The NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada) held their State of the Industry Breakfast in Toronto on Tuesday morning at the Beanfield Centre at Exhibition Place.
The conference elaborated on some of the challenges facing the boating industry and how these challenges can be addressed moving forward. The NMMA also highlighted the trends of the industry and how certain demographics can be targeted and welcomed to the boating world.
“We need to ensure that we’re launching this brand and this platform to engage with the next generation,” said Kevin Williams, Vice President of North American Marketing for the NMMA. “Our strategy is to engage with the next generation of boaters while retaining, that’s very important. We’re not turning our back on anyone; in fact, we want that current generation to be advocates and help us bring in that next generation and introduce them to this wonderful lifestyle.”
Williams also stressed the importance of including diverse segments of the population in this campaign and the fact that this new demographic really connects better with actual experiences.
“Those diverse segments are really driving the growth and they don’t see themselves the same way that previous generations saw themselves,” Williams said. “One in five of the traditional boaters are diverse and then if you go to the under 25, one in two are diverse. So, their world is totally different in the way that they interact with people and the way they interact with products and services. We need to be able to talk to them and connect with them.”
It is the experiences of the boating world that will entice and attract newcomers, and Williams said it’s not necessarily about the boat, but where the boat can take you.
“The NMMA’s latest Discover Boating campaign generated more than 1.2 billion impressions and is reaching new groups,” said JF Rioux, Chairman of the NMMA and Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Planning at Yamaha Motor Canada. “There has been a 145 per-cent increase in website visitors aged 18 to 44 years old and a 31 per-cent increase in females compared to pre-pandemic levels.”
The NMMA also inducted two new, and very well-respected members into their Hall of Fame on Tuesday morning. Les Sparks, long-time manager at Mercury Marine who served for 50 years and recently retired. Sparks expressed his gratitude and shared some funny anecdotes from his time with the company. Bill Connor from Connor Industries was also inducted into the NMMA Canada Hall of Fame. Connor Industries is known around the world for its custom welded aluminum boats under the name STANLEY. Connor shared stories of his first experiences boating at a very young age and urged listeners to share their passion for boating with their friends and family.