Vibs Wrap Up

Lower fuel prices stimulate spending and forecast a positive year for BC’s boating industry

The 53rd annual Vancouver International Boat Show closed on Sunday, January 25, with many exhibitors generating strong onsite sales and leads over the course of the five-day Show. Continued, historically low interest rates, and the sharp decline in the price of fuel, have resulted in a positive start to the year’s sales and have positioned Western Canada’s boating industry for an optimistic 2015.

With BC Place hosting the indoor venue, and Granville Island providing a historic maritime setting for the Floating Show, the 2015 Boat Show offered exhibitors an opportunity to kick-start the coming boating season, and showcase new model year products, accessories and services to consumers.

“It’s been the best Show ever,” said Salim Ladha from Steveston Marine. “The crowds on the weekend have been very strong, with the rain driving people inside to BC Place. Our sales this year were unprecedented, and up significantly compared to the last two years.”

“This Show has been great for us,” said Sharon Ross at Performance Water Sport. “The people we saw coming our this year were serious boaters looking to make a purchase and the weekend was busier than normal, especially on Sunday. Not only are our sales up from the last two years, but we are also confident that we’ll have a lot of follow-up in the weeks to come.”

“The sales at this year’s Show were unprecedented and well exceeded our expectations,” noted Berry Sherwood of Sherwood Marina. “While the traffic was a bit slower, we saw a big increase in the quality of customers. The promotion leading up to the Show was really well done and we had a lot of people coming into our dealership with inquires in the weeks prior to opening day.”

Mike Hudson of Port Boat House also remarked on the quality of consumers that attended the Show. “We really noticed an increase in qualified, knowledgeable customers and a shift to a younger demographic. We were satisfied with the level of traffic and our sales equaled to last year’s so we are happy with that!”

Vibs Wrap Up 2

While the rainy weather was a deterrent for attendance at the Floating Show, the exhibitors at Granville Island were also pleased with the quality of visitors. “Overall it’s been a successful Show for us,” said David Campbell from Freedom Marine. “Though the weather wasn’t on our side for the majority of the Show, the people that came out were serious and committed buyers, making it another record year in terms of sales.”

The incorporation of new and exciting features, including National Geographic’s Wicked Tuna star Captain Dave Carraro, the UBC SailBot team, and Prop Formula1 racer Mike McLellan were all big draws for the public and media. The expanded seminar series, offering more than 100 seminars spanning across three seminar rooms, was, one again, a highlight for Show goers. Visitors to the Floating Show at Granville Island also took advantage of Discover Boating’s free boat rides and the new Hands On Skills Training clinics.

“This year’s features and seminar program were instrumental in driving strong media coverage, and Wicked Tuna’s Dave Carraro helped reach a younger demographic of boating enthusiasts.” says Show Manager Eric Nicholl. “We were pleased with the effectiveness of this year’s marketing strategies. Even though attendance figures were lower than last year, mostly due to adverse weather conditions at the Floating Show, most dealers are reporting strong sales due to the high numbers of motivated buyers.”

29,293 people visited the two venues during the five-day event, a 7% decrease from the previous year.

The Show continues to see increasing attendance from the Asian community as a result of marketing efforts targeting this demographic’s interest in boating. Wilson Kao’s What a beautiful BC boating life! Let’s buy a boat seminar in Mandarin was a big draw for Chinese Show goers, and his knowledge on boating trends specific to the Asian market continues to garner media interest. A certified boating instructor and local yacht salesman, Kao offers years of experience and a wealth of knowledge about BC’s boating market.

 

Dates for the 54th Vancouver International Boat Show are scheduled for January 20 – 24, 2016 at BC Place and Granville Island.

 

Western Canada’s largest consumer boating event, the Vancouver International Boat Show is owned by the Boating BC Association and produced by Canadian Boat Shows.

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