New York show reports drop in attendance

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Attendance was down 10 percent at this year’s Progressive Insurance New York Boat Show, which ran Jan. 4-8 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, according to show producer National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The NMMA said it is attributing the drop to unseasonably mild weather and the New York Giants playoff game on Sunday afternoon that diminished closing-day crowds.

Although attendance was down, new features such as the interactive DIY learning Center Fred’s Shed were very successful and there were many reports from exhibitors of boats sold, according to the association.

“We saw more optimism at the 2012 Progressive Insurance New York Boat Show than in the last four or five years. Some attendees have been coming out to the show for several years, just looking; however, after recent positive economic news on manufacturing and jobs it seems some Americans are ready to break out and do what they’ve been holding back on for years,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement.

“We saw this kind of reinvigorated interest at the 2012 show — the buyers came out,” he added.

Next up for the NMMA are the Progressive Insurance Atlanta Boat Show, the Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show and the Progressive Insurance Nashville Boat & Sportshow, all of which open Thursday.


6 comments on “New York show reports drop in attendance

  1. Peter Cook

    We were there with the Fendergrip push button fender adjuster and saw a very modest gain of 1% in sales; not bad, if attendance was off 10%.

    My main concern with the New York Boat Show is that the NMMA does not have the ability, or perhaps the clout, to negotiate a firm mid-January date every year. The show is constantly moved around on the calendar, and this leads to a drop in attendance, as people do not know when the show will be open.

    Another concern, for those of us who attend from out of state, is that there is no regard for picking the show dates. Flying in near Christmas, or New Year’s Day, makes attendees pay a PREMIUM for hotels and the airfare at a time when everyone is trying to operate efficiently.

    Please NMMA, do a better job in planning the NY Boat Show, and trying to represent ALL your members’ interests!

  2. theboatbarn

    Can we get some feedback from boat dealers that went to the show. Sales up / down / flat from last year ?

  3. Bill Full

    I am not sruprised by the drop in attendance. I am finding shows a bit less productive each year. If we look back even just a few years and had kept the records to prove it, I have not doubt that builders/dealers could identify a 1/3 or more reduction in sales, economy aside. With the efficacy of the internet and builder/dealer web sites the boat shows are seemingly becoming more of a social event meeting people we already know or meeting people who are there for entertainment vs. seriously exploring a potential purchase.

    The question is what do we do about it? As event organizers, builders, and dealers we need to develop a forum to re-think this sales approach.

  4. tigerpilot

    I attended the New York show and from the lack of a crowd I thing the attendance was off a lot more than 10%. Many vendors have pulled out. There were no sailboats anymore than I could find. The cost of doing business coupled with the lack of a firm consistent date is finding the show in either a slide or a tailspin, depending on your perspective.
    Oh yea, don’t for the hope and change. Each year less Americans can afford to spend money on leisure activities-and boating is at the head of the list.

  5. compact45

    Lack of attendees..Lack of sales….Boat Shows are a waste of time and hard earned money if you are really truthfull in analizing the negative Boat show trend.

  6. Mike Severance, Bay of Maine Boats

    Wow! Am old fashion already? I feel boat shows were the final step in the decision-to-purchase process and were necessary for the buyer. And what better place than a boat show where many of the boats they may be interested in were gathered, thus saving them time and distance. Prospective buyers come to the show to see if the product is actually as pictured and described. They spent the summer gaining experience and the winter talking it over with their acquaintances, and now the show is the final step toward purchasing. Our experience has been the customer wants to see the quality of materials and finish, evaluate the design features (will it do as we have advertised) and learn from others their use experiences. By exhibiting at the Portland, Maine, Boat Builder’s Show, we also can evaluate how the rest of the boat buying season will materialize, or not.
    One responder is correct, we exhibitors have to continually assess how best to present our products, develop new features and products, keep shows interesting and work at bringing “old” and new boaters to each year’s show.

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