Strong Australian Boat Market Suggests Better Things To Come

As the North American marine industry prepares for a new season, strong attendance and sales at the recent Brisbane Boat Show in Australia suggest good things may lay ahead for the Canadian marine industry.

The show, which ran from August 27 to 30, recorded total attendance of 25,400 over the four days, an increase of 20 percent despite one less trading day this year. The show also experienced the biggest Saturday crowds on record since 2002, up 30 percent on last year's attendance.

Event organizer Jason Plant said it was an encouraging sign of the community's readiness for some escapism and love for all things recreational. “Earlier this year we achieved the biggest crowds on record at our Tinnie and Tackle Show (32,000 visitors over three days), and now we have been able to replicate this success and increase visitor attendance at the Brisbane Boat Show as well,” said Plant.

Marine Queensland GM Don Jones puts the success down to increased consumer confidence and a different approach to marketing this year's show. “Marine Queensland is overall very pleased with the outcome of the show … exhibitors reported good enquiries and sales, and a feeling that consumer confidence has returned,” said Jones.

Jones said a two-for-one offer in Queensland's RACQ magazine was successful with over 3,000 redemptions. The Marine Queensland boat giveaway, in conjunction with local newspaper The Courier Mail, attracted 40,000 entries via mail and coupon box at the show. Jones said the impressive number of entries would offer Marine Queensland a valuable database in the future.

Jones said the 15 per cent reduction in exhibitor fees assisted in making the show affordable for the industry to attend.

Cunningham Marine's Bruce Cunningham was more than enthusiastic after his team reported good sales and a buoyant start to this year's boating season. “It would have to be the best and most stress free show we've had for some time,” said Cunningham. “The two weeks prior to the show had been the best pre-show start we've had for years.”

Yamaha's national sales manager of marine products, Brett Hampson, said the show exceeded Yamaha's expectations. “We did quite well and were happy with the results … now we're waiting to see if sales continue after the show,” said Hampson.

The Brisbane Boat Show presented several new boats, including the 430 Sundancer and models from Bayliner and  Maxum.