Boats Group – Info-Link Study Insights New and Pre-owned Boat Sales Analysis

by | Sep 4, 2014 | Boats Group, News

Boats Group (Boats Group) recently announced the findings from its in-depth analysis of U.S. sales leads across three of its sites – YachtWorld, Boat Trader and One of the key factors revealed by this analysis was the growing trend of customers buying new boats over the last three years, and some interesting insight into consumer behaviors that are valuable to the boating industry.

Info-Link conducted the lead analysis for Boats Group to identify consumer purchase behaviors and provide overall market intelligence. The firm evaluated more than 2.3 million customer leads generated across Boats Group’s sites between October 2010 and September 2013. This extraordinarily large sample was then used to generate statistics on sales conversion rates (the number of website inquiries that eventually led to a boat purchase), proportions of new vs used boat transactions and other key performance measures across each of Boats Group’s websites.

One of the more striking findings was a significantly higher representation of Boats Group leads purchasing new boats as compared to pre-owned boats. In the US market in recent years, about 18% of all boat sales transactions were new and 82% were pre-owned. By comparison, across all Boats Group portals, 28% purchased new boats and 72% purchased pre-owned.

Historically, the Boats Group portals have been viewed as consumer gateways to the pre-owned market. This finding dispels that myth and supports the fact that today’s consumers (particularly new boat buyers) are doing research on the Boats Group portals to facilitate the purchase decision process.

The study also looked at how this trend broke down across each of Boats Group’s three US portals. It showed that the percentage of new boat buyers among users was the highest at 33%, close to double that of the overall market.  Boat Trader came in only slightly lower at 29%, showing that it is also well penetrated in the new boat market.

In the case of YachtWorld, there was a higher proportion of pre-owned boats compared with and Boat Trader.  This intuitively makes sense because of YachtWorld’s expansive volume of sales in the brokered boat segments, which are more likely to be pre-owned. However, YachtWorld’s 20% proportion of new boat sales leads was still well above the average for the total boat market in 2013.

New and pre-owned purchase composition across Boats Group’s US portals

Delving more deeply into the findings also revealed that the higher incidence of new boat buyers was also reflective of overall market trends. Looking at this information by boat type revealed that among the Boats Group lead base, the segments that are recovering more quickly displayed an even higher concentration of new boat buyers. For example, among Boats Group leads that subsequently purchased a pontoon boat, 46% purchased that boat new versus 54% pre-owned. It was a similar story in other quickly recovering segments such as ski boats (43%) and freshwater fishing (37%).

Percentage of new and pre-owned buyers by boat type


These findings give Boats Group and InfoLink reason to expect the proportion of YachtWorld, Boat Trader and new boat buyers will continue increasing in the years ahead as a result of stable to improving new boat sales trends, but also due to a lack of supply of late model year boats entering the pre-owned market.