National boat sales on the rise

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:12 am

With the start of a new year, the U.S. recreational boating industry is estimating 2014 saw a 5 to 7 percent increase in new powerboat sales, and sales are expected to continue growing an additional 5 percent in 2015, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

This is the industry’s third consecutive year of steady growth coming out of the recession..

Total 2014 retail expenditures — which include retail spending on boats, engines, marine accessories and services — are expected to see increases in 2014 by as much as 5 percent, which would eclipse 2007, one of the healthiest pre-recession years for the industry.

In 2014, the strongest sales came from new ski/wakeboard boats, pontoon boats, aluminum fishing boats, fiberglass runabouts and personal watercraft. Sales of larger boats also started to see an uptick.

“An improved economy with growing GDP,  an improving housing market,  a stronger job market, increasing consumer confidence and a multi-year low on fuel prices has bolstered people’s financial  outlook which bodes well for new boat sales,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “We’re seeing a record number of Americans getting on the water (88.5 million in 2013) and the momentum from increased boating participation, coupled with a strong economy, has recreational boating poised for sustained growth for the next three years.”

The New Year marks the start of the boat show season, with most shows taking place throughout North America in January and February. Boat shows are a leading sales venue for the industry and a barometer for sales and buyer trends in the coming year. Marine manufacturers unveil their latest boats, engines and marine accessories at boat shows, offering them for sale for the first time, giving buyers an opportunity to buy the boat onsite and have it ready to launch in time for the spring boating season. At this year’s shows, buyers can expect a surge of new, innovative products and a focus on smaller boats that start at lower price points.

The Milwaukee Boat Show will take place Jan. 16 through Jan. 25 at the Wisconsin Expo Center at State Fair Park.

Dammrich said, “We’re seeing boat dealers and manufacturers increase their space at boat shows around the U.S., signaling their anticipation of a strong boat show buying season. We expect all boat segments to see growth at boat shows — from personal watercraft to small family runabouts to fishing boats and large cruising boats — as more people turn to boating in an improving economy.”

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