MIAMI, Fla. — Two in five (40%) of millennials that purchased their boat during the pandemic boating boom reported intent to upgrade their vessel, according to a recent private seller survey conducted by Boat Trader, America’s largest boating marketplace. The study performed on the marketplace’s For Sale By Owner (FSBO) platform found that out of all the private sellers that purchased boats within the past one to three years, close to half (49%) of the participants expressed a desire to upgrade, with millennials being the largest generational group. 
The survey’s additional findings, which asked participants if they were first-time boat buyers, further reinforced that millennials are strongly motivated to upgrade their boats. Out of the 2300 respondents who stated this was not their first boat, 68% were identified as millennials.
“It’s been exciting to see younger generations showing a strong interest in the boating lifestyle. The continued growth and success of the boating industry depend on attracting new and younger customers,” said Courtney Chalmers, vice president of marketing at Boats Group, the parent company of Boat Trader. “With millennials comprising such a large portion of the population, their interest in boating presents a significant opportunity for the industry.”
According to the latest market report from Boats Group, buyer interest shifted last year, leading to a normalization of the industry. As a result, the total number of boats sold worldwide decreased for the first time since the pandemic-induced boom. 
“We are actively observing the market for any trends that may emerge following the peak in boat buying over the past few years,” said Chalmers. “The baby boomer generation has been a key demographic for the boating industry. Still, it is equally important for us to capture interest and retain younger buyers in order to provide a stable foundation for the industry’s future.”
Rising interest rates may be top of mind for most, but not for private boater sellers looking for their next vessel purchase. Close to three-quarters (73%) of sellers who plan to upgrade or downgrade intend to pay for their next boat in cash. Out of those cash buyers, 64% are millennials.
In addition to private sellers searching for their next vessel, respondents reported lifestyle changes, including moving and health reasons, no longer using their boat, owning multiple boats and downgrading as reasons for listing their boat for sale.
About Boat Trader
Boat Trader is the largest online boating marketplace in the United States, creating simple solutions for anyone looking to buy or sell a boat. Founded in 1991, Boat Trader expanded from a weekly classifieds publication found in local markets nationwide to an online marketplace in 1996 and now offers boat dealers and private party sellers comprehensive options for selling their boats online with ease. Boat Trader reaches more than 9 million online boat shoppers and delivers over 170,000 leads each month to its sellers. Boat Trader is based in Miami, FL, and is owned and operated by Boats Group. For more information and to experience the marine industry’s leading classifieds marketplace, visit www.boattrader.com or download the Boat Trader app on the iOS App Store and Google Play.
1 This survey was fielded from February 1 through March 1, 2023, and included 2,900 sellers ages 18+ who have listed their boat on Boat Trader’s For Sale By Owner platform.
2 2022 Boats Group Annual Market Index published March 1, 2023. The 2022 Boats Group Annual Market Index is an overview of national and international boat markets. For more information, visit www.boatsgroup.com/news.
Rachael Lobeck | Boats Group | [email protected]
This release contains disclosures that are forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include all statements that do not relate solely to historical or current facts and can be identified by the use of words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “project,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “believe,” “potential,” “should,” “continue” or the negative versions of those words or other comparable words. These forward-looking statements are based upon Boats Group’s current plans or expectations and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks.
These statements are not guarantees of future performance, and Boats Group has no specific intention to update these statements. As a consequence, current plans, and anticipated actions may differ from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by Boats Group or on Boats Group’s behalf.
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