The nine-day Progressive Insurance New England Boat Show and the five-day St. Louis Boat and Sportshow wrapped up on Sunday with an 8.5 percent gain in attendance and a 17 percent drop in attendance, respectively.
The New England show saw attendance rise to 47,115 from 43,424 in 2013.
The St. Louis show saw its numbers drop because of snow and ice to 24,246 from 29,237, but exhibitors reported sales growth and promising leads from attendees.
Many exhibitors in New England reported their best show sales in years.
“We sold 23 boats, and this is the best show we have had since 2006,” Dan Lemieux, of East Coast Flight Craft, a Cobalt and Malibu dealer, said in a statement.
“We came into the show with a goal of selling two boats and we quadrupled our goal,” said Grady-White dealer Warren Kelly of Baert Marine.
Several exhibitors at the New England show reported to Trade Only that the show was realizing a higher volume of sales of larger and more expensive boats than in past years.
“People got out of big boats for a while, but now, with the economy coming back, we’re seeing people buying boats,” Tim Bassett told Trade Only Today last week.
Chris Lufkin, who represents EdgeWater Power Boats, Hornet Marine and Ribcraft USA as president of Marine Industry Advisors LLC, told Trade Only on the Monday after the show opened that it was the best two-day start his company had ever had at the show.
Exhibitors at St. Louis also expressed satisfaction to show organizers.
“We’re new to this show, and it exceeded expectations. We’ll be back,” Jim Mager of Dux Trac said in a statement.
“The aisles were swamped with folks looking to buy. I am very happy with this show and we will definitely be back next year,” said Joe Boarman, of Woodland Marina.
The Progressive Northwest Sportshow runs March 26-30 in Minneapolis.
Media coverage of the New England and St. Louis shows includes:
Boat Show drops anchor, Boston Globe
Photos: New England Boat Show 2014, Boston Magazine
Talk of the Times: ‘Wicked Tuna’ captain at the N.E. Boat Show, Gloucester Times
St. Louis Boat and Sportshow, Fox 2