As the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Show gets under way, two organizations announced a new monthly survey that will track consumer purchases of boating equipment.
The online survey will be managed jointly by outdoor economics research firm Southwick Associates and Home Port Marine Marketing, a marketing and marine products development consultancy. The survey is intended to help those in the industry better understand what products consumers want.
"We're trying to get a good handle on what consumers are actually buying," said David Pilvelait, chief operating officer of Home Port. "Not what manufacturers, distributors and retailers are telling us consumers are buying."
Estimates of annual U.S. marine aftermarket accessory sales generally are around $2.5 to $3 billion, but there is little data beyond that, according to Pilvelait. The survey will track specific, individual boater purchases across all major marine product categories,
"The Southwick/Home Port survey will track a wide range of monthly accessory purchases," said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, in a statement. "We will be able to report brands and their market shares, sales trends and where people buy boating products."
Southwick Associates, which provides research for Home Port clients, has developed similar surveys for the hunting and fishing industry.
"You really want to know what kind of products consumers are buying," said Pilvelait.
Consumers will be asked to register and report their marine accessory purchases online at www.boatersurvey.com. The survey will offer incentives such as gift certificates, contests and other promotions to encourage boaters to participate. Southwick and Home Port hope to attract between 1,500 and 2,000 participants.
"That's statistically significant enough," said Pilvelait.
A summary of the results will be released monthly, according to Pilvelait. More detailed reports will be available by subscription. Southwick will administer the survey and Home Port will do the analysis of the data.
"Everybody has internal information, but nobody has good benchmark information to assess their performance against the market," said Home Port president Jim Georgiadis, in a statement.
MAATS opened Wednesday and continues through Friday at the Las Vegas Hilton and Convention Center.