Slow start for boat shows in 2013
Sliding consumer confidence may be playing a part in reduced boat show attendance, as dealer optimism and positive trending consumer confidence wasn't able to drive consumers into boat shows this last weekend, leading to flat or decreased attendance at several boat shows across the U.S.
Boat shows struggled to pull boaters away from the TV on Sunday, and the Progressive Insurance Atlanta Boat Show saw an 11 percent drop in attendance despite show organizers noticing positive attendance growth through the first three days of the show.
Despite the drop on Sunday, show organizer Larry Berryman said that many boat dealers were reporting a positive show and exhibitors mentioning sales gains over 2012.
At the Progressive Insurance Kansas City Boat Show, attendance was down around 9 percent compared to 2012, with just under 22,000 visitors over the four-day show. Attendance was down 9 percent in 2011, as well. Despite the lower attendance, exhibitors reported improvement over 2012.
“It’s been a great show. Numbers are better than last year.” Greg Surdyke, Surdyke Yamaha Marine, said in a note provided by Kansas City Boat Show organizers.
In Nashville and Chicago, attendance was relatively flat with last year. Attendance at the Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show was up by 2 percent, with 35,119 attendees during the four-day show.
“We are at a record pace," said Mark Biasco of Munson Ski in a note provided by show organizers. "Existing owners that have been waiting to upgrade came out of the woodwork.”
Attendance at the Progressive Insurance Nashville Boat & Sportshow was up around 1 percent, with 13,866 attendees in 2013. This was the show's final year, and organizers said that participants at the Nashville show are looking forward to moving to the new larger venue, Music City Center, in 2014.
"Our goal was to sell 5 boats, and we sold 11”, said Mike Helms, Calico Jacks.
There will be no boat shows to compete with the NFL Conference championships this weekend, with the next NMMA shows beginning the following week. The Progressive Insurance Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow is next on the calendar, scheduled to run January 23 through 27.
The NMMA's first sail show of 2013 also begins in two weeks. The Progressive Insurance Strictly Sail Chicago show is scheduled to run January 24 through 27.