Net loss of 1m boaters

Our industry has agreed to continue funding the Discover Boating campaign by extending the existing levy on engines, ribs and sailboats.

At the meeting held just before Christmas where the decision was made, some very compelling statistics provided by the NMMA and Info-Link, were revealed as to why that should happen. 

The presentation opened by stating that ‘the future of the industry is in the hands of a certain group of people – first time boat buyers’.

They showed that the industry suffered a net-loss of more than a million boaters between 2005 and 2015. The reason given for the decline was simple – the industry has not been replacing boaters as quickly as it loses them. Also, the numbers showed that 54% or 304,000 of the 524,000 first time boat buyers in 2005 had sold their boat and not replaced it. Research is underway to find out more details as to exactly why these people are abandoning boating and this information should be available in the next three months or so. 

The good news is that within the first-time boat buyers the research identified six groups of people who are first time buyers. They are Gear Guys (17%), Merry Mates (16%), Luxurious Leisurers (18%), Water Weekenders (23%), Seclusion Seekers (12%) and Nautical Natives (14%). The NMMA is educating the industry by sharing information on who these segments are and what makes them different.   

Meanwhile, the industry is encouraged to continue catering to the needs of the base to keep them in boating; find ways to reduce the churn among first-time buyers and to recognize and prepare for the likelihood that younger generations will want to consume boating differently than we are used to.

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