Dramatic shift in buying behaviour, says Fischer Panda UK

Fischer Panda UK stand at SIBS with generators outside

After what Chris Fower terms “the best SIBS I’ve witnessed in ten years”, the sales and marketing director for Fischer Panda UK says he’s seen a dramatic shift in buying behaviour at the show.

“We were in a position before the close of the second weekend where we’d already confirmed our normal quota,” he says. “It was pretty surprising to be honest.”

Fower puts the on-the-spot order commitment down to customers wanting to secure discounted prices and availability. And this, he believes, is a result of lead-time anxiety on new boats.

“The conversation was around not being able to secure a new boat,” Fower says. Established boat owners are “looking at spending money on upgrade costs on the boat that they have.”

The company had good stock levels coming into SIBS. “We’ve had issues this year but had an abundance of stock arrive two weeks before the show,” Fower says. He cites the 4-6kw generators as being a hot ticket item, as he was able to offer a quick turnaround on the units.

Fower says the discussions at the show – which positively diminished Fischer Panda UK‘s stock holding – indicated that the current 40-50 footer lead times are not workable for owners. “So if a 50 footer has X and Y specified, owners are bringing that upgraded spec into their existing boat.”

For Fischer Panda UK this looks like packages. He says SIBS customers were particularly keen on generators and then adding-in water makers and air conditioning systems . . . the equipment which new boats over 40ft+ are specified with.

“There’s a window of opportunity coming in the short to medium term,” he says. “It’s primarily focused on retro-fit but also lots of EU production builders are represented through brokerage in the UK. The builders are facing supply chain issues with their factories not being able to meet /deliver on the options being offered. Some builders are now saying they’ll focus on building bare boats and this gives an opportunity for us to fit those with our kit here in the UK.

“Retrofitting here in the UK is straightforward and not over complicated.”

Fower is keen to share this positivity about SIBS and the shift change in consumer buying, with the industry. “I’ve seen peaks, and seen dips,” he says. “But this was the best boat show ever as a business.”

In 2021, Fischer Panda UK debuted its next generation Parker Hannifin H2O ECO Series of reverse osmosis water desalination systems at the show. The company has exhibited at SIBS for 25 years.

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