Boat sales down, but better than last year

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Sales of all fiberglass boats were down 9.5 percent in March.

Fiberglass boats in the 14- to 30-foot segment were down 13.8 percent for the month. Aluminum boats sales fell by 10.3 percent. PWC sales increased 10.5 percent.

March retail sales continued to fall, but at a much slower rate than last year. Aluminum boat sales and PWC declined at similar rates for the period, but slower than the fiberglass 14- to 30-foot segment. These slowing declines are a good sign that the market is settling to a new equilibrium. April activity will give us a clearer picture as we move into the second quarter and the primary boat buying season.

A year ago, the industry was looking at declines of 38.5 percent (fiberglass), 36.5 percent (PWC) and 17.2 percent (aluminum).

These preliminary statistics include 31 early reporting states that represent approximately 69 percent of the national market. Only states that currently provide weekly or monthly information are included in this summary. Percentage change is presented on a calendar-year basis to reflect actual results. The Coast Guard Documented Vessels file was complete for the period.

— Aarn D. Rosen

National Marine Sales Manager, Statistical Surveys Inc.

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Comments

9 comments on “Boat sales down, but better than last year

  1. compact45

    The fact that boat sales are still declining and have not hit bottom or flattened out is still disturbing.

  2. LR

    Has to be the first time I have ever heard still double digit declines seen as hope. Unfortunately those double digit declines are on top of 2 years of double digit declines. Until boating is again seen as (or really is) a middle class affordable hobby they are going to continue for quite a while.

  3. Pete Peterson

    World Cat sales are up 10% YOY for the State of Florida.  New models and low field inventory has helped make this possible.  With 2 months left in the model year, we are looking for flat unit sales, but dollars up considerably as the new larger models are the hot ticket.  This niche is holding up as our current owners are moving up and trading.  We have not been affected by the credit crunch as badly as some brands.
    Looking forward to a very successful 2011 model year.
    Pete Peterson, Regional Sales Manager, World Cat, Glacier Bay and Livingston Boats.

  4. Christopher

    Wow!  What fantastic news! 
    I really enjoy the positive spin on atrocious news.
    So does that mean that we get to look forward to single digit declines next year?

  5. john ennis

    Those figures in no way represent a life ring floating toward a turn around. With millions unemployed,forclosures hiting new highs ,and slight consumer confidence being held up by monitary give aways what we see now will be the norm for quite some time. Wave bye -bye to many of the shore bound Joe six pack boaters who are either financialy troubled or already sunk. Here on the Gulf Coast of Florida      quite a few of their boats and PWC’s are parked in  front of Pawn Shops  and in Hudson there is a used boat lot thats been in business for at least two years on high taxable property but even used boats can be a hard sell.

  6. Blake E. Davis "pilothouseking"

    I have to disagree. LAST year( 2009) was a fantastic year for me (selling yachts in $150k -$700k range) because there were so many great deals available. Banks were cutting lose their bad loans at less than .50 cents on the dollar.  Buyers were out scooping these deals up. Individual sellers were matching those deals on THEIR boats (if they could) to sccop up deals on their NEXT boat.  Sorta like having had the opportunity to purchased FORD for $1.00 and Apple for $90.00.  GREAT buying opportunities which equaled sales.
    This year (2010) buyers still WANT those kinds of deals but they no longer exist. The buyers and sellers are SO far apart now that it’s extremely difficult to put a realistic deal together.  This year there’s few buyers from oversea’s as past 5 years. Canadians are buying solely due to finally having parity on the US dollar. That’s the only bright spot I see.  Like I ask my sellers who are holding out for hope against hope with silly prices: Please tell me one (1) industry or economy anywhere in the world that’s doing SO well that the trickle down effect is SO good that people are going to go out and buy used Yachts. So far nobody has answered this question.  There’s NO easy money  ANYWHERE out there and no loans from the banks so if you HAVE cash you expect it to buy at prices YOU want to pay with the theory that “my money is worth more than yours”.  Which equals a static market.

  7. Pete Peterson

    If everyone in this business continues the doom and gloom that is all you will get.  I have had to be the cheerleader for my dealer network over the past year as they all thought the end was here.  I have supported dealers who couldn’t order boats and now they are seeing life.  The only way back is one step at a time.  If you are leading a sales organization with these attitudes, you should close the door and save some money.  People need motivation both buyers and sellers.
    Pete

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