Report: Internet, social media influence boat buying process

DETROIT — Foresight Research has released its 2010 Boating Industry Internet and Social Media Influence Report detailing a new examination of the influence of the Internet and social media websites on new boat purchase decisions. The report is one in a series of in-depth reports on the marketing channels that have the greatest impact on purchase.

The data used in the report is the 2010 U.S. Boating Industry Marketing Communications Influence Study, commissioned by marine industry organizations led by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. This study surveyed 3,295 people across the U.S. who purchased a new boat in an 18-month period ending August 2010.

The report reveals that 84 percent of new boat buyers had read or seen boat information on the Internet prior to making their purchase decision. Most buyers used the Internet to compare brands, models, motors and pricing. 

Overall, 15 percent of new buyers discussed boats on social media websites. Buyers of ski boats and cruisers were significantly more likely to use social media than aluminum fishing boat and personal watercraft buyers.  Among buyers under the age of 35, nearly 29 percent used social media outlets to discuss their pending boat purchase, according to the report.

“What we are seeing is the profound effect of peer-to-peer communication on social networking sites, which will have an increasingly dramatic influence on boat purchase decision making,” Ron Hein, executive vice president of Foresight Research, said in a release. “What’s also interesting is that buyers influenced by social media also report higher influence from virtually every communication channel. This suggests that social media is not replacing other forms of communications but is instead an additional source, and may be encouraging buyers who use this medium to seek additional information while shopping.”

Foresight’s complete research report offers detailed and intricate views of the data, including by boat segment and by buyer demographics.

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