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Are we ready for the new big – small?

What is normal now? Spending less? Saving more? Trading down? Scaling back? Everyone appears to have an opinion but no one seems to know for sure.

On one hand, some contend spending money for a great lifestyle is cultural in this country — it’s in our DNA — and a recession like the one we’ve just lived through won’t stop us from returning to our high spending ways once the economy starts moving again. If they’re right, it’s certainly good long-term news for boat dealers.

On the other hand, it seems a majority of economists are now convinced this great recession has changed the landscape forever. To bolster their case, they cite as examples, a recent poll that 95 percent of all builders plan to construct smaller homes because the market for once sought-after McMansions is no longer a good bet looking forward. Or, new, smaller cars are gaining favor. More than 40,000 so-called eco-friendly cars are already on the road. Some 45,000 Mini Coopers were also sold last year. Smaller is growing.

If you’re into food, you know that while there are monster triple burger artery cloggers at some fast food restaurants, sliders, those mini burgers on mini buns, are the major trend this year. Ah, White Castle was ahead of its time. Or, how about lowly cupcakes! They’ve reportedly topped a poll on trends in desserts. Why, they even have their own TV show – Cupcake Wars! So much for the big old layer cake.

But my favorite trend being cited is a major shift to weekend getaways instead of the traditional two-week vacation. According to a recent survey by Expedia, only 10 percent of American workers plan to take the old two-weeker. For boat dealers, this news couldn’t be better. It plays right into one of the strongest selling points our sales teams can make – that owning a boat means a family getaway every weekend, all summer long.

A friend in Ohio recently pointed out that other studies suggest people are likely to stay closer to home instead of traveling distances this year. People will be choosing “staycations” over vacations. Again, the choice to stay close to home presents boat sales opportunities. The suggestion that staying home can mean an exciting family boating staycation all summer long should be prominently displayed in our showrooms. It can be included in e-mails and mentioned in social media. Perhaps an in-store “Staycation Presentation” featuring things to do and places to go with a boat can attract existing customers thinking about moving up as well as drawing new prospects.  

“Family Staycations Start Here” – Ask us, we’re experts!

Comments

3 comments on “Are we ready for the new big – small?

  1. CaptainA

    You hit it Norm! Marketing to the staycation crowd is in my opinion, exactly what needs to be done. Now all we need is a boat big enough for a family of four to sleep on, prepare meals and be comfortable for 2-3 days at a time WITHOUT breaking the bank. A 38 foot sailboat would be perfect if you can bring the sail away price in under $200,000. The boat doesn’t need to be fancy, nor does it need to be filled with all the electronics. Come back to basics. Make a high quality hull. Make the systems simple to operate, simple to repair, and easy to maintain. If you build it that—they will come.

    Build a 34-36 footer for under $150,000 and you will get buyers.

  2. john ennis

    STAYCATIONS HAVE GROWN IN POPULARITY SINCE THE CRASH. A GOOD DEAL OF FLORIDA’S TOURIST MARKETING PROGRAM IS AIMED PROMOTING CLOSE TO HOME RECREATION. THE MAJOR STUMBLING BLOCK IS A LACK OF DISCRETIONARY INCOME AS A RESULT OF UNEMPLOYMENT OR JOBS THAT PAY FAR LESS THEN THEY USED TO . DISCRETIOARY INCOME IS THE LIFE BLOOD OF THE BOATING INDUSTRYAND THERE IS STILL A DIRE SHORTAGE OF IT.

  3. CaptainA

    I have read some magazine articles that did some studies on how people feel when they spend their vacation time in different ways. The conclusions were interesting. Basically, these articles state the studies found people are happier when they get to take small amounts of leisure time often instead of taking a one or two week vacation once or twice a year.

    Maybe the industry should get a hold of a lot of these articles and somehow use them in their marketing strategy?

    Of course that does not alter what John Ennis stated above. Somehow manufacturers and dealers need to find a way to bring the costs down. The amount of disposable income, for the majority of workers, will be low for the foreseeable future. Fractional ownership, fractional use, and club-owned boats are the wave of the future–IMHO.

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