In order to prosper moving forward, the recreational boating industry needs to reduce the cost of boating while still delivering superior value, said Brunswick Corporation CEO Dusty McCoy in his keynote address to kick off the 26th annual METS.
"The cost of boating is exceeding the value of the benefits being received. In terms of real market pricing, the cost of boating is rising faster than the rate of inflation' said McCoy. "As an industry, we're beginning to price ourselves out of business. As an industry, we need to win on both the product, and the cost of the product. We believe that every new model must cost less than the model it replaces. In the boat industry, it's difficult for a lot of people to wrap their heads around that because we've all become very good at adding features and letting the costs fall where they may. But we now need to become better at engineering boats in the same way that the auto industry has engineered cars – so that they provide better value.'
McCoy cites recent statistics comparing sales of new boats versus lower cost used boats to support his argument that the cost of new boats is becoming a barrier to entry for prospective new boaters. "The biggest competition to new boat sales today is sales of used boats,' said McCoy. Used boat sales have continued to increase every year throughout the recession, and are now at their highest level ever, while new boat sales still hover at around 60 percent of pre-recession levels. That tells us very clearly that people want to go boating, but used boats are serving consumer needs more effectively than new boats are.'
Apart from cost controls, McCoy told a well attended METS Industry Breakfast that innovation, flexibility, and manufacturing capacity also need to improve. "It's all about delivering greater value to boaters,' he said. "Those values speak to delivering a higher quality product that can be sold at a lower cost.'
Following the Breakfast Briefing, co-organized by the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), McCoy challenged future marine industry executives to innovate as part of a meet-and-greet with the METS Young Professionals in their Club Lounge.
The 26th METS runs through November 21 at the Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, the Netherlands.