Na...you really have given all this a lot of thought.It is very noticeable. I hope you crack the nut on your present stressful situation. As for my gut feeling, well, the more I think about it, the less I know. I'll have to ponder it some more.
Nah, not much thought at all. More like ramblings at 1am...
Actually some of this stuff I'd use to write about in the old days of doing arts journalism. The rest is learning a bit about data collection and the problems of confounding variables; basic high school science classes usually teach some rudimentary stuff on methodology. (And thanks for the kind thoughts)
Na, you are right. I'm doing due diligence on starting a puppetry business. I appreciate your thoughts.
I've only found one similar person around, a magician who makes some use of puppets. I suspect that there may be some church-based troops. I did research and found no statistics, which was not surprising. The puppeteers I've seen at local events were from out of the area. One local toy store had a puppet theater in the basement, but it closed at the beginning of this year. So I'm seeing mixed signs.
In which I case I recommend doing the usual 'market competition' stuff.... I forget the official term. Usually it's just looking around for similar businesses in your area, seeing what they do, where they publicise, what weaknesses they have, etc. I haven't done it myself but I'm sure you'll find a lot of resources on how to do this online somewhere.
A puppeteer I know did this at the start of the year and had similar issues: locally puppetry wasn't really represented; magicians or clowns with puppets as a side thing; or had X and Y puppets but no Z puppets. It could just be your area doesn't have a lot of puppetry, or it could be that no one is interested. The best thing to do is not to ask us or look for stats, but to go direct to the people who would be interested. In other words, grab a puppet, go to your local X (mall/park/festival/whatever), and get people to fill out surveys. In fact, you should do that as well as looking at your competition and what they do.
Official stats really would be hard to find.