A recent article potentially bodes ill

While the first column of the New Year ought to be a chirpy it’s going to be fantastic a recent article in the Wall Street Journal potentially bodes ill for the recreational boating industry over here.

It opened by stating 'Barely half of 30-year-olds earn more than their parents did at a similar age, a research team found, an enormous decline from the early 1970s'. To put this into perspective, the US Census Bureau reports that the median household income in 1975 was U$10,579 which adjusted for inflation would be U$47,227 today.

According to the Pew Research Center, the oldest 'Millennial' was born in 1981 and thus turned 30 in 2011. As has been noted before Millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as this nation’s largest living generation and have started their peak spending years.  Because of its economic potential, all manner of studies and articles are available on their spending habits. It is hard to find any market segments that directly correlate to our industry, but there are two that stand out; home ownership and automobile ownership. CNBC reports that 'Millennials cause homeownership rate to drop to lowest level since 1965' and says 'Millennials have the lowest home ownership rate of their age group in history.' A US Department of Labor report entitled Spending Habits by Generation states that 'Millennials have the fewest vehicles (1.5) of any generation, except those born before 1929'.

Clearly, there is not a quick fix available for our industry, but there is one significant positive step we can take. Currently, the industry does not act as a single entity because it operates as a collection of vested interests or groups enjoying benefits from an existing economic privilege. We need to function as a single unit that communicates directly with owners and removes most of the costs involved with promotion, distribution, and ownership. How about that for being chirpy! Happy New Year!

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