COMMERCE TWP, MICH. – January 7, 2021 – Many January consumer shows across the country have been postponed until 2022 due to COVID-19, and the 63rd annual Progressive Detroit Boat Show is one of them. In a normal year, today would mark the first day of the week-long move-in for the Progressive Detroit Boat Show at TCF Center in January. This iconic event serves as the ultimate one-stop-shopping experience for all things boating and the official countdown to spring launch. For the first time in 63 years, the shopping will need to be done right at Michigan’s marine business locations, under vigilant COVID-19 safety precautions.
To help consumers start their search for a new boat, marina, boating gear, or services, the producers of the Progressive Detroit Boat Show (Michigan Boating Industries Association), are providing an online one-stop-shopping experience through their website boatmichigan.org. Here consumers will find all the same reputable marine businesses which normally exhibit at the Boat Show. Also available are tools to help consumers understand how affordable boating can be, how easy boats are to operate, discover the perfect boat for their needs, and how easy it is to get on the water. A special event listing and details on dealer / manufacturer discounts are also provided. Admission is free and hours will vary from business to business.
Now’s the Time to Buy!
Buying a boat in January may seem odd to some people but because of the way boats are manufactured, to be sure they are delivered by spring launch, it is important to order boats early. “This year, more than ever, if someone is interested in purchasing a boat, a January order is imperative,” said MBIA Executive Director Nicki Polan. “This past summer, when the pandemic hit, thousands of people turned to the outdoors for safe and fun recreational opportunities with their families and boating came to the forefront. “I think at one point this summer every last boat in Michigan was sold,” said Polan. “Manufacturers continue to work to catch up with demand as they too had been shut down initially and faced supply chain issues.”
Statistics Show Huge Demand for Boats Continues
The NMMA reported on January 6 that retail unit sales of new powerboats in the U.S. increased in 2020 by an estimated 12 percent compared to 2019. More than 310,000 new powerboats were sold in 2020, levels the recreational boating industry has not seen since before the Great Recession in 2008.
“2020 was an extraordinary year for new powerboat sales as more Americans took to the water to escape pandemic stress and enjoy the outdoors safely,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA president. “For the first time in more than a decade, we saw an increase in first-time boat buyers, who helped spur growth of versatile, smaller boats – less than 26 feet – that are often towed to local waterways and provide a variety of boating experiences, from fishing to watersports.”
The following new powerboat categories drove record retail unit sales in 2020:
- Sales of personal watercraft, including Jet Ski, Sea Doo and WaveRunner are estimated to be up 8 percent to 82,000 units in 2020; with accessible entry-level price points, personal watercraft are often considered a gateway to boat ownership.
- Sales of wake boats—popular for wakesurfing, skiing and wakeboarding and attractive to new and active boaters—are estimated to be up 20 percent to 13,000 units in 2020.
- Sales of freshwater fishing boats and pontoons boats, often sought for their versatility and entry-level price points and accounting for 50 percent of new powerboats sold in 2020, are expected to be up 12 percent to 143,000 units.
“We expect consumer interest in boating to remain strong through 2021 and beyond, with millions of Americans discovering the mental health benefits and joys of being outside and on the water,” noted Hugelmeyer.
In 2019, more than $1.1 billion in was spent in Michigan on new boats, motors, trailers and accessories. Just as much was spent on previously owned inventory. The boating industry has a $7.8 billion economic impact on the state’s economy each year and more than 40 percent of the state’s population get on the water boating and fishing each year.
Because of the incredible surge in boat sales, many Michigan boat buyers purchased what was left in inventory and may now be interested in trading in their purchase for the boat they had hoped to get. Other new boat buyers may have found the boat they purchased was not large enough or suited for their preferred on-water activity and want to move to a new boat. And many who waited are expected to make the decision to buy for 2021 season. For that reason, boat sales are expected to stay strong and increase approximately 12 percent in both 2020 and 2021, which would make 12 consecutive growth years for new boats, motors, trailers, and accessory sales.
Nearly 4 million Michiganders hit the water each year!
Huge boat sales in Michigan was big news, but also newsworthy, Michigan moved from number three to number two for boat registrations according to the U.S. Coast Guard. “As a four-season state that is pretty impressive and shows the passion people in Michigan have for getting out on the water,” said Polan. “In Michigan you don’t need to live on the water to get on the water and enjoy the positive effects the outdoors and boating will bring, and boating is a safe way to spend time with your family.”
Don’t miss the boat! The 63rd annual Progressive Detroit Boat Show may have been postponed but the sales and promotions continue January 16 -24, 2021. Log in to www.boatmichigan.org on January 16 and start your new adventure.
The Progressive Detroit Boat Show is sponsored by Progressive Insurance, Great Lakes Scuttlebutt, Official Magazine of the Detroit Boat Show and the Courtyard by Marriott.