Why Gen Xers aren’t buying boats (or much of anything)

Jay Sweet, Editor-in-ChiefOne of the common concerns I hear from boat dealers is that people my age (Gen Xers) aren’t buying boats. The Baby Boomer market (and Silent Generation) remain relatively strong, but as those groups age out of their prime buying years it can be a big area of concern.

The bad news is that is unlikely to change as Generation X has been hit disproportionately hard by the Great Recession. Demographer Neal Howe takes an in-depth look at the impact of the recession from a generational standpoint in his recent report. From 2007 to 2010, those currently aged 35 to 44 saw household net worth drop 54.4 percent. That’s 15 percentage points worse than any other age group.

The reasons are not that surprising: crashing home prices and stock market declines. As Howe writes:

They bought late into the real-estate market, they borrowed most against the value of their homes, and they tended to buy in the newer, faster-growing,  and exurban regions where home prices crashed the most steeply after 2006.  They also (I suspect) tended to invest their assets aggressively, as most investment managers say young adults should.

Older generations were better positioned and had smaller declines, while the Millenials in most cases hadn’t yet bought homes or invested heavily in retirement funds.

Howe’s full post is worth a read. Check it out here.




One comment

  1. Hey Jon,
    Gen Xers might not be buying boats, but Gen Yers are building them. Check out this autonomous boat built by a team of college students to go across the Atlantic: gotransat.com. No Yamaha on the back though.

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