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Ryan1776

How many boats with upgraded ballast....

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Ryan1776

Kinda of an odd question, me and my buddy are talking about boats with upgraded ballast. More specifically the number of boats that have integrated ballast. Not throw over stuff, but "plug and play" or what have you. Powered by the boat controls and not by manually dealing with them. 

I was venturing to guess a vast majority of the boats would have upgraded ballast like this. But he feels that it's probably really small, more like 5% of them. 
Here's the thing about it, I'm looking thought the glass of these forums, and wakegarage where everyone has it. He's looking at it through true aftermarket sales and what the normal convention of buyers do with their money. 

He wrote me a killer-stake to the heart- email explaining his point of the discussion and his number of 5% or less is hard to contradict. 
I guess my thinking is that if wakemakers can be in business and started their business on the premise of selling upgraded ballast systems, then it would HAVE to be more than 5% of the market buying into it. But that's all it is is a guessing game. Granted these numbers are for NEW BOAT sales only, and there are a lot of old boats to be sold to, but eventually that will dry out. 

He had access to a SEMA report for aftermarket automotive stuff. The SEMA data is from 2015, it says that 17M cars were built.   Taking into account that 8700 boats built last year (2017) in the US.  That puts the car industry roughly 2000x bigger then the boat industry so we can use that for scale.

Here's an exert from ONE of his points. (NOTE- the 1000 a piece was a round up for easy numbers at 2 bags and two line kits from wakemakers)- Looking  at bags..   Let’s say the market is 8700 boats last year x 90% of them as you mentioned getting bags x 1000 apiece.   That would put them at $7.8M in sales.   x2000 to scale up to the automotive market = $15.6B in sales.  According to the SEMA report I got…to put that in perspective how unrealistic that assumption is… the entire aftermarket radio industry only had $560M in sales.   That would mean by scale, the ballast bag industry is 2800% bigger then the radio/speaker industry.   Obviously that isn’t remotely true.

So what do you guys think? Clearly by those numbers, I'm not even close in my guess. I felt that with all the new surf craze, more ballast is practically a must. But maybe a majority of these boat sales are just a status symbol and people truly don't ride these boats for what they were intended. Not looking for a told ya so type thing, just tying to get a handle on all this.

So, what is everyone's thought/opinion on this. 
I would love to call wakemakers and ask but I doubt they would just hand that out. 

Ryan 

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TimbrSS

Biggest thing with comparing to automotive industry is to think about how a lot of those vehicles are used... Point a to b transportation. Wake boating is a hobby, were not just driving these things to work.. and people like to spend money on their hobbies, especially to see big performance gains. Like additional ballast provides. You'd probably be better off comparing to sports cars ($100k and up), and adding aftermarket exhaust systems. Wake boat owners typically have more disposable income than people driving Toyota Corollas.

I'd guess at least 50% of wake boats under 10 years old have additional ballast, but thats really just a guess... It had to be well over 5 though.

 

 

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MLA

I say the number of tow boats with integrated ballast, either above factory, upgraded the factory or aftermarket all together, is WELL above 5%. Especially when for the bast 5 or so years, manufacturers have been offering plug-n-play plumbing as an option. This allows for the consumer to easily add those aftermarket ballast sacs. Others offer small sacs, which are easily replaced with larger sacs, which qualifies IMO. 

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wedge88

It depends on whether you're asking all boats or just a specific series like inboards/v-drives.  If all boats, you have to define ballast.  Technically every fishing boat has ballast with live well tanks that are controlled by the boat.  With the "all manufactured boats" I would say it's less than 5% as you take into account pontoons, jet boats, IO, fishing, off shore, yacht etc so wake boats are a very small percentage and of that percentage I'd say 40% have ballast.

You and your buddy, definitely, went "deep" with that conversation though so I have to applaud that.

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malibudog

I will take a stab at the question, although it is mostly just an educated guess.

The Wakeboard Boat market is a tiny, tiny market, relative to the vast majority of products sold.  The amount of money (percentage of dollars) spent by wakeboard boat owners on aftermarket products is a tiny, tiny fraction of the the tiny, tiny Wakeboard boat market.  I have great respect for Wakemakers, because they have created a viable business out of the smallest of markets (and because I am a repeat and happy customer).  However,  in my humble opinion, this isn't a market you should choose if you are looking for an easy route to getting rich - quantities are too low, manufacturing costs are too high for such small quantities, the durabiility of products needs to be extremely high because of the use environment, there is little room or incentive for R&D or product testing in the cost structure, and profit margins are consequently low even on the low volume of sales.  The fact that companies like Wakemakers and FAE have survived and/or prospered(?) is a testament to their owners determination as much as anything.

Having said that, I would bet that it is only a small percentage of the primary wakeboarders that feel the need for aftermarket ballast, none of the skiiers do, none of the cruisers do, and none of the tubers do.   I would say that maybe 65% of the people who surf would agree that surfing with only factory ballast is insufficient (wild guess)   That percentage is probably decreasing as manufacturers add more factory ballast.   Of the surfers who add to their ballast, I would bet more than half do not have it plumbed in (quick fill sacks or lead).  This forum has a huge percentage of the real enthusiasts, and is not at all representative of the market as a whole.  To me, that all suggests that the percentage of plumbed in aftermarket ballast systems in wakeboard boats is much closer to 5% than 50% .  Either way, the number of customers is extremely small.  If your question really reflects a desire to enter into this small market, pm me, and I will be glad to share whatever info I learned as a result of several years of experience.  

 

 

 

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67King

I come from the auto industry.  You simply can't compare the two.  Cars are appliances to 95% of owners, if not more, and 95% of teh remaining 5% have cars they treat as appliances.  Boats are hobbies.  No one "upgrades" their microwaves, but everyone with a hobby is in a constant state of upgrading.  I'd say all wakeboard boats have them, and there are some bow riders that have them, too, I would bet.  Yamaha has one they market taht way, as does Cobalt.  I doubt many of the others do.  I don't really know how you define boats, but if nothing else, look at the whole industry, and figure out how many boats are sold by the Big 3 plus the few others, and that  gives you as close an approximation as you will get.

 

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NewMalibu

when comparing the aftermarket radio market, keep in mind that most new cars cannot be 'upgraded' easily due to the deep integration that factory systems now have, without having some loss in functionality. and given the comments by others that cars are an 'appliance' there is not a lot of motivation or need for users to upgrade their head units. 

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Gavin17

You should collect data from current used boat for sale listings.

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RyanB

My boat has plug and play plus lead. 

I know one person with a newer Malibu that has plug n play. And one with a 08 Nautique that has nothing. 

You could do a poll here and get somewhat of an idea. Sure this is a enthusiast site that would be more prone to upgrades. But not everyone here is into wake, so if the ball chasers participate you would get a better idea. 

Anyway I think it is more than 5% of inboards. And much more if only v-drives. 

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Stevo

3 boats in the last 5 years , all with aftermarket PNP and lead

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ahopkinsVTX

It’s summer, shouldn’t you be out on your boat instead on coming up with crazy mathematical theories? This thread should be tabled until winter :lol: 

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Ryan1776

Hey guys! I appreciate all the responses. I purposely sat back and listened to all the responses just to get every ones knee jerk reactions. 

I guess I'll go through these..... 

On 7/13/2018 at 4:00 PM, TimbrSS said:

Biggest thing with comparing to automotive industry is to think about how a lot of those vehicles are used... Point a to b transportation. Wake boating is a hobby, were not just driving these things to work.. and people like to spend money on their hobbies, especially to see big performance gains. Like additional ballast provides. You'd probably be better off comparing to sports cars ($100k and up), and adding aftermarket exhaust systems. Wake boat owners typically have more disposable income than people driving Toyota Corollas.

I'd guess at least 50% of wake boats under 10 years old have additional ballast, but thats really just a guess... It had to be well over 5 though.

He looked up sports cars. Where you're right that that is probably more relative. 3 areas where people spend a significant amount of money on upgrades; clutches, tires/wheels, and cold air intake. Non of them have more market than 4%. 

On 7/13/2018 at 4:24 PM, wedge88 said:

It depends on whether you're asking all boats or just a specific series like inboards/v-drives.  If all boats, you have to define ballast.  Technically every fishing boat has ballast with live well tanks that are controlled by the boat.  With the "all manufactured boats" I would say it's less than 5% as you take into account pontoons, jet boats, IO, fishing, off shore, yacht etc so wake boats are a very small percentage and of that percentage I'd say 40% have ballast.

You and your buddy, definitely, went "deep" with that conversation though so I have to applaud that.

Yeah we are specific to boats that would want ballast for watersports. So the V drive crowed mainly. Basically, LSV, VLX, VTX in our world, and looking out at the 210,230,G series, X stars. 
LOL we tend to go down the rabbit holes with our discussions, no matter the topic. 
So to your thought 40% would be your number. 

On 7/13/2018 at 4:10 PM, MLA said:

I say the number of tow boats with integrated ballast, either above factory, upgraded the factory or aftermarket all together, is WELL above 5%. Especially when for the bast 5 or so years, manufacturers have been offering plug-n-play plumbing as an option. This allows for the consumer to easily add those aftermarket ballast sacs. Others offer small sacs, which are easily replaced with larger sacs, which qualifies IMO. 

I think that's a great point, since someone can just "check" the box and have it show up with the upgraded bags plumbed in would really increase the chances of having a system.

On 7/13/2018 at 6:53 PM, 67King said:

I come from the auto industry.  You simply can't compare the two.  Cars are appliances to 95% of owners, if not more, and 95% of teh remaining 5% have cars they treat as appliances.  Boats are hobbies.  No one "upgrades" their microwaves, but everyone with a hobby is in a constant state of upgrading.  I'd say all wakeboard boats have them, and there are some bow riders that have them, too, I would bet.  Yamaha has one they market taht way, as does Cobalt.  I doubt many of the others do.  I don't really know how you define boats, but if nothing else, look at the whole industry, and figure out how many boats are sold by the Big 3 plus the few others, and that  gives you as close an approximation as you will get.

Which is why he used the SEMA information. All aftermarket sales by category. And why he looked at total sales between automotive and how many wakeboats were built at 8700 and determined the multiplication factor of 2000. 
Looking through Malibu’s public SEC filings from last year in 2017.   They estimate that wakeboard boat sales for the country are around 8,700 per year.  Of which they have ~33%.   Meaning there were only about 2800 Axis and Malibu boats combined for the year.  They don’t give specifics, but it’s in the ballpark, because their total boat production was only 3,815 in 2017, and that includes the Cobalt line.   They also stated that this was the MOST boats they had sold since 2007.
We touched on this hobby point as well in our discussion, he said if he went to a Mopar forum and asked the Hell Cat owners who all had pulley upgrades, he'd probably get an overwhelming number of people, but how many Hell Cats are sold to people that are just fine and happy with the car as it's delivered that don't care about the extra power which then wouldn't be in the forums. 

On 7/13/2018 at 7:51 PM, NewMalibu said:

when comparing the aftermarket radio market, keep in mind that most new cars cannot be 'upgraded' easily due to the deep integration that factory systems now have, without having some loss in functionality. and given the comments by others that cars are an 'appliance' there is not a lot of motivation or need for users to upgrade their head units. 

I thought that was a great point, interestingly enough, the audio market has increased by 45% over the last 5 years. 

On 7/13/2018 at 11:07 PM, Gavin17 said:

You should collect data from current used boat for sale listings.

Did a search on boat trader. I didn’t have time to do them all, but I went through the first 32 2006 and newer boats.  Out of the 32… only 5 had additional ballast.  And out of those 5, only 3 specifically stated they were plug and play.  Meaning a few might have been throw over pump bags.  So that would be 9-15% in that random sampling.  
Coincidentally, I just bought my boat this year, 2010 23LSV-stock ballast, although not anymore. :biggrin:

On 7/14/2018 at 12:29 AM, RyanB said:

My boat has plug and play plus lead. 

I know one person with a newer Malibu that has plug n play. And one with a 08 Nautique that has nothing. 

You could do a poll here and get somewhat of an idea. Sure this is a enthusiast site that would be more prone to upgrades. But not everyone here is into wake, so if the ball chasers participate you would get a better idea. 

Anyway I think it is more than 5% of inboards. And much more if only v-drives. 

So 2/3'rs for you. Basically. And yeah, pretty much referring to V drives only, er wake specific.

On 7/14/2018 at 1:59 AM, Stevo said:

3 boats in the last 5 years , all with aftermarket PNP and lead

Thank you for skewing the numbers in my direction. :lol:

On 7/14/2018 at 7:43 AM, ahopkinsTXi said:

It’s summer, shouldn’t you be out on your boat instead on coming up with crazy mathematical theories? This thread should be tabled until winter :lol: 

:cheers: We certainly get into some in depth discussions. 

On 7/13/2018 at 5:49 PM, malibudog said:

I will take a stab at the question, although it is mostly just an educated guess.

The Wakeboard Boat market is a tiny, tiny market, relative to the vast majority of products sold.  The amount of money (percentage of dollars) spent by wakeboard boat owners on aftermarket products is a tiny, tiny fraction of the the tiny, tiny Wakeboard boat market.  I have great respect for Wakemakers, because they have created a viable business out of the smallest of markets (and because I am a repeat and happy customer).  However,  in my humble opinion, this isn't a market you should choose if you are looking for an easy route to getting rich - quantities are too low, manufacturing costs are too high for such small quantities, the durabiility of products needs to be extremely high because of the use environment, there is little room or incentive for R&D or product testing in the cost structure, and profit margins are consequently low even on the low volume of sales.  The fact that companies like Wakemakers and FAE have survived and/or prospered(?) is a testament to their owners determination as much as anything.

Having said that, I would bet that it is only a small percentage of the primary wakeboarders that feel the need for aftermarket ballast, none of the skiiers do, none of the cruisers do, and none of the tubers do.   I would say that maybe 65% of the people who surf would agree that surfing with only factory ballast is insufficient (wild guess)   That percentage is probably decreasing as manufacturers add more factory ballast.   Of the surfers who add to their ballast, I would bet more than half do not have it plumbed in (quick fill sacks or lead).  This forum has a huge percentage of the real enthusiasts, and is not at all representative of the market as a whole.  To me, that all suggests that the percentage of plumbed in aftermarket ballast systems in wakeboard boats is much closer to 5% than 50% .  Either way, the number of customers is extremely small.  If your question really reflects a desire to enter into this small market, pm me, and I will be glad to share whatever info I learned as a result of several years of experience.  

I'll kinda jump around your post. 
As far as Wakemakers and FAE (fantastic example BTW) if they can etch out a niche market and do well at it, I think that's a testament to the fact that there is a market for it. And clearly big enough for them to pursue it. And I would argue, no matter what product you want to bring to market and no matter the market it takes determination. Not that I'm saying you're wrong on your guess, I just think that those two companies would prove more to the higher number than the lower. I will say though, I have to believe FAE has a higher market as they can sell to all the DD group too. 

Wasn't looking to get into the market competing with wakemakers or any ballast company. 
Having said that, I would bet that it is only a small percentage of the primary wakeboarders that feel the need for aftermarket ballast, none of the skiers do, none of the cruisers do, and none of the tubers do.
I agree, that's why we pulled the numbers down to just Wakesetters and Axis series. If someone is only looking to ski, I would venture to guess they won't be looking at an LSV; VTX maybe, but if their looking at that boat, there's a chance they want to surf, or wakeboard, at surf it'll need more weight. 
This forum has a huge percentage of the real enthusiasts, and is not at all representative of the market as a whole.
Wholeheartedly agree, and could possibly be why my guesstimate was skewed, because I couldn't understand why any wake specific boat would have stock ballast. 
To me, that all suggests that the percentage of plumbed in aftermarket ballast systems in wakeboard boats is much closer to 5% than 50% .  Either way, the number of customers is extremely small. 
My contention to this is for wakemakers to get into the buisness and stay in business and now create their own specific bags and have their own cutters and welders, R&D, building, shipping, employees etc, I have a hard time believing the market is only than 5-8%. 
But the numbers don't lie and it would seem to point to it being that low. 

Edited by Ryan1776

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