It’s that time again – the fall, when we all sit down to plan the
The problem is this fractured crystal ball. The pictures may
be clear enough, but there are dozens of them!
Will you have more trouble finding good staff? Bet you will.
Can the Canadian economy keep going? All the reports right
now say yes. Will interest rates stay low? Looks like they will but
there is some talk of inflation in the US economy. By the time
you are reading this, the Fed was expected to cut rates to keep
the USA from going into recession.
Could things south of the border get worse? Yes. Especially if
the real estate market drops further and there are more US mortgage foreclosures. The American boat market is certainly soft
now. The US greenback is also way down compared to other
In all this uncertainty, boat builders and marine professionals
from around the world turned out in record numbers to attend
IBEX 2007 last October.
The verified attendance numbers indicate a slight increase,
4,570 attendees from 67 countries in 2007 compared to 4,509
in 2006, according to organizers. Including individuals and staff
from the 900 exhibiting companies, the total verified attendance
Boating Industry Canada was at IBEX and we noticed a far
greater number of people speaking languages other than
English. Offshore manufacturers of marine products seemed to
be having a good show as American builders filed past looking
for ways to cut part costs.
All sorts of exhibitors expressed to us that business was good.
A few admitted that new, foreign buyers were at the show buying as though the US market was a door-crasher special.
As just one example, Marine Concepts’ exhibition at the IBEX
Show in October resulted in a 97 percent increase in sales over
the 2006 show, the company reported in a press release.
Also, the NMMA announced that they had organized a sold-out USA Pavilion for the 2007 Marine Equipment Trade Show
(METS). The USA Pavilion at METS featured 84 companies.
Where the crystal ball for 2008 may once have shown a weak
US market and Canadian builders being cut out of any action
there as a result of the record high Canadian dollar, the other
side of the ball shows that there is clearly still a strong global
market for boats and marine equipment.
The METS Show has recently wrapped up for another year,
and show organizers have already sent out a release saying that,
“METS 2007 closed its doors on a high note. A total of 1,137
exhibitors from 39 countries and a visitor total of 19,764 compared to the total of 16,805 in 2006.”
So, here is the Insight we offer; don’t get too close to the fractured and baffling crystal ball. The big picture is of a generally
booming world economy with a huge, international generation
of wealthy adults, many of whom still want a boat or a yacht.
2008 could be a tough start – but toward a great future.
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