The Best Time of Year To Purchase a Boat
There’s many schools of thought about what time of year is the best time to buy a fishing boat. Many think that the fall months are better due to boat dealers trying to reduce inventory prior to the slower winter months and to make room for the newer models that come out in late summer. Other’s believe that the winter months are the best months thanks to the many boat shows that bring lower prices and better deals in the cold months that reflect slower boating traffic. And finally, others think that the spring is the best time to buy. Part of this theory rests in the thought that selling the current boat is in order to buy a new one, and is best done in the warmer months when anglers are chomping at the bit. Therefore, buying the new replacement in the spring.
Every boat buyer and dealer has their own opinion. We realize that boat shows are commonly held in the colder winter months in the Carolina’s. But are they? We have the Morehead City Boat Show that is held in May. It’s a very successful show that is largely displayed in the water with a few supporting vendors. It’s well attended and boat sales derived from the event are impressive. For the past 4 years that Wilmington Boat Show has seen a great response with selling out all dock space and vendor areas for the show. However, in the past 3 years, the Wilmington show has been impacted by the threat or downright arrival of hurricanes. Debbie Taylor, organizer of the Wilmington Boat Show, part of JBM and Associates, has informed me that they have addressed that problem and will be moving the show to a later time in the season in 2020. The new date will be announced in the days to come. The Wilmington Boat Show is a key player in the list of coastal boat shows thanks to the location of the event and the close proximity to large markets like Charlotte and Raleigh. While Raleigh hosts 2 boat shows in the winter months, many of the dealers represented are freshwater boats, thus making the Wilmington Boat more important.
Recently we asked Jason Cate of Avalanche Motorsports of Wilmington his perspective on how the cancellation of this year’s Wilmington show has impacted the dealership’s 2nd and 3rd quarter sales? He told us, “we enter the market with a discount pricing that is there year round. While the absence of this year’s Wilmington show means we could have missed an opportunity to be in front of potential customers, it also allows us to spend more time with our current customers and potential customers at our facility. This enables us to spend that time learning more about their boat needs and wants. It’s more “one on one.”
So, there are no real conclusions to this question. A lot of opinions, but nothing conclusive. I think if we learned anything, it’s that people buy boats on their own schedule. Sometimes at a boat shows, and sometimes in the winter or fall and spring or even in the heat of the summer. There’s no right or wrong answer.