Can consumers really compare prices?

Andy Adams

April 5, 2022

I’m the principal grocery shopper for a household of three and I know that a 3-pound bag of carrots is $2.99, a pound of sirloin steak at my butcher is $14.99, and so on. Two years ago, the bank valued my house, but a few weeks ago a much smaller house across the street, with a smaller and less desirable lot, sold for hundreds of thousands more than the bank’s value. I thought I knew what the house was worth. Turned out, I was way off…in a good way this time.

For the buyer who’s been dreaming of a nice 18’ bass boat and trailer rig; I bet he’s right up to date on the prices. But for the buyer who’s looking at a 35-foot dayboat, I suspect there are so many variables, so many different brands, so many power choices, that it would be a real challenge to guess the MSRP. 

We have all heard countless stories about supply chain disruption, parts shortages, labour shortages and shipping nightmares. Boatbuilders seemed to be going flat out, deliveries are reportedly increasing and yet, it doesn’t feel like our industry is catching up to the demand yet.

I’ve heard that car dealers don’t “wheel and deal” anymore. They’ll tell you what they can get, what it will cost and then the deal is a “take it or leave it” proposition.

Are we in that same situation in the boat business? Our professional sales people and yacht brokers probably know the current prices with precision, but do our customers really know what the price should be for the boat that they want? And for those who may have a big price objection, are there other buyers who would gladly sign on the dotted line?

The new NDP / Liberal government is going to bring in the Luxury Tax including boats priced above $250,000, and with a nightmare of formulas and paperwork to head off tax avoidance. While our industry will have to deal with this unreasonable burden, I’m suggesting that maybe the less said the better – the price is the price.

In the long run, this tax is a job and revenue-killer, but in the totally unique and deeply disrupted inflationary marketplace of 2022, there may be enough market momentum to carry us through a major consumer price adjustment period.

I’m interested in your thoughts and invite you to share how you plan to deal with this tax if you are willing to share your strategies to the industry. It’s best when we are all singing from the same hymn sheet. Or, maybe we are simply silent on the issue.

Andy Adams – Editor

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