Boater survey reveals women do their homework before buying

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The final results of a year-long Web survey by BoatU.S. and Genmar suggests marine dealers and manufacturers should be taking the women’s market seriously.

Nearly one-third of women buying a boat did so on their own without their spouse or significant other, BoatU.S. reported. Women boat-buyers also did their homework prior to purchasing a boat by visiting boat shows, reading boating magazines and company literature and interviewing friends who own boats, the group reported.

The survey found that a significant majority, nearly two-thirds, bought a boat at a dealership and 59 percent shopped multiple dealerships prior to purchase to find the best deal. A remarkable 81 percent knew or had a good idea what model, amenities and price they wanted before shopping and 54 percent said the manufacturer’s reputation was the major factor in their decision, according to BoatU.S.

Some 31 percent responding to the survey were first-time boat-buyers while 40 percent were trading up to get more space and amenities.

“Clearly, there is a large segment of independent women who are buying boats and they take the time to shop around. Boat manufacturers, dealers and advertising firms should take notice and adjust their marketing strategies to reach out to them,” said BoatU.S. Magazine Managing Editor Elaine Dickinson, noting that “25 percent said they would walk away from any deal if they felt they were receiving poor customer service.”

The survey was posted this year at with 25 multiple-choice questions to help improve how women are treated when buying a boat, the association reported. Over 400 participants logged on to share their experiences in the boating market. The final results are posted at

Genmar Senior Vice President of Marketing George Sullivan said the survey results “will help form a new sales training curriculum for Genmar’s hundreds of dealerships worldwide so those working to sell boats can better serve the needs of women consumers.” Genmar has launched a series of hands-on women’s boat-handling clinics through its network of dealerships.

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