British Marine launched its ‘Futures’ project, aimed at ensuring the leisure boating and watersports sector meets the needs of both its current and future customers. The project was presented by the membership organisation, along with its key industry partner RYA, on the opening day (Wednesday 10 January) of the 2018 London Boat Show.
Leisure boating customer numbers appear to be declining with fewer younger or new customers taking their place. In response to this and the concerns of British Marine members, detailed research was undertaken during 2017 to establish the facts behind perceived industry views regarding the future shape of the consumer market.
Using these learnings, British Marine is developing a new ‘Futures’ strategy to help suppliers and manufacturers attract and retain current and future customers. The project aims to develop key themes and ideas to assist British Marine members and other key stakeholders to provide the service and support that will maintain the UK as a leading maritime nation.
The strategy will have many strands, not limited to Engage & Promote, Pathways & Locations and Staying Active & Connected. Just some of the detail being worked on includes refreshing the profile and image of boating and watersports, increasing its appeal, shifting from supply-side to demand-led approach (pay & play models), improving and strengthening pathways, connecting customers and newcomers through a single and easily accessible online database, retaining more people to continue with their activities through their changing life stages and encouraging volunteers and participation across all levels.
Jon Eads, Project Manager for the ‘Futures’ project said: “Our vision is to get more people, throughout their lives, enjoying all forms of boating and associated watersports. Ninety-one per cent of the current population doesn’t take part in boating or watersports so the potential for growth is huge. Our future customers will be different and so we must respond now to social and demographic changes and work together to achieve it. If we change nothing, then nothing will change.”
Sarah Dhanda, Chief Officer of Membership & Services for British Marine added: “British Marine is committed to help members identify and understand new approaches to reverse the decline in boating activity. We will ensure we continue to provide members with support, intelligence and expertise, whilst also working with partners and stakeholders including RYA and British Canoeing to ensure the entire industry is future ready.”
Detailed ‘Futures’ reports are available to download from the British Marine website: www.britishmarine.co.uk/futures