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New industry study offers insights to enhance boat buying and ownership experience

by Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation 16 Feb 09:45 PST
New industry study offers insights to enhance boat buying and ownership experience © Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) today announced the findings from a comprehensive study conducted by Left Brain Marketing, Inc. with individuals who purchased a boat in 2020 or 2021.

The study was fielded to better identify and understand challenges associated with boat shopping and ownership experiences.

"This study has helped us identify the boat buyer and boat owner's journey," said MRAA President Matt Gruhn. "We will be using this knowledge to help the industry understand how they can take better care of our boat owners and keep them in boating for the long term."

"Understanding what is driving, influencing and impacting today's prospective boat buyers and boat owners is crucial to retaining current boaters and attracting the next generation," said Ellen Bradley, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for NMMA. "Findings from this study will help us, as an industry, improve and enhance all stages of a boater's journey to purchase and throughout their ownership experience."

See below for the top takeaways from the study:

  • Though finding a boat during the pandemic was difficult, boaters were satisfied with the shopping and purchase experience. However, better product training in delivery is desired.
  • Boaters are often dissatisfied with the cost and turnaround time for dealer maintenance/service work.
  • Used buyers are just as satisfied as new purchasers with their boat but are far less likely to visit a dealer for maintenance or service work.
  • Those who visit a dealer for maintenance or service are mostly happy with the quality of the work performed but feel that the cost and turnaround time are unreasonable.
  • A vast majority of first time and repeat boat owners intend to remain in boating. However, underutilization and the cost of ownership are key risk factors for defection.

"In addition to what we observed in the study, the data gathered also uncovers common misconceptions among the industry," says RBFF Director of Marketing, Rachel Piacenza. "This research can guide actions for the industry to improve the boat shopping and overall ownership experience."

RBFF, NMMA and MRAA will present all findings and other takeaways in an industry-wide webinar on Wednesday, March 9.

Register here for the Enhancing Boating Ownership Experience webinar.

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