Dealing with a pandemic in spring 2020 was full of surprises for many retailers — including boat dealers across North America — who experienced low inventory and record sales.
During the widespread shutdown to flatten the COVID curve, boat manufacturers halted production which affected supply. Low Inventory impacted numerous industries and for boating, timing was frustrating for buyers and sellers, since boat buying season was about to ramp up.
Many dealers reported 2020 was trending with a 10% increase in boat sales compared to the previous year. Then COVID lockdowns began in March, with dealers closed and boat buyers left to research boats online.
Paul and Ted Terzian shared their retail experience during the start of the pandemic. After closing their boat dealership for a few weeks, they reopened and experienced surprising results.
It was something you could almost call a buying frenzy. We ran out of one model after another, and in some brands, are nearly out of stock due to stocking orders not coming in thanks to plant shutdowns. Barring any unforeseen halt of activity, even after the late start and the big hole we had to dig out of, plus the strong increases in operational costs due to Covid-19, it appears that we may end up with a good year overall.Paul Terzian, Causeway Marine, Manahawkin, New Jersey
By the end of the first week in April we realized people were looking for a way to recreate with their families and social distance at the same time and sales picked up significantly! In April, May, June and July our business was up double or triple our previous records and YTD we are up 100%. A lot of this is due to Covid, but we also opened a new 11,000 square-foot addition to our show room, to go with our new service facility, so we were in a great position to take advantage of the surge in traffic.Jim Armington, Ohio’s Buckeye Sports Center
The 2020 boating season may have been full of surprises for dealers and boaters. If you were lucky enough to use your boat or buy a new boat or PWC, and stay healthy, be thankful you avoided the frenzy of Summer 2020.