New Boats Group study shows rising newcomer interest in boating

Boats Group, the tech business behind the largest online marketplaces for boats and yachts in the world, announced the findings from its 2021 Lead Conversion Analysis that examined all U.S. sales leads from across its Boat Trader, YachtWorld and portals.

The study, conducted in partnership with data analytics firm Info-Link Technologies, highlights the impact that Boats Group’s sites have on boat sales and provides a view of sales trends across the industry. With 18 million monthly visitors, Boats Group’s BoatTraderYachtWorld and marketplaces serve as a gauge for consumer demand, attracting the largest boat-buying audience in America.

Comparing Boats Group’s leads to Info-Link’s National Boat Registration Database, the comprehensive study showed the company’s rate of conversion climbed to 17.5%, meaning that one in every six sales leads submitted on a Boats Group portal converted to a boat sale. Consistent with Boats Group’s previous lead conversion analyses, the single largest cohort of Boats Group shoppers submitting leads were prospects with no prior evidence of boat ownership and represented 56% of the Boats Group lead base. Of the remaining 44% of users who had previously owned at least one boat, approximately 60% were current boat owners when they contacted a seller through a Boats Group portal, and 40% were considered lapsed boat owners.

Among the Boats Group phone and email leads that converted to a sale, 36% of those vessels were for new boats. This percentage is significantly higher than the market overall, which for the same period reported 24% new boat sales and 76% pre-owned boat sales. In all, nearly 12% of all new boats sold in the U.S. involved a lead captured by Boats Group. The segments that reflected high propensity for new boat sales were Pontoon (56%), Tow Boats (45%), Freshwater Fish (42%) and Saltwater Fishing (37%).

These results align with the purchase behavior of first-time boat buyers who tend to seek multi-functional family boats. In fact, over the three-year period reviewed, 35% of first-time boat buyers purchased a new boat despite their historic tendency to favor pre-owned boats. The study’s connected findings all point to Boats Group’s brands as trusted resources for consumers gathering information and entering the boat purchase journey for the first time.

“The Boats Group portals are the most popular boating marketplaces, offering a world-class shopping experience across multiple touch points from research to selection,” said Sam Fulton, CEO of Boats Group. “The strong data of the 2021 Lead Conversion Analysis emphasize the unmatched value our businesses deliver to marine retailers and private party sellers and are a testament to the work we have done to improve the boat shopping experience and deliver high quality listings, provide more transparency, and publish the resources that new buyers need.”

Over the last three years, Boats Group’s shoppers have made informed purchases quickly. Among those consumers that purchased a boat, nearly half (48%) purchased within 90 days and over two thirds (67%) purchased within 180 days of their first contact through a Boats Group portal. It should be noted that, while the pandemic has significantly impacted the boating industry over the past year, there is minimal impact on the conversion rate or time to purchase based during the five months of COVID-era data included.

“Boats Group’s marketplaces are an ideal resource for consumers to conduct research and start the purchase process and have exceptional engagement with first-time boat buyers,” said Peter Houseworth, director of client services for Info-Link Technologies. “What is particularly interesting from our research, demographic and socio-economically speaking, is that today’s boat buyers are not dramatically different than they have been historically. It is, however, encouraging to see that there are clearly more of them, which should provide benefits to the industry long-term.”

Learn more about Boats Group and each of its brands at

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