Continuing to show surprising late-year strength, recreational boat sales achieved double-digit gains in December for the second month in a row.
By the Numbers
Monthly reports on sales of new, used and brokerage boats provide the industry with the information to understand its market and follow consumer trends and buying patterns.
2014 ended with a 6 percent gain in U.S. brokerage sales in December, but the year’s headlines were not positive. Sales for the year were down 5 percent, according to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in their proprietary database, SoldBoats.com.
What boat classes were most popular among visitors to Boat Trader last year? Center consoles, drawing nearly double the views of the No. 2 class — cruisers.
The numbers weren’t nearly as large as boatbuilders and dealers typically see at midsummer, but the industry had another strong month in November, posting double-digit sales gains.
In our annual review of Boat Trader’s inventory of boats listed for sale, this year we compared average asking prices within different length ranges for the period Nov. 1, 2013 to Oct. 31, 2014. There were two distinct trends, as reflected in the table above.
For the second month in a row, U.S. recreational boat sales showed single-digit gains in October that built on double-digit advances a year earlier as a late-blooming selling season extended deeper into the fall.
After several months of lower sales compared with 2013, brokerage members of YachtWorld narrowed the gap in October, reporting in SoldBoats.com a decline in volume of just 1 percent from the previous October, with 2,304 boats sold.
Just as the sun was setting on the summer of 2014, the industry had one of its best performances of the year in September, posting sales gains of nearly 10 percent in the main powerboat segments and across the industry.
During the last three years, visitors to BoatTrader.com have increasingly used smartphones and tablets to search and shop for boats.
Outboard fiberglass boats throttled up with a double-digit sales gain in August, but the rest of the recreational boat market struggled to keep up, leaving the market flat overall for the month.