Home Insights & Advice The state of the UK boating market at the level of new and used boat sales

The state of the UK boating market at the level of new and used boat sales

by John Saunders
2nd Apr 19 8:03 am

British boating market has experienced a boom since the collapse in the value of the pound after the referéndum vote in last June 2016. Boats and equipment sales totalled £3.1bn in 2017 – a 3.4% increase on 2016 and the best year since before the 2008 financial crisis, when rich people’s appetite for boats for sale in UK vanished.

After Brexit, British boats suddenly became 15 to 20% cheaper than their competitors in Europe and the US, leading both the new and used boat sales market. The vast majority of UK-built boats are sold overseas, but a report revealed the UK’s dominance of the European used boat market, where Fairline led the way with 265 used models sold via YachtWorld last year, while Jeanneau and Sealine tied for second on 220 boats sold.

As far as new boats are concerned, the biggest challenge that the UK boating market faces is the shortage of boats, because the way that manufacturers build and supply boats has changed exponentially. Today, manufacturers are in the most part building for end users, so the availability of stock is long gone. Most of manufacturers offer between 6 months and 2 year delivery, so the days of making a stink bid for a stock boat that needs shifting for cash and a quick sale are a thing of yesterday. However, despite the changes on the new boats sales industry, Windy Boats had a stellar year in the UK and France with an increasing number of clients enjoying the quality, sea keeping and fantastic driving experience offered by their whole fleet.

According to the International Boat Industry, the UK’s strong export performance will continue to grow in 2019, following last year’s trend. In 2018, leisure marine exports surpassed £1bn for the first time since 2013, representing an increase of 16% compared to the previous year. Plus, new figures from UK industry association British Marine show that the country’s boating sector grew for the seventh consecutive year in 2018, with total revenues up by 1.7% to £3.17bn. The figures state that direct revenue from the marine industry trade has contributed over £1.1bn of Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy, supporting over 33,000 direct employees in related businesses across the UK.

Boating sales channels have also evolved, and most of the sales are arranged via Internet thanks to the increasing number of websites offering boats for sale in UK. Advertising remains a popular sales channel too, especially for used boats. Frequent strategies include placing ads in the local boating ads or the big daily newspaper; and, if it’s a large boat or one of limited availability that buyers will likely travel out of state to view, also placing ads in the pricier regional and national venues. Renting space at some highway-side lot where hundreds of passers-by can see it is another boating sales strategy, since ads with high-quality images garner more potential buyers.

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