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New Boater Interest Drives Boat Leads to Soar Past Expected July Fourth Peak

Posted By Courtney Chalmers, Friday, August 14, 2020
  • New visitors to Boat Trader, YachtWorld and boats.com up more than +50% in July
  • Leads flourished across U.S. with over +200% YoY growth in nearly all regions
  • Boats Group’s soldboats.com database shows boat sales increased +30% YoY

Data from July for Boat Trader, YachtWorld and boats.com show traffic (+49% YoY) and leads (+193% YoY) continue to soar past the expected July Fourth peak, suggesting the boat buying surge won’t end anytime soon in the United States. The recent rise in traffic, leads and boat sales has largely been driven by people new to boating and those quick to realize that escaping to the water on a boat is the best way to ‘staycation’ and stick to COVID’s restrictions on travel and gatherings. In fact, new visitors on Boats Group’s marketplaces were up 56% last month.
 
New boaters appear to be drawn to boats with multipurpose use, and right now cruisers, center consoles and pontoons are the top in-demand segments based on magnitude of leads. In comparison to last year in July, sailboats and fishing boats were among the leading categories – an indication that buyers in 2020 are looking for functional, family-friendly boats. The heightened popularity of pontoons (leads up +271% YoY) in particular, an easy-to-handle, versatile boat for the masses, is further evidence of a new boat-buying audience.
 
Following the progression of the virus, certain areas in the U.S. have experienced drastic upticks in the number of recorded infections, which could help explain changes in demand geographically in places like the West Coast where lead volume outpaced the Great Lakes for the first time. Lead volume across all regions remained strong beyond the usual Fourth of July peak, signaling that the typical sales season may be extended this year.
 
The latest information reported to Boats Group’s soldboats.com and YachtCloser data sources also confirms the current buying boom underway and reveals that the number of boats sold in July in the U.S. grew +30% over 2019. The surge in sales, coupled with the slowed to halted production, has resulted in tightened inventory, pushing the average price per boat sold up 18% YoY, as well as total value sold, which grew 54% YoY in July.

The boating industry has not seen this level of entrants in recent years and may need to adjust its sales and post-sales approach to ensure that this new audience remains engaged long term.

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