Industry survey: Boat shows lead to sales

Published online: Dec 02, 2010 News Trade Only Today
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Boat shows are one of the top influencers of boat-buying decisions - behind dealership experience and the Internet - according to the 2010 Boat Show Purchase Influence Report, based on a survey conducted by Foresight Research.

Foresight Research's Ron Hein provided a detailed look at the report Tuesday during a webinar. The report is based on a survey of 3,295 buyers of new powerboats who purchased their boats between January 2009 and August 2010. The survey looked at eight powerboat segments, such as pontoon, aluminum fishing boats and cruisers, and divided participants into seven geographic regions.

Buyers said they attended an average of 1.8 boat shows before making their purchase, although that figure varies by type of boat purchased and region. Buyers of fiberglass fishing boats, for example, reported going to 2.7 shows. Radio, television and newspaper ads are the key ways consumers find out about shows.

Boat shows are a key influencer in the decision-making process because of consumers' ability to compare prices and models, as well as being able to see and climb into the boats.

"This is kind of the one-two punch," Hein said.

Most people who attend a show - 61 percent - got the information they needed at a show to make a buying decision, the research shows. The study found that 64 percent of people go to a show planning to visit the display of a brand they want to buy, although 36 percent came across the brand they ultimately purchased.

Consumers spent an average of 49 minutes at the display of the brand of boat they ultimately purchased.

There's an average of 3.3 months from the time of the boat show until the time of purchase, Hein said.

"The boat show influence is not done after the first month or two," he noted.

Most people travel about one hour to get to a boat show, although in some regions - such as the Mid-Atlantic - that time climbs to 2.3 hours on average.

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