Study reveals how boat buyers are influenced

November 2010 News Boating Industry
DETROIT - Foresight Research has announced findings from a first-of-its-kind study that measures which marketing channels have the most influence on consumers' decision to purchase a new boat.

The study calculates the total share of influence from a number of marketing channels including dealership experience, the Internet, boat shows, print articles, brochures, print advertising, boat dealer sales events/races/seminars, TV advertising and programming, direct mail, social media and radio. The findings are the result of interviews among 3,295 boat buyers who purchased a boat during the last 18 months, ending August 2010. The study looks at behaviors, information received and how buyers were influenced to select the boat they did. 

"This is one of the richest databases we've come across on how consumers' are influenced in the boat buying process," Carl Blackwell, vice president for NMMA, said in a release. "The findings offer valuable insight for manufacturers and dealers to optimize their marketing efforts. Not only does the study reveal the most influential marketing channels, it also spells out why they are influential." 

Of note, consumers highly influenced by boat shows ranked the ability to compare boats/models/prices and the ability to board boats as the most influential elements. 

Foresight will publish "in-depth" reports on the marketing channels that have the most influence on purchase. These analyses will include boat shows, the dealership experience, and the Internet. The first to be analyzed was boat shows. Analysis on the additional marketing channels will be released later this winter. 

"Boat shows offer a very important combination of factual information plus emotional stimulus," Ron Hein, executive vice president for Foresight, said in the release. "The most notable finding to come out of the boat show analysis is that the average new boat buyer spent 49 minutes at the display of the brand he/she eventually purchased. It is no surprise that most buyers who attend a show mostly have their mind made up when leaving the show and purchase shortly thereafter." 

Additional findings include: 
- For consumers who attended a boat show, the boat show had the most influence on their decision to buy a boat (57% ranking 4 or 5 on a 5 point scale) versus their experience at a dealership (54%) and the Internet (47%). 

- Buyers said boat shows have the most influence during the interest/consideration phase of the purchase process. Boat show attendees often "discover" brands they may not have known about. 

- Among buyers who attended a boat show, 70% purchased their new boat within three months of attending the show. 

- Nearly six in ten new boat buyers (57%) attended at least one boat show in the 12 months prior to buying their boat. 

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