Dealing with market weakness

Andy Adams

July 2, 2024

While it’s a news story from the United States, it was still concerning to learn that the 2024 Maine Boat & Home Show is to be postponed. An email announcement said that the postponement was due to staffing issues and circumstances beyond the owner’s control and that they are postponing the 2024 Maine Boat & Home Show until the summer of 2025. I’m sure that’s disappointing to both the owners and the show goers but it would be worse to press on with a weak event.
We recently ran the story that show owners and management have done an extensive evaluation on the Toronto International Boat Show and have decided to make it a 9-day show in January of 2025. Toronto has been a strong show, always well-attended and that’s what we anticipate for the coming show. Perhaps more important is that exhibitors and attendees alike know the revised format far in advance and can plan to adjust to their best benefit. Depending on the strength of the market this summer, this long lead time will be appreciated.

Reading the tea leaves is always a challenge but it appears that persistent inflation in Canada and the U.S. may keep interest rates at current levels rather than coming down as hoped. Across North America, the summer real estate markets are constrained by elevated interest rates. It also seems that sellers are reluctant to list their homes at lower asking prices while buyers are waiting for a break before buying.

If that’s the situation in the real estate markets, I’m concerned that our non-essential boat market is similarly held back. But it’s important to note that our boat buyers in many cases, are not the average wage-earner family and while average families are weighed down by interest rates, often the more affluent will benefit from them and may be more inclined to buy now, especially if they see a bargain on something they really want.

Dealers with a build-up of inventory are always left in a tough place when the industry experiences a slow-down but the sooner things move back to normal the better. A long hot summer may be the boost we need. Cross your fingers.

Andy Adams Editor

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