Boat shows are back and drawing big crowds amid robust demand

Queen of the Show from the Orlando Boat Show.

Source: Marine Industry Association of Central Florida (MIACF)

Boat shows are back!

For each new and avid boaters, boat shows are one of many predominant methods clients interact with the boat market. Last yr, many occasions have been canceled by the pandemic and organizers turned to on-line platforms as an alternative. But in-person occasions are staging a revival, giving showgoers an opportunity to scope out a wide range of boat varieties, sizes, manufacturers and extra gear.

As the boat shows return, organizers are discovering they are drawing larger-than-expected crowds. The pattern might mirror the strong demand for boats that the trade has seen over the previous yr. In 2020, gross sales of boat, marine merchandise and companies reached a 13-year peak of $47 billion, as folks flocked to the water to securely benefit from the open air.

The Orlando Boat Show held an in-person indoor occasion early this month after a year-long hiatus as a consequence of Covid issues. The occasion, which hosted 21 sellers and greater than 70 producers, drew the most important crowds it is seen in a decade. Attendance was up 66% from 2019’s occasion, in keeping with a press launch.

David Ray, government director of Marine Industry Association of Central Florida, the occasion’s organizer, mentioned the group was surprised on the success because it anticipated a drop of 20% to 25% from 2019.

“This was the best show we’ve ever had,” mentioned Glenn Adams, the yacht and ship dealer of Boat Max USA, who attended the occasion. “We expected smaller attendance as our first show in more than a year in an indoor exhibit space, yet this was not the case.”

The occasion boasted a number of over 500 boats and the gross sales from the occasion exceeded sellers’ expectations, Ray mentioned. He would not disclose particular gross sales information.

According to, 15 shows are slated to run this yr, with solely two being digital, together with the Seattle Boat Show.

The Seattle Boat Show was held in January with 218 enterprise companions. The four-day on-line occasion was structured with stay and prerecorded seminars referring to boating and fishing. Usually their in-person shows would function over 1,000 boats, whereas their digital occasion may solely present about 600.

More than 5,200 households paid to attend the net present. By comparability, the 2020 in-person occasion drew greater than 45,000 folks.

George Harris, president and CEO of Northwest Marine Trade Association, the occasion’s organizer, mentioned digital occasions won’t ever exchange the expertise of an in-person boat present.

“A boat is such an emotional purchase for people. They want to see it, they want to touch it, they want to smell it,” Harris mentioned in an interview. He mentioned he’s hopeful they’ll maintain an in-person occasion subsequent yr.

The National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, the most important producer of boat shows within the nation, canceled its winter and spring shows this yr as a result of pandemic. However, they held most of their shows final yr earlier than Covid hit in March, the affiliation’s spokeswoman Sarah Salvatori advised CNBC in an e mail.

Boat present season is often within the fall and winter to arrange boaters for peak boating season within the hotter months of spring and summer time.

In a analysis notice, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik mentioned latest channel checks have proven the patron urge for food for boats stays excessive. Dealers are making commitments to buy stock and internet site visitors traits are nonetheless rising sooner than earlier than the pandemic.

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