Survey: Most positive about 2016 outlook for boating

Most Boating Industry readers are feeling good about the outlook for 2016, according to our latest reader survey.

We surveyed the readers of our print and digital editions in November and December 2015. Respondents included boat dealers, manufacturers, marina owners and others working in the industry.

In that survey, 77 percent said they expect their revenue to increase in 2016. More than half of those companies expect revenue to increase by more than 10 percent for 2016. Only 4 percent expect their revenue to decrease.

Almost as large a majority grew business in 2015, with 71 percent of survey respondents saying their revenue increased for the year. About 13 percent of readers reported a decline, while 16 percent said business was flat in 2015.

For more on the 2016 outlook, see our annual forecast article in the January issue.

Affordability, economy top concerns

There are a number of potential challenges facing the industry, but affordability continues to be the top concern for Boating Industry readers.

Nearly half of all respondents said they are very concerned about the challenge affordability poses to the industry, with 96 percent saying they were at least somewhat concerned about the issue.

Thirty-two percent said they were very concerned about ethanol and the growing use of E15. About a quarter of all respondents are very concerned about competition for time and money from other activities.

Demographic challenges were also a concern, although not as large as other categories. The aging buyer base was a concern for 87 percent, with 20 percent saying they were very concerned about it. The low participation rate of minorities was a concern to 62 percent of readers, and only 6 percent said they were very concerned about it.

Survey respondents see overall economic conditions as having the most potential to impact their business next year, with 63 percent saying it will be very important to their success in 2016. Forty percent cited the weather as very important, while only 23 percent see government regulations as very important to their success or failure next year.

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