In 2013, the US recreational boating industry was valued at $121.5B, its highest value since the NMMA began collecting data in 1990. Retail expenditures on boating accessories (including underwater boat lights) and services accounted for roughly 30% of the industry value.
As the boating industry continues its post-recession rebound, boat accessory sales continue to increase at a rate of 7-10% a year.
More boaters are researching product information than ever before. By doing a quick search in Google Trends for the terms led boat lights and underwater boat lights (both phrases get over 1,000 unique monthly searches in Google), you’ll see that more people are researching these terms than ever before.
But what specifically are boaters looking for?
To answer this question we turned to our social media channels, and the online survey tool Qualaroo. We asked our consumers question such as:
Q: What product attributes are most important to you when purchasing a set of underwater boat lights?
We wanted to understand what information people were looking for, and which features carried the greatest amount of weighting in their final purchase decision. This would allow us to better understand our customers, and provide them with content they needed.
Based on the questions we posted across the internet these are the top five product features boaters considered in the purchase of underwater boat lights –
2. Value (light output/ price)
3. Efficiency (light output/ power draw)
4. Ease of installation
Interestingly, more people were concerned with durability over price or brightness of the light. This told us that people wanted to make sure the lights would hold up against turbulent and corrosive marine environments. More on this later.
In addition to the data we were able to collect through polling website visitors and our social media fans, we also searched through notable forums such as The Hull Truth to see what other features boaters were discussing in the threads.
After we had an idea what was most important to boaters, we then wanted to know what other products they were looking at in the research phase. Although we felt like we had a pretty good feel for the competitive landscape, we wanted to see if we could uncover any new competitors that were out there. Using the same methodology used to uncover consumer feature preferences, we were able to identify seven competitors that were regularly cited during the research phase –
The majority of these brands were expected, however there were a couple that we did not think would be on the list.
After reviewing each of our competitor’s products in terms of the key attributes mentioned by consumers, we were able to uncover some key findings –
Value – The LIFEFORM 9 outperformed every competitor in the value category as it was dollar-for-dollar the brightest LED boat light. This was the second most important product feature mentioned by consumers.
Durability – LIFEFORM LED builds the most durable products on the market. The anodized aluminum housing provides corrosion and impact resistance. Each light has a tempered glass face that makes it 100% waterproof. All lights have been depth-tested to 200ft. These features make the lights suitable for virtually all underwater lighting applications in any marine environment.
Efficiency – Both the LIFEFORM 6 and LIFEFORM 9 sit towards the top of this category. With minimal power draw per light output, boaters enjoy the luxury of staying “brighter for longer” while out on the water. The top two competitors in this category come with a price tag roughly six times that of the LIFEFORM 6.
Ease of Installation – Many competitors claimed that underwater boat light installation was quick and easy. The LIFEFORM LED underwater series can be self-installed in under two hours, which is competitive with any installation setup. Here is a YouTube video that demonstrates how to install underwater boat lights in under two hours, courtesy of the guys over at Day 1 Wake.
Aesthetics – There is a reason why boaters across North America are installing lights on their boats, they look cool and make their boats stand out on the water. Not to mention they are far superior to incandescent lighting technology, and are now being used to attract bait fish at night.
After reviewing the data, its clear that boaters consider a number of key product features when deciding which LED lights they are going to install on their boat. We looked at the Google Analytics data and noticed that almost 30% of our orders this year have an average sales cycle (time from first hitting the site to purchasing online) of 12 – 30 days. This further validates the fact that boaters are spending considerable time weighing key product features across a number of competitors. This comes as no surprise, as a set of boat lights are a significant purchase for many people.
That said, after looking closely at the competition, it’s clear that LIFEFORM LED’s Ultra Series is an industry leader in terms of value, efficiency and durability. The LIFEFORM 9 is dollar-for-dollar the brightest light on the market, and by far our most popular light. The LIFEFORM 6 also ranks highly in terms of efficiency, and is growing in popularity due to its red light and color blending options.
If you have a question about any of the LIFEFORM underwater products, shoot us an email or call us at 1 949-910-8037 Are you considering buying a set of underwater led lights for your boat? What features will influence your purchase decision? What competitors are you currently researching? If we missed any features, or competitors, let us know in the comments below.
Feel free to share this article with any of your fellow boating enthusiasts!