Boat shows still beneficial

The first in a series of in-depth reports that will examine which marketing channels influence consumers the most as they’re deciding whether or not to purchase a new boat was released yesterday and its findings indicate that boat shows still play a very important role in the shopping and purchase process.

Among the findings of the “Boat Show Report” were these:

– For consumers who attended a boat show, the boat show had the most influence on their decision to buy a boat (57 percent ranking 4 or 5 on a 5 point scale) vs. their experience at a dealership (54 percent) and the Internet (47 percent).

– Among buyers who attended a boat show, 70 percent purchased their new boat within three months of attending the show.

– Nearly six in ten new boat buyers (57 percent) attended at least one boat show in the 12 months prior to buying their boat.

– Nearly 20 percent of new boat buyers were first introduced to their dealer at a boat show.

“Boat shows offer a very important combination of factual information plus emotional stimulus,” said Ron Hein, executive vice president for Foresight – the marketing research company that conducted the study – which was funded by a group of industry organizations including the National Marine Manufacturers Association and several state associations. “The most notable finding to come out of the boat show analysis is that the average new boat buyer spent 49 minutes at the display of the brand he/she eventually purchased. It is no surprise that most buyers who attend a show mostly have their mind made up when leaving the show and purchase shortly thereafter.”

Foresight said it would publish reports on the marketing channels that have the most influence on purchase. These analyses will include boat shows, the dealership experience and the Internet. The findings are the result of interviews among 3,295 boat buyers who purchased a boat during the last 18 months, ending August 2010.  The study looks at behaviors, information received and how buyers were influenced to select the boat they did.

The Boat Show Report will be provided to NMMA members at no cost, according to the release, and NMMA is expected to e-mail the report to its members and boat show/boat dealer exhibitors sometime this week. Analysis on the additional marketing channels will be released later this winter.


  1. Glad to hear that boat shows are still beneficial. It won’t be long until the season starts again and hopefully there will be more people who are able to enjoy the benefits of boating.
    Thanks for the post,
    Jane Warren

  2. Could you forward me a Calendar for 2011 Boat Shows nationwide? Or direct me to the right website?
    Katie Curtis
    Hamilton Marine, Inc.

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