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Recent studies show that millennials are not taking to boating as much as previous generations. They are more apt to take up cycling and camping, which is leaving the boating industry in the dust.
Boat sales and ancillary services was down by 60% during the recession but have seen a recent increase. The industry is now only at a 20% deficit from pre-recession sales.
Still, the industry is well aware that millennials are also in a different economic situation than the boating industries main consumers, the baby boomers. Most millenials are already drowning in college debt and are resigned to living without other essentials like cars. So, with less disposable income how do you get them to buy their first boat, a recreational expense upward of $15,000? Statistics show they don’t care to own anything.
Just as the car and housing industry, the boating industry is reimagining itself as a participant in the asset sharing culture of this generation. Millennial home owners and car owners are happy to share what they have by turning it into a source of profit, which can ease the burden of the initial expense. So, the boating industry plans to reach millennials with new ideas.
Boat rentals, clubs, and boat sharing are all ways to make the expense of boating more consumable for this generation.
In addition to giving millenials the idea of cost sharing the industry also plans to upgrade design and technology to attract the younger crowd. The 18-34 year olds are much more active than previous generations. What they look for in a boat is completely different than the baby boomer consumer.
Bluetooth, stereo speakers and generally updated console technologies are must haves for todays manufacturers. But these updates usually come at a premium.
To truly catch the new market some manufacturers are resorting to creating affordable personal watercrafts such as water scooters. These can be a much more attainable entry into water sports at only $5,000. Boat dealers and manufacturers are confident that if they could just capture the younger consumers at any level, they will return later when they’re more settled.
Manufacturers and dealers were crushed by the recession but hope that the new sleek designs, updated tech and lower entry-level prices can bring back the market to a new generation.
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