Timing is crucial for buying anything. And similarly for boats, if you buy the boat at the correct time, you may save some money; otherwise, you may have to spend extra on that. So, we will now see whether the boats are cheaper at boat shows or not? And how much will it save (money) if you bought one at a boat show?
Boats are 3% to 8% cheaper at boat shows compared to buying at a dealer. That’s an average discount, and it can vary, and sometimes, you may get extended warranties on a boat and outboard motor instead of discounts. You can expect about 4% or 5% on a boat at a boat show than at the dealer.
Definitely, there will be a drop in price at boat shows than at dealers. How much you will get may depend on so many factors such as type of boat, the brand you are getting from, location, etc. So, the right (correct) answer to the question you have come here is “IT DEPENDS.”
But don’t worry; there will be some form of discounts on a boat either as a discount or extended warranties on a boat or outboard. We will now see some of the popular boat discounts you may get at boat shows. These values are approximate and average values.
Note – These are just average prices of the boats and average discounts you may get on that boat. In some places, you may get more, and in some places, you may get less. These are just average (approximate) values.
|Boat type||Average price||The discount you may get on the boat at a boat show|
|Pontoon boat||$ 40,000.00||around 3%|
(approximately 1,000 – 2,500 dollars)
|Jet boat||$ 52,000.00||around 3 – 5%|
(approximately 1,500 – 3,000 dollars)
|Bowrider||$ 35,000.00||around 4 – 5%|
(approximately 1,000 – 2,000 dollars)
|Deck boats||$ 30,000.00||around 5%|
(approximately 1,000 – 2,000 dollars)
|Bass boats||$ 25,000.00||around 4 – 7%|
(approximately 1,000 – 2,000 dollars)
|Skiff boats||$ 25,000.00||around 6%|
(approximately 1,500 – 2,000 dollars)
|Bay boats||$ 45,000.00||around 4 – 7%|
(approximately 2,000 – 4,000 dollars)
|Sailboat||$ 50,000.00||around 5 – 8%|
(approximately 3,000 – 5,000 dollars)
|Personal watercraft||$ 15,000.00||around 3%|
(approximately 500 – 1,000 dollars)
By looking at those values, you may get some idea about the discount you may get if you purchase a boat at a boat show. And those values are just average (approximate) values. In some places, you may get more, and in some places, you may get less.
Generally, newer models will have fewer discounts, and older models will have good (more) discounts (price drop). The reasons are straightforward: they need to pay interest curtailment payments, it is expensive to hold those boats, and their value also gets depreciated down the line.
So, they want to get rid of them as quickly as possible to save some money. So, offering more discounts on those boats (old or previous year models) will open gates to sell all those boats quickly than in expected time. You can save more money on those previous models (boats) than what you have expected.
You can expect anywhere between 5% to 10% on older models. After those leftover inventories gots over, then you can expect some more price drops on new models. Otherwise, newer models will not be discounted much. Sometimes, going at the end of the boat show may get you more discounts.
Check this video on how to get a good value for a boat at a boat show. And to know some of the facts and everything about boast show in a detailed way, so that you can get great knowledge prior to attending a boat show.
Reasons why boats are cheaper at boat shows?
We will now see some of the reasons why boats are cheaper at boat shows than at dealers.
Related post – Check my article on Are boats cheaper in winter (link opens in a new tab) to know all the actual discounted values for some of the popular boats (both new and used boats) you may get if you purchase one in winter.
1. To sell more boats
- Do you know? 20% to 30% of that year’s boat sales happen at the boat shows. That 20% to 30% of sales in less time period will result in a lot of money and benefits the boat manufacturers most. So, the boat shows open doors to sell many boats quickly in a small period of time than in a year.
- Since many people attend the boat shows and many people will buy the boat at boat shows, they will drop the price a bit compared to the rest of the time to attract more people. Many people like discounts, I bet you will find very few people “Who don’t like discounts.” If the prices are less, many people may show interest in purchasing one.
2. To grab attention from buyers
- Since many people like discounts on anything, so it grabs attention for that product. The same thing works for boats, especially boats are expensive, and if there is any discount on the boat, it can sometimes save you thousands of dollars. Those thousands of dollars can draw your eyes to those discounted boats.
- It also depends on the type of boat you are buying; for example, if you are going for an expensive 24-foot pontoon that can cost anywhere around 50,000 dollars, it can sometimes save you $2,000 or more. That’s a great deal; I mean $2k as a discount (two iPhones). So, discounts grab a lot of attention from buyers.
3. To sell more leftover boats (previous year models)
- Leftover boats (old or previous year models) can be a burden for the manufacturers because they need to pay interest curtailment payments on those boats. It is expensive to hold those boats, and their value also gets depreciated down the line. So, they want to get rid of them as quickly as possible to save some money.
- Offering more discounts on old or previous year models (boats) will open gates to sell all those boats quickly than in the expected time. You will get more discount than expected, but that doesn’t mean that you will get 10% or 20% on older models. You can expect anywhere between 5% to 10% on old or previous year models (on average).
Benefits of boat shows (attending and for buying a boat)
We will now see some of the benefits you may get while buying a boat at a boat show and the benefits of just visiting one.
1.You can research more, and you can choose a good one
- If you are new to boating or buying the boat for the first time, you can learn a lot by just attending the boat shows, and even they will show more interest because they want to sell their boats. You can take advantage of that, and you can learn many new things about boats.
- In that way, if you walk in around some boat shows (local or international), you can become more aware of the boats, and it is like researching about the boats, and you can choose one if you found any boat that suits your requirements well. So, you can become more aware of boats, and you can choose a good one by attending boat shows.
2. You will get the boat on time (start of boating season or before)
- Generally, at some boat shows, the boats that are showcased there won’t be for sale; they are for display purposes. So, if you like that boat, you need to place an order, and the chances are you may get the boat on time before the start of the boating season (spring end). It’s because generally, ordering a boat can take time.
- Asking for a customized boat with additional or new features will surely take some extra time to manufacture it. If you placed an order in winter (boat show time), you might get it in April or May or before, which is the starting season for boating (generally). So, sometimes, purchasing a boat at boat shows result in perfect time shipment.
3. Prices will be low
- Since 20% to 30% of that year’s boat sales happen at boat shows. That 20% to 30% of sales in less time period will result in a lot of money and benefits the boat manufacturers most in that year. So, the boat shows open doors to sell many boats quickly in a small period of time than in a year.
- Since many people attend the boat shows and many people will buy the boat at boat shows, they will drop the price a bit compared to the rest of the time to attract more people to increase sales. Many people like discounts, I bet you will find very few people “Who don’t like discounts.” So, you will see the price drop, which benefits the buyer and the dealer.
4. You can see newer models
- Boat shows bring in a lot of variety of boats, especially newer models, you can explore the new models, and you will get a chance to see new technology. The best thing is you can compare the new models with a similar (existing) boat in the market, and you can go for an existing model if the prices are less.
- The one downside of that is, according to herculite, the moment a boat is purchased, it immediately loses anywhere from 25% to 33% of its value. New models (boats) with unproven technology could potentially prove to be a bust, while time-proven systems leave less uncertainty for the buyer. So, sometimes, you need to be careful as well.
5. Extra benefits along with the boat
- If you are lucky enough, you may get additional benefits or extra resources such as an extended warranty on a boat or extended warranty on an outboard motor, which will be valuable if you are thinking of using the boat for a longer period of time down the line (for five years or more).
- Some brands may give discounts on boats; others may only give extended warranties on the outboard motor (generally), and sometimes on the boats. If you are lucky enough, you may get both discount and extended warranty, but you will generally get either one of them, not both. So, boat shows can benefit you the most.
Those are some of the benefits you may get if you visit the boat show, even if you don’t plan to buy a boat at the boat show. If you are new to boating, you can still learn many new things at a boat show by exploring different boats and talking to the dealers.
Drawbacks of boat shows (attending and for buying a boat)
We will now see some of the downsides of buying or attending a boat at a boat show.
1. Confusion – a lot of boats
- If you are new to boating or thinking of buying a boat for the first time, a boat show would be a great opportunity to look at all the models available and to do some research on the boats you like. The one downside of that as a beginner may be confusion.
- Shows such as the world-famous Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show held every year in late fall see as many as 1,500 boats with a net value of $4 billion on display. It’d be impossible for any buyer (especially beginner) to see, experience, and investigate the number and range of boats on display at boat shows.
- If you are going to such a big boat shows, there are multiple options, and you can confuse easily, and the dealers will be like “Purchase this boat,” “Purchase this boat,” which will create a lot of confusion. So, better be prepared by doing enough research about the boat you are interested in prior to attending the boat show.
2. Late delivery
- Mostly this won’t be an issue for many people. At some boat shows (mostly local boat shows), the situation will be like if you like that boat, you can take it right away. And in some boat shows will be like, they will only showcase the boat, and if you like it, you may not be able to take that boat right away.
- Meaning if you like the boat, you may need to go to the dealer at a shop to purchase one. If the boats are ready for delivery at the dealer, it’s absolutely fine; otherwise, you may need to wait some time. That time could vary, and sometimes it can take months to deliver that boat to you.
- What is the use of buying a boat if it gets delivered in July or August, so if you are ordering a boat, make sure to ask the delivery date when it will be ready for delivery? And asking for a fully custom boat may take more time than a regular boat delivery time. So, you need to be aware of the delivery time if you are ordering a boat.
3. Can’t test the boat
- You probably won’t be able to take the boat on a sea trial. That means you’ll be making a purchase without having the chance to test drive your new boat. If you are a person who test drives the boat before purchase, then you may not be able to do that at a boat show (source).
- Meaning you are just buying the boat by seeing the color, specifications, and design, not the boat’s performance in the water. Purchasing a boat without a test drive (sea trail) won’t give you a chance to look at the boat’s performance.
- Generally, it won’t be an issue for many people. But if you want to test drive it, you can’t do it, so keep this in mind. However, some boat shows (local boat shows) may allow you to test drive it, but in most cases, you can’t.
Many people will think the perfect season for buying a boat is offseason (winter), especially boat shows will bring in a lot of variety of boats and new models, which will give you a lot of options to choose one for you. In fact, boat shows also bring in a lot of benefits along with it.
Boats are 3% to 8% cheaper at boat shows compared to at dealers, and that discount can vary from the brand you are looking for, type of boat, location, etc. Some brands may give extended warranties on the outboards instead of discounts that can help you in the long run if you keep the boat for a long time.
And generally, older models will drop down in price more than newer models. The reasons are straightforward: they need to pay interest curtailment payments, it is expensive to hold those boats, and their value also gets depreciating down the line.
So, if you are FINE with older models, boat shows are actually a great option to buy a boat. After the leftover boats (old model boats) gets over, newer models start to decline a bit in the price. If you are looking for a newer model, better go at the end of the boat show to get some discounts.
So, timing is crucial for buying a boat. Whether or not you buy a boat at a boat show, it’s important to buy a good boat.