McFly travels to 2015 (October, 21st to be exact) and famously uses a hoverboard in an attempt to escape Griff and his gang.
While the scene looks a little dated now, everyone in 1989 wanted a hoverboard for Christmas, something Universal Pictures seems to be trying to capitlize on with their Official: Hoverboard Commercial.
Moreover, it’s likely this scene that’s inspired most if not all of the other products above. Not too bad for a film that received mixed reviews at the time of its release.
Here’s the complete data set for all hoverboard searches by state:
'Hoverboard' Search Data
|State||Growth In Searches (August 2015 vs August 2014)||Monthly Searches Per 1,000 People|
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