Survey: Consumers have interest in buying a boat, but no immediate plans

In a research note published Tuesday by RBC Capital Markets, analyst Edward Aaron shared the results of a survey of 2,000 consumers in the "target boater demographic" (males with household incomes greater than $75,000). The survey was designed to assess attitudes toward boat ownership and future purchase intentions.

Aaron said consumer interest in boating is clearly present, with 30 percent of survey respondents expressing interest in buying a boat. However, he noted that only about 5 percent of the consumers surveyed said that they were either “very likely” or “extremely likely” to purchase a boat in the next few years. Consumers indicated a desire to accumulate more savings before purchasing, and of the consumers who expressed some level of interest in buying a boat, less than 10 percent indicated plans to buy a boat in the next year.

"The level of personal savings is by far the biggest factor influencing time of purchase," Aaron wrote, "followed by job security. These factors are much more important than interest rates or gas prices."

Aaron said the profile of boat owners in the survey skewed toward owners of small and inexpensive boats, limiting the possibility of drawing conclusions about trade-up demand in larger segments.

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