Study touts role of boat shows in making sales

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At a time when dealers and manufacturers may be tempted to cut costs by not exhibiting at boat shows, a newly released study indicates that shows remain a crucial ingredient in selling boats and equipment.

“Even in the down market we’re in, boat shows are producing sales,” Ben Wold, executive vice president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, told Trade Only Today this morning.

“The results aren’t as good as some people would like, but they’re better than expected,” Wold continued. “We’re encouraged that will continue. The boat shows are still helping.”

Wold said a year-long study released by NMMA and the Recreational Marine Research Center at Michigan State University demonstrates that boat shows are an important step in consumers’ decisions to purchase a boat. The MSU study, which surveyed more than 20,000 attendees across all of NMMA’s 2008 consumer boat shows, revealed that 55 percent of boat buyers attended a show within six months prior to their purchase. And 65 percent of survey respondents said attending a show increased their desire to buy a boat.

Additional study findings include:

• 86 percent said attending a show increased their desire to go boating

• 50 percent went to the show with no intention of buying a boat, but became interested once at the show

• 15 percent intended to buy a boat at the show

• 5 percent bought a boat at the show

• 73 percent attended the show to buy accessories

• 65 percent will buy products they saw at the show

• 47 percent spoke with three to five dealers at the show

• 49 percent intend to follow up with a dealer they spoke to at the show

• 45 percent have a household income of more than $100,000

Click here for the complete NMMA release.

For information about NMMA’s 2008 fall boat show results or the Michigan State survey, contact NMMA public relations manager Sarah Ryser at (312) 946-6285 or e-mail sryser@nmma.org.

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