So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Saturday, October 28, 2017
Same problem for Harleys and sailboats
So what's the connection between Harley Davidson Motorcycles and sailing? They are both suffering from some of the same societal pressures. Neither Harley Davidson nor the sailing community quite know what to do with Millennials.
Sales of the big motorcycles are down. Not enough young people are getting into riding. One obvious reason is that those big American iron monsters cost a fair penny. Young people are financially strapped, as they are stuck between the high cost of education and low paying jobs.
Another issue is that they didn't grow up taking engines apart and swinging hammers. Their generation grew up with screens. Instead of bending tin they are more likely to sling computer code. Different skill sets.
Of course, boating can be expensive too. Then there's the issue of the skills necessary to keep a boat going. It's been said that sailing is boat repair in exotic locations. Fewer of this generation are likely to know where to even begin.
A lot of Harley and boat owners have a similar obsession. They have a real pride of ownership. Some of these folks rather clean and polish their rides than actually take them out. Millennials are less likely to want to own things. They are all about experiences. Rather than buy a physical object, they are more likely to travel to Thailand to tour the temples.
I'm not sure what Harley is going to do about their motorcycle sales problems. Their advertising doesn't seem to be pulling in the young crowd. Their current customers are getting pretty long in the tooth. The changes the company would have to make are probably too radical for the old guard. If they could reduce the price, maybe develop some slick new electric bikes, and find a way to sell a motorcycle lifestyle young people connect with; then they'd have a chance. Leather jackets and fossil fuel behemoths aren't cutting it.
A segment of the sailing community is starting to make progress reaching Millennials. To reduce cost they are promoting club memberships with shared boats. Groups are offering basic maintenance courses for people who've never turned a wrench before. There are some nice beginner sailboats hitting the market, so that helps. Also there's a huge market of good used boast, but they have the problem of people needing the skills to restore them.
One of the things starting to drive interest in sailing are all the great videos on YouTube When Millennials see people of their generation out exploring the world and having the time of their lives, it generates interest. It's the best advertising the boating community could have, and they didn't even have to pay for it.
The world is changing. Businesses can ignore the change and go under, or they can adapt.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.