Boater survey delivers good news for industry

CLEVELAND – Key Recreation Lending, the marine lending division of KeyBank NA, released the results of its first survey regarding national boating trends, which offers good news for marine manufacturers, dealers and lenders, the company said in a release yesterday.

The special boating survey found that affluent Americans are more likely to be boating enthusiasts and to continue the trend of luxury spending despite plans to reduce personal investments due to concerns about the national economy.

Key's survey also found considerable interest for the sport of boating among affluent Americans. According to the survey, 37 percent of affluent Americans nationally either own a boat or are interested in owning a boat in the near future. In fact, the number of affluent Americans who own a boat (14 percent) is three times higher than the national average of 4.4 percent.

The results indicated positive marine buying trends among the affluent, as a higher percentage (23 percent) are interested in owning a boat in the future than those who already own a boat (14 percent). In addition, about 10 percent of affluent Americans plan to buy a new boat in the next three years.

"The results of our first national boating survey indicate some real opportunities for dealers, lenders and manufacturers," said Ken Landon, CEO of Key Recreation Lending and executive vice president of KeyCorp. "The survey revealed that many affluent Americans are interested in the sport of boating.

"These survey results are good news for the marine industry as a whole, as they show there is still room for growth among a very good, qualified audience of potential customers."

The survey was conducted in conjunction with the McDonald Financial Group Affluent Consumer Confidence Index – a quarterly survey that gauges the economic confidence and spending and investing sentiment of affluent Americans. McDonald Financial Group is a part of KeyCorp.

When asked the question, "If money were no object, what type of boat would you purchase?" most affluent Americans who do not yet own a boat (about 55 percent) chose a motor yacht or cabin cruiser for their dream boat. Twenty percent preferred a sailboat, 14 percent picked a fishing boat and 11 percent selected a runabout or ski boat.

Luxury spending remains high

Despite affluent Americans' worsening fears about the state of the U.S. economy and plans to reduce personal real estate and stock market investments to focus on wealth preservation, 83 percent have no intention of decreasing their luxury spending through the end of the year.

This positive trend can also be seen in their planned boat purchases. Among those affluent individuals who plan to buy a boat, as many as 26 percent expect to pay over $100,000 and another 15 percent say they will spend over $75,000 on their next boat purchase, according to KeyBank.

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