Reflections from YBAA University, July 20, 2017, in Providence, RI
by Peter Amos, Essex Yacht Sales
It’s terrific to get together with fellow industry professionals. I am always grateful to Vin and his staff for arranging these meetings. On this occasion, one topic really captured my attention.
“It all starts with a sale”
Working day-by-day, deal-by-deal, it is easy to forget that it is our aggregate success that defines this industry. We can be proud that together, YBAA members keep the wheels turning, creating a well-ordered, dynamic marketplace that makes the boating industry tick. Yes, it all starts with a sale.
We enjoyed hearing Freya Olsen of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). Ms. Olsen opened with startling statistics highlighting the ‘graying’ of boat buyers. The data indicates:
- Reduced numbers of first-time buyers, combined with a high attrition rate, with an alarming 54% selling their first boat and not replacing it.
- 2.4 million new owners entered from 2005 and 2010, but 2.9 million exited
- 2.0 million new owners entered from 2010 to 2015, but 2.6 million exited
- This is a net loss of over 1 million boat owners over 10 years
The post-WWII ‘baby-boomers’ are still avid boaters, (think about your clients), but as this generation retires from boating, who will be replacing them, and what kind of boating experiences will successive generations be seeking?
In 1997, the average age of a boat owner was 47 years, but by 2015 it had increased to 55. The average age is increasing by about by six months. The bar chart below is for 2015.
NMMA Marketing Campaign
Ms. Olsen outlined NMMA’s response. She described NMMA’s energetic marketing campaign to attract and retain new boaters. They coined the phrase ‘Vacation on Demand’
NMMA has produced a wide variety of delightful free videos, posters and marketing graphics available to our industry at: https://www.growboating.org/
And for would-be boat owners, there is a dedicated website http://www.discoverboating.com/ with a variety of educational resources and interactive tools such as ‘Boat Selector’, ‘Cost Comparison’, and ‘Boat Loan Calculator’. (Linked to the YBAA website).
Helping each other
The take-away is that YBAA and NMMA encourage all brokers, dealers and manufacturers to spread the word. Whether it be through traditional publicity channels, social media, websites, boat shows, open houses, training and educational programs, or talking with prospects, every interaction with potential boaters helps us all, as an industry.
Very simply, Brokerages, Dealers and Manufacturers prosper when more consumers choose boating as their recreation of choice. We should know - a rising tide lifts all boats.
Market Data and Graphics in this article are reproduced by kind permission of NMMA.
Peter Amos is Operations Director at Essex Yacht Sales, an independent brokerage in New England, owned by Leslie Quarrier. Essex Yacht Sales is a proud member of YBAA and IYBA.
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