Electric Boats: Consumer trends and 5 tips for selling

By Erin Ruane

How should dealerships approach emerging technology, like electric boats, that may be unfamiliar to shoppers? To help dealers craft informed strategies, Boatline, an online marketplace for buying and selling watercraft, is sharing insight from a recent survey of marine consumers to identify current electric boat trends and tips for selling them.

Current electric boat trends

Among survey respondents, 39% reported they were exclusively considering an electric boat for their next purchase. Another 33% stated they were actively looking for both gas and electric boats. Only 27% of boat shoppers said they were exclusively searching for a gas-powered boat.

When asked if they would ever consider buying electric, 16% said they were immediately looking to buy, 25% hoped to buy within a year, and 19% expected to buy in the next two to five years. However, 32% of boat shoppers said they were “not sure when” they would consider buying electric and 8% said they never would—demonstrating ongoing consumer uncertainty.

Participants reported the most appealing elements of electric boats were quiet engines (54%), saving money on gas (47%), and producing less emissions (46%)/less environmental impact (45%). Alternatively, the top drawbacks identified by boat shoppers were charging time (49%), battery weight (38%), higher initial investment (34%), and a lack of infrastructure to support electric boats (35%).

Finally, survey respondents were asked what might change their minds about electric boats if they were hesitant to buy. Boat shoppers said the most persuasive messages would be testimonials from current electric boat owners (43%) and informative articles about electric boats (42%). Another 37% said more models to choose from, while 36% said informative videos. Finally, 34% said seeing more people with electric boats would make a difference.

5 tips for selling electric boats:

  1. Familiarize yourself with consumers
    It’s important to understand how your consumer base perceives electric boats. To craft your marketing strategies, ask if they’re interested in electric boats, if they would consider buying them, and what advantages and disadvantages they associate with electric boats. When you have a better idea of your consumers’ preferences, you’ll have a better idea of how to lead them down the sales path.
  2. Identify the most persuasive strategies
    Identify the best marketing channels to persuade consumers to buy electric boats and drive sales. Based on the survey results, boat consumers clearly want first hand reviews from electric boat users to inform their own purchase decisions. Tap your recent electric boat customers to provide quotes and testimonials that can enhance your marketing strategies. The survey also made it clear that, as a new innovation, consumers want more information about electric boats, and your dealership can become that expert resource by providing quality articles and videos.
  3. Highlight the benefits
    When it comes to implementing your sales strategy, consider how you’ll frame your messages to drive sales. Highlight the benefits of electric boats found in the recent survey, including quieter engines, savings on gas money, zero emissions, and less environmental impact.
  4. Educate your consumers
    When you’re highlighting benefits of electric boats, address consumer concerns and overcome them by educating shoppers. The survey showed several obstacles, including engine charging time, weight of electric batteries, lack of electric boat infrastructure, and higher prices. Reshape the conversation by emphasizing electric boats offer long-term benefits, such as savings on batteries over the years vs. soaring fuel prices.
  5. Create effective listings
    Dealers should know, whether you’re selling electric, hybrid or gas-powered boats, it’s imperative to create effective listings online to power sales. When listing your for-sale inventory, take high-quality photos and videos of the unit, set a market-competitive price, ensure listing descriptions are comprehensive and accurate, provide up-to-date contact information, and be responsive to incoming leads.

Electric boats present an exciting and emerging opportunity for dealers to drive sales. For more analysis of electric boat trends and tips for selling, look for an upcoming dealer whitepaper from Boatline. 

Erin Ruane is the Executive Vice President of Marketing at Trader Interactive, parent company of Boatline.

Boatline partners with dealerships to help sell new and pre-owned inventory on their dynamic online marketplace. Boatline is a division of Trader Interactive and belongs to the well-known “Trader” family of brands, with decades of experience connecting buyers and sellers of lifestyle and commercial vehicles. Listing inventory through Boatline helps dealers increase their visibility, generate customer connections, drive sales, and maximize profits. For more information on the Boatline consumer data, contact Erin Ruane at erin.ruane@traderinteractive.com.

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