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Boating offers ‘bright spot’ in midst of social distancing

Posted By Courtney Chalmers, Friday, May 15, 2020

As a socially-safe activity, boating is growing in demand 


New data from Boats Group showing Boat Trader and YachtWorld marketplace activity soaring in recent weeks prove water lovers have grown tired of “streaming” their way through today’s remote lifestyle. Boaters began to crave this year’s boating season more than ever after the declared global pandemic in March and were quick to turn their attention to browsing for boats and dreaming of better days on the water in April. Similarly, people who were previously on the fence about owning a boat are now showing strong interest as summer concerts, sporting events and travel plans have been canceled. 


In fact, more people are actively looking for boats now than a year ago, and current traffic (+26% YoY) more closely resembles midsummer volume than spring. As water access and marinas across the country are reopening, leads across all regions and classes are increasing. 


A closer look at that demand shows boats under 30 feet are currently receiving the heftiest volume of leads. Pontoon (+149% YoY), ski/ wake (+100% YoY) and freshwater fishing boats (+94% YoY) are generating the most interest. A view regionally shows that the Southwest, Plains and Gulf Coast areas are among the strongest in lead conversion, which, combined with the category data, suggests that river and lake lovers are the first to make boating their go-to social distancing activity.



Given the strong lead growth across the entire U.S. (+76% YoY), it is clear that many people will turn to boating for their social distancing activity. As pent-up demand continues to grow in the coming months, dealers and brokers should focus on nurturing prospects and building their pipeline.


To provide additional support to its industry partners as demand accelerates, Boat Trader and YachtWorld added new features to their marketplaces to help dealers and brokers merchandise their virtual and delivery services to make way for more sales. 


Boating appears to offer people a silver lining to an unprecedented reality. More and more people are eager to get outside, enjoy time with family and friends (at a safe distance) and get on the water. What better way to do that than with a boat?

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