BRP’s Spark deserves some credit for PWC growth

For our upcoming cover story in the April issue on reaching younger buyers, we asked the fine folks at Info-Link to share the latest data on boat buyer age.

The good news was that, for the first time in a long time, the buyer age stayed relatively flat for most categories in 2014, and even declined in some. For the last several years that average has been increasing about six months a year -- not a good trend for our future growth as an industry.

As Peter Houseworth over at Info-Link pointed out we don't want to read too much into small declines or increases.

But one statistically significant swing was in the PWC category, where the average buyer age dropped 1.2 years, from 47.9 in 2013 to 46.7 in 2014.And that's in a year when PWC sales were up more than 20 percent.

That's huge and I think we can thank BRP for a lot of that. With the launch of the Spark, the company brought a lot of new people into the market. It was hard in 2014 to turn on the TV, visit a social media site or drive down the road  and not see an ad for the Spark. Through sponsorships and events they reached out to a new younger demographic.

While we don't know how many Sea-Doo ended up selling, if nothing else the company raised awareness of the segment and got people excited.

I heard from several dealers that people came into their businesses because of this marketing and even if they ended up buying a different model, that impact has been tremendous.

So imagine that: Fun+affordability+smart marketing = Growth. Who'd a thunk it?

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