A delicate social and economic context
In France, the month of December often sees 2 phenomena cohabit: the transhumance of boats to Paris and the awakening of social movements. The second one often sleeps with the first one. After the yellow jackets in 2018, the Paris Nautic will coincide in 2019 with massive strikes, particularly in the transport sector, against pension reform. The succession of these events is obviously not favourable to the Parisian yachting rendezvous, but it should not overshadow a more general trend in the boat show industry. Internet tools now allow the consumer to find the characteristics of the entire boat offer online, before targeting the brands to be contacted directly. The multiplication of private events, open days or trial days, launched by the brands also compete with trade fairs.
Fewer boats and more space
Beyond the general observation, the visit of the Nautic 2019 highlighted the concrete translation of this trend. Hall 1, which accommodates the sailboats, has seen the width of its aisles increase. Important brands, such as Lagoon catamarans, or the whole Grand-Large Yachting group, have chosen not to exhibit any boats. The space dedicated to the engine manufacturers was also reduced, while equipment manufacturers occupied an ever smaller share of Hall 2.1.
On the other hand, the situation among powerboat manufacturers seemed more positive. Hall 4 was completely filled and housed large units and usually absent Italian brands such as Riva or Pardo.
Animations and communication
The Fédération des Industries Nautiques, which organizes the show through its subsidiary Nautic Festival, must manage the evolution of the boat show to keep up with market trends while respecting balanced budgets. The boats exhibited in front of Hall 1 were limited to semi-rigid boats, far from the racing yachts presented a few years ago. The advertising banners had partially disappeared from the exhibition grounds. The open boat area has been abandoned, although the NIF still emphasizes the expectation of visitors to come on board. For this reason, it is not helped by the building sites, whose stands are often not very open to visitors.
The organization's efforts to initiate the ecological transition of the show must be commended. The positioning of the electric boat's space facing the main entrance gave it good visibility. An area dedicated to ecology highlighted virtuous enterprises.
2020, an opportunity for change
The work planned at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre will force the show to change its organisation. Will the new layout, in different halls, allow the show to reinvent itself to attract new exhibitors and visitors? The stakes are high, with some exhibitors already announcing that they do not want to come back next year.