Traffic at most major boat-sales websites flattened out or declined during 2008 and 2009. And although BoatTrader.com showed some traffic growth during the period, there's no question that the economy put a damper on the boat-ownership aspirations of many in the United States.
Now the recessionary trend appears to have turned. In 2010, 18.5 million weekly visitors arrived at BoatTrader.com, an increase of 4 percent from 2009. Those visitors viewed nearly 330 million pages and sent about 880,000 leads to BoatTrader.com dealers. Clearly, the boating public is still interested and becoming even more interested.
In January, the trend continued with a 9 percent increase in unique weekly visitors and a 5 percent uptick in pages viewed, compared with January 2010. Weekends are always the highest-traffic days of the week at this time of year, and every weekend in January saw an increase from the previous year and the previous weekend. Roughly 50,000 people visited BoatTrader.com each Sunday early in the month. The number increased to more than 60,000 on the last Sunday of the month.
Search-engine data tracking the number of people searching for boats who arrived at BoatTrader.com listings through sites such as Google underscore this trend. The number of searches increased in January from about 1.25 million in January 2010 to more than 1.5 million in the month that recently ended.
This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue.