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TALKING POINT on IBI
  • 2020-Apr-27

TALKING POINT on IBI

Virus presses the reset button!

Though I should write about the certification of boatbuilding materials and inboard engines, to be honest, I doesn’t seem all that important now, given the natural disaster upon us.
We all know the coronavirus well enough by now. The daily news is bombarding us with ever more unpleasant reports about the course of events almost every hour. 
Some states have almost imposed house arrest on all citizens and other countries impose only light or no curfew.

Though countries are pouring financial aid into various industries, the reality is that pretty much all business has been brought to a standstill - only what is deemed ‘essential’ is being kept alive.

As one might expect, the boatbuilding industry is not considered ‘essential’. The 2020 boating season will either start late at some point, or may even be cancelled altogether. Marinas, clubs, exhibitions, congresses and regattas have been cancelled or postponed to an indefinite date.
Who spends money on boats under such circumstances? 

The consequences for our industry are devastating. Companies that have too small reserves and cannot receive any state aid are likely to face ruin very quickly. Start-ups are probably already done. Those with a little “bacon on the ribs” are naturally more robust. The number of unemployed is rising rapidly.

The water sports industry is experiencing the perfect storm, and only the most resilient companies can survive it.

The storm will eventually turn into a light breeze with sunshine. The remaining members of the industry are allowed to redivide the consumer market among themselves and compete with different strategies. The ranks of hardware suppliers and service providers will have cleared for the shipyards. Customers will have to look for new boat manufacturers because one or the other is no longer on the market.

Perhaps a kind of buying frenzy will set in, as the virus may have fundamentally changed consumers’ attitude to life. Why save money when life can change so quickly? Wait for what? We can only hope.