According to Boat Trader there has been a tidal wave of women shopping for boats from coast-to-coast this summer. Reports of banner-year boat sales have been making national headlines and Boat Trader's latest data suggests the surge is partially due to women and mothers sequestered with kids, who have quickly directed their family and friends to the waterfront for some much-needed fun. In fact, the overall number of women visiting Boat Trader has increased +75% YoY across all age groups (18 - 24 years (+198%), 25 - 34 years (+71%), 35 - 44 years (+37%), 45 - 54 years (+55%), 55 - 64 years (+65%) and 65-plus years (+126%)).
Historically, women have made up the largest niche market of boaters and filled a significant role in the decision-making process within their households, and their influence over the purchase of a boat only continues to evolve. Spurred by the pandemic, more women are getting involved at an earlier stage - researching and browsing boat inventory online - making the shift in female participation stand out in these unprecedented times.
"At Boat Trader, we're uniquely positioned to observe the market, and as we've watched this tremendous groundswell of boat sales happen, we sought to understand if a shift in consumer behavior was a secondary driver," said Courtney Chalmers, Boats Group's vice president of marketing. "As interest in family-friendly and multipurpose boats continues to increase, there is a clear connection to the rise in female participation at the top of the funnel."
Further evidence of this trend is the sustained traffic growth on Boat Trader by women beyond the peak of the boating season as travel plans and crowded events are still postponed. Given the fluctuating restrictions, unknown duration and lasting effects of the pandemic, women are embracing boating as a way for their families to safely connect with others and be active in the near-term. The 105% YoY increase in pontoon boat searches made by women indicates that versatility, ease of operation and ample space for seating are among their top desired features.
And this participation is not fading after the initial research is done. Women are also showing a new level of engagement further down the funnel as they contact sellers for more information to evaluate boats for sale. In fact, leads submitted by women are up 341% over the same four-month period last year.
"This is a celebrated milestone for the boating industry, which, over the past decade has focused on increasing female participation," said Chalmers. "As the gap between male and female participation in the boat-buying journey continues to narrow as more women lead the charge, the industry becomes better positioned for long-term health and closer to retiring the one-sided stereotype of boating."