What is normal now? Spending less? Saving more? Trading down? Scaling back? Everyone appears to have an opinion but no one seems to know for sure.

On one hand, some contend spending money for a great lifestyle is cultural in this country -- it’s in our DNA -- and a recession like the one we’ve just lived through won’t stop us from returning to our high spending ways once the economy starts moving again. If they’re right, it’s certainly good long-term news for boat dealers.

On the other hand, it seems a majority of economists are now convinced this great recession has changed the landscape forever. To bolster their case, they cite as examples, a recent poll that 95 percent of all builders plan to construct smaller homes because the market for once sought-after McMansions is no longer a good bet looking forward. Or, new, smaller cars are gaining favor. More than 40,000 so-called eco-friendly cars are already on the road. Some 45,000 Mini Coopers were also sold last year. Smaller is growing.

If you’re into food, you know that while there are monster triple burger artery cloggers at some fast food restaurants, sliders, those mini burgers on mini buns, are the major trend this year. Ah, White Castle was ahead of its time. Or, how about lowly cupcakes! They’ve reportedly topped a poll on trends in desserts. Why, they even have their own TV show – Cupcake Wars! So much for the big old layer cake.

But my favorite trend being cited is a major shift to weekend getaways instead of the traditional two-week vacation. According to a recent survey by Expedia, only 10 percent of American workers plan to take the old two-weeker. For boat dealers, this news couldn’t be better. It plays right into one of the strongest selling points our sales teams can make – that owning a boat means a family getaway every weekend, all summer long.

A friend in Ohio recently pointed out that other studies suggest people are likely to stay closer to home instead of traveling distances this year. People will be choosing "staycations" over vacations. Again, the choice to stay close to home presents boat sales opportunities. The suggestion that staying home can mean an exciting family boating staycation all summer long should be prominently displayed in our showrooms. It can be included in e-mails and mentioned in social media. Perhaps an in-store "Staycation Presentation" featuring things to do and places to go with a boat can attract existing customers thinking about moving up as well as drawing new prospects.

"Family Staycations Start Here" – Ask us, we’re experts!


Patrick Industries Acquires Taco Metals

The components manufacturer had been family-owned for 60 years.

Consumers Say E15 Warning Labels Are Ineffective

A new poll shows that current branding efforts do not adequately warn consumers to the risk and legality of using the blended fuel with certain engines.

Silent-Yachts’ New Project

The Austrian solar yacht outfit will use VW’s electric drive system on a vessel to be drawn by Spanish car brand Cupra.

Industry Mourns Christopher Ramirez

A regional sales manager at Garmin, Ramirez died suddenly at age 35 last month.

Quick Hits: December 1, 2020

Freedom Boat Club announces 250th location; ShoreMaster/Hydrohoist acquires Neptune Boat Lifts; MarineMax names brand manager; and Arkansas scientists study fishing license increase.

Our Great Lakes Are Battered and Need Help

The eight-state region that accounts for one-third of annual boat sales has seen unprecedented damage from high waters. A bipartisan legislative effort looks to protect the region and its small businesses.

Boat Demand Remains Strong, But Inventory Shortages Prevail

Dealers worry that the absence of new boats is driving up prices.

Electric Boat Company Completes IPO Process

Canada-based e-mobility outfit Vision Marine raises $27.6 million to reinvest in its line of electric vessels and 180-hp, E-Motion outboard.