Annapolis boat brokers encouraged about 2013

Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 11:00 am

Updated: 12:09 pm, Tue Nov 6, 2012.

Annapolis boat brokers encouraged about 2013

By JIMMY DeBUTTS, Business Editor


Ten percent.

That’s the upward adjustment Laurent Fabre is making for his 2013 Beneteau boats sales projections following the U.S. Sailboat and Powerboat shows in October. It’s a modest change but after a half decade of stagnant boat sales industrywide, it’s a welcomed shift for the president of Beneteau America.

Fabre said the fall 2012 boat shows in Annapolis generated higher sales for his firm, although he didn’t divulge exact numbers. He said pent-up demand, an improving economy and low interest rates for boat loans helped turn the tide on boat show success after the market went into a slide during the recession.

“Boat sales were up,” Fabre said. “People were willing to sit down and order boats. It’s encouraging to see that. They were coming to the boat show with the idea of buying a boat. The past five years people weren’t doing that.”

Interest in Beneteau powerboats and sailboats doubled during the 2012 shows compared to the 2011 events, Fabre said.

Bay Yacht Agency President Eric Smith found similar success this fall. He told The Capital last month the 2012 shows were his best in the past half decade with a handful of boat orders.

Smith said the number of serious boat shoppers was higher than in previous years as were the number of people who submitted finance applications.

“It’s not easy but there are people that are sick of waiting and opening their pocket books and buying boats,” he said.

In the wake of strong Annapolis shows, Fabre sees good momentum heading into 2013. That’s why he’s amending sale projections for the coming year.

“We expect to see more orders come in,” Fabre said.

Annapolis boat broker optimism is following a national trend. Last month, Wells Fargo Securities projected U.S. new-boat sales will increase by 5.8 percent.

Boat builders and brokers weren’t the only industry folks that saw a spike in interest. U.S. Boat Shows General Manager Paul Jacobs said the two October events experienced a 20 percent spike in Friday attendance. The shows sold more tickets than in 2011 and again attracted more than 90,000 people over the course of the two weekends.

The boat shows combined are the second largest annual event in Maryland with an estimated $51 million impact, according to U.S. Boat Shows.

Jacobs saw spikes in the number of two-day passes sold, about 240 people bought VIP parking packages when the capacity is 200 (some paid for passenger seats). The VIP packages include parking, four drinks, lunch at Pussers Caribbean Grille Restaurant and show admission.

About 40 vendors have already agreed to return for the spring sailboat show (April 26-28), Jacobs said. He said this year’s fall events signaled an encouraging shift in the industry’s course.

“It shows the industry has made a positive turn,” Jacobs said. “The unofficial results we got from them are far greater than the past five years.”

The Bay Bridge power boat show is scheduled for April 18-21 and will feature a separate area for the Nautical Flea Market.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012 11:00 am.

Updated: 12:09 pm.

| Tags:

Boat Brokers,



U.s. Sailboat Show,

U.s. Powerboat Show,

Beneteau Boats

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