Study reveals consumers’ boat buying habits have shifted

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Recreational Boating & Fishing Federation (RBFF) released new research this week that it said will help the boating industry better understand consumer attitudes toward boat purchases. The RBFF’s Quantitative Study of Consumer Attitudes, which was announced at IBEX, shows the boating lifestyle is robust, but buying habits have shifted, according to a statement from the group.

“People are going to continue to buy boats, but more cautiously without applying for as much financing,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “We hope our boating stakeholders will use this research to help develop their marketing strategies for the coming year.”

Here are the study’s key findings:

The Boating Lifestyle

  • Despite the economic downturn, nearly half of all consumers claim they are still in the market for a boat in the next three years.
  • Consumers as a whole are not moving away from boating, but rather are more likely to try and find ways to make boating less costly. For example, they plan on doing more repairs themselves or plan to spend less on accessories for their boat.
  • Three in 10 consumers are considering purchasing a pre-owned boat.
  • The main reason why current boat owners are not in the market for a boat (new or used) is that 66 percent are simply satisfied with their current boat.
  • Intent to Purchase a New Boat

  • Having family and friends who go boating on a regular basis is the strongest predictor of future purchase intent.
  • Having a fishing license is another predictor of future purchase intent.
  • Participation in other outdoor activities such as camping, hunting or mountain biking is another key predictor.
  • The study was conducted by RBFF and BrandSpark International in June 2010 and provides detailed information on 1,885 boat owners and 977 non-boat owners ages 18 to 69. The methodology and full study is available online at

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