by Jeni Bone
From top end yachts to accessory retailers, SIBS was a case of the harder you worked, the better your results. Numbers may have been down, but sales were strong, that’s the general consensus one week after SIBS, much to the relief of brands, dealers, retailers and show organizers.
It’s hoped that a strong SIBS will inspire buyers to get into boating.
'I have not heard one bad comment,' said Alan Steber from Steber International, who reported a 'very successful, very positive boat show'.
'It was a tremendous show. The BIA and marina organizers did an amazing job. We were very satisfied indeed and are looking forward to finalizing negotiations with clients from the boat show and following up leads over the next few weeks.'
Stebercraft had its Dubai agent at SIBS and according to Steber, 'he was very impressed with the quality of the show'.
In addition, Steber added, 'there’s the potential for three more boat sales to Dubai, as well as two 52s and a 38, and two customers who are very keen on the Steber 4380 and two for the 3800 Sportsfishers'.
'We are just finalizing negotiations now and anticipate more sales in August and September as a result of the show.'
SIBS, before the crowds arrived.
Mark Chapman, principal at Chapman Marine, was 'thrilled at the solid leads' from SIBS. 'We have had plenty of enquiry, sold a few boats and were generally delighted at how well our latest addition, the Fairline Targa 64 was received. People were gobsmacked with the finish and quality.'
At SIBS, Chapman Marine had Fairline, ChrisCraft, Wellcraft and Regal brands. While not prepared to announce actual sales, Chapman said his sales team is following up leads and 'generally pretty satisfied' with the results of this year’s show.
Damien Weber, Director of Sales & Marketing at Navico says the company was 'very happy with the way it finished up'.
'While numbers at the gate were down, we gauged success on market share and sell through, both of which were great.
'We saw excellent sell through with the retailers selling Navico product and a count of the boats fitted with Electronics in the main hall, 75% had Navico Electronics on board, primarily Lowrance, Navman or Northstar.
'Out on the Marina we made considerable market share gains with significantly more boats than previous years being fitted with Simrad or Northstar premium products. All in all, a good show.'
Peter Jenkins, Sales & Marketing manager for Bill Barry-Cotter’s Maritimo marque, said the company was very pleased with its boat show participation.
'We are in the midst of a slowing economy, but we’re realists and we will handle whatever comes our way. The acceptance of our models by the public has pleased us enormously and we're extremely happy with what has transpired over the six days.'
Exhibitors display at SIBS - Sydney International Boat Show
Mark Leach, National Sales & Marketing Manager at Raymarine said the company was 'more than pleased' with SIBS, where it had space on the marina and three dealers with space inside. 'Our three service dealers were very happy. They had very healthy sell-through, on par with last year.'
Raymarine dealers included Fleet Marine, Bluewater Sound and Aquatronics.
Leach continued: 'As far as attendance was concerned, we were satisfied.' The company also held the official launch of its G Series, the premium multi-function display system which comes in 19', 17', 15' and 12' screens and boasts wireless remote keyboard and 9 inputs for computers, laptops, TVs, cameras.
'The G Series was very well received,' said Leach, adding that Raymarine will be launching new products by the end of 2008 and also early next year. 'New products are on their way. We launch several new products each year, which is what people have come to expect from Raymarine.'
Next on the show list for Raymarine is Brisbane, then Mandurah, which Leach described as 'an excellent show for us'.
'It's like a mini-Sanctuary Cove and really sells the boating lifestyle to the public. It's outdoors, a great time of year and really promotes boating.'
At CruiseCraft, which in tandem with its dealer Hunts Marine had seven boats on display, Peter Benston, Sales & Marketing Manager reported that SIBS was 'very rewarding'.
'It was a slow start, but Saturday, Sunday, Monday, things picked up and we managed to close a few good deals. There were fewer people there, but the quality of buyers was generally good.'
Despite talk of a downturn, Benston said CruiseCraft has enjoyed a healthy result during the boat show circuit so far this year. 'Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney were all good for us.
'It’s a tough time, there’s no doubt about that, but we tend to have boats that are still popular and selling strongly, like our larger fishing boats,' he said, adding that the main target market for these vessels is the 'well established private buyer or business people'.
CruiseCraft will be releasing its new boat, the Executive 630, the 6.3m cruiser at Brisbane International Boat Show 27-31 August.
At SIBS, Telwater showed its new Quintrex 490 Freedom, a bowrider model that attracted strong interest. There was also the 669 Allrounder for Stacer and entry level runabouts.
Damien Duncan, National Sales & Marketing Manager at Telwater said that this year’s show 'wasn’t the best, compared to previous years, but dealers were positive, and surprised given the economy'.
'They were expecting the worst and they took it as a bonus to sell boats. The traffic was ok and sales went reasonably well. People were very keen and both our Quintrex and Stacer dealers were upbeat about the show and potential leads. They are saying that in a week and a half, they’ll know how well they went.'
Stacer had all its models on display on a corporate stand attended by dealers: Sunset Marine (Warilla), Huett Marine Centre (Cowan), Wagga Marine, In Tune Marine (Long Jetty) and Lifestyle Marine (Toronto).
Ian Tricker, owner of TR Marine in Sydney’s McGraths Hill, said SIBS was 'OK.'
'There has been some interest rate relief and fuel prices are stabilising, but there is no doubt we are seeing an industry downturn.
'I’m reluctant to say it was great, but we did ok. The focus is now on the follow up over August and September and so far, it’s going well.
'We desperately needed it and I am sure the good retailers found the show as a breath of fresh air and a good start to summer.'
The retail section of TR Marine went 'very well', according to Tricker. 'We sold a lot of product and got a lot of support from Garmin, GME, Furuno and Fusion. It was all good. In terms of dollar sales we were about 10% down, but as far as boat sales, we were down around 20% over the 6 days.'
Taking brands Quintrex, CrownLine from the US and Skicraft to the show, Tricker and his team decided at the last minute to add the Markham Dominator Cats to the company’s display lineup.
'Which was lucky, as we ended up selling two. At $150,000 each, that made a great difference to our profit. We nearly didn’t take them. If we hadn’t taken them, we would have had an entirely different show. It just shows you that product selection and chance play a large role.'
Tricker has high praise for the BIA of NSW, appreciating the additional marketing emphasis this year.
'We have a great BIA and they certainly worked hard. They went to great lengths to market the show. They did a great job!
Tricker added that while crowd numbers were down, he noticed plenty of people there for multiple days. 'We saw many people there Friday, Saturday and Sunday, making a weekend of it and taking their time to decide on a boat.
'I would suggest to the BIA that they consider late night opening on a Friday. It would be worth it for those people who can’t make it over the weekend.
'I’m not afraid of the hard work and a 10pm close might boost numbers of the people who work close to the city or live nearby.'