Water sports industry booming during pandemic
SUDBURY -- While many businesses have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers that sell water sports equipment say they have been experiencing a recent boom.
Popular outdoor sports store Ramakko’s said sales are significantly higher than usual this summer.
“We’ve seen big group of families getting into kayaking, it’s an activity they can do together by getting the kids involved,” said Brandice Ramakko-Burke, of Ramakko’s Source for Adventure. "People seem to be getting out more and using their kayaks, so we are seeing people upgrading."
Staff say they have and to restock the shelves a lot more frequently.
“We have had to change inventory a little bit in boats,” said Ramakko-Burke. "We’ve had to chase inventory in keeping our levels up in paddles and accessories, as well. We’ve been selling a lot of (personal flotation devices)."
Boating seems to be another popular pastime that people have started to enjoy during this pandemic. Marc Duhamel, president and co-CEO of Legend Boats in Sudbury, said the company has seen a large increase in sales.
“For a couple of months it was pretty scary," Duhamel said. "There was little to no sales, things were closed and when the government decided and local public health decided to open up boat launches around the May long weekend, things took off and we haven't stopped since.”
Duhamel said recent industry stats show 30 per cent of all boat buyers are new buyers.
“There are the same people who would have planned a trip somewhere abroad or been travelling, maybe spending money on team sports or travel with their kids,” said Duhamel.
He said the age of buyers is also coming down.
“Right now, 50 per cent of all the boat buyers are under the age of 50 years old which is great," Duhamel said. "It was an aging population of buyers.”
Officials with both companies said they don’t see sales slowing down anytime soon.