North America’s Largest Indoor Boat Show Delivers Solid Sales To Launch 2015

Tibs 2015 Education


The Toronto International Boat Show is an economic bellwether for the Canadian boating industry, and exhibitors at the 57th annual show reported sales that exceeded conservative expectations, with a majority of product categories experiencing positive results. Over 500 manufacturers, dealers and marine suppliers sold out more than a million square feet of the Direct Energy Centre at Toronto’s Exhibition Place from January 9 – 18, 2015.

Paul Nickel, President of Pride Marine Group, said, “I wish the Show could go on for another 10 days – we’ve had our best-ever sales of Chris-Craft – and this was our best show in years. Overall, most of our success is due to our brand, but it’s been a very good experience this year…and we’re set up for a great next few months with all the contacts we’ve made.”

Director of Sales and Marketing for Desmasdons Boatworks, Matt French, said that the quality of the people visiting the Show this year seemed to make the difference. “One of our best years! There just seemed to be much more consumer confidence, and though there may have been fewer people, those that were here, were here to buy boats. Our engagement ratio is 40- 50% better this year over last.”

“It was a good show, and I think it’s because the people are here for a purpose – they’re already educated, they know what they want and they’ve done their homework online,” said Gordon Bay’s Ben Hatherley. “We’ve also seen more first-time buyers and that’s a great opportunity to create a relationship and sustain it.”

Chuck Howell from Forest River Marine echoed the sentiment regarding smarter consumers. “The Internet has changed everything – people come to the Show knowing what they want and challenging all of us salespeople to deal with them in a different, even more informed way.”

Naylor Systems has been manufacturing docks and lifts for 40 years. “This year’s Show was better than last year and last year’s show was great,” said owner Wendell Naylor.Tibs Merry Fischer

Derek Tamargo reps Yacht Controller out of Miami. “I spoke to more people, got more leads, and more sales than last year. Over the last four years, this was definitely the best – and we signed up some new dealers as well.” Another big winner over the 10-day run of the Show was Roula Angelis at Dreamcast Marine Canvas Ltd. “We paid for the Show in the first three hours on the first Saturday and just kept progressing from there.”

Bill Swift just put in his 30th year at the Boat Show and he’s extremely pleased that it’s the best he’s ever had. “Interest in canoeing and kayaking is still very strong, but the new category of paddleboards has really made a difference in our sales. And as cottages increase north of Toronto, more customers are created. This was a great show – and I look forward to more in the future.”

Chris Wert from Hurst Marina near Ottawa was very pleased with his results coming out of this year’s Show. “Our brand new line of Cutwater boats really found a market – we surprised a lot of people, I think. The trawler style and unique design features of these boats made a real impact and we’re very happy.”

Show Manager Cynthia Hare said the general feeling on the Show floor was positive. “I think a majority of exhibitors are going home with a positive start to the year as a result of solid sales as well as leads that will spell success over the coming months. Attendance was down slightly but the people who came to the show this year were definitely motivated to buy, and we’re very pleased that most boat brands and accessories had a strong show.” The 2015 attendance was 70,174, a 3% decrease over 2014.

Tibs Toronto Marine Group

Dates for the 2016 Toronto International Boat Show are January 8 – 17.

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