Large fiberglass boat sales were up 20 percent in 2013 from the previous year, but not across the board.
New Boat Sales
Statistical Surveys, a Michigan company that tracks new-boat registrations, provides monthly, quarterly and annual reports on boat sales from every state in the country.
History would suggest that a slowdown in pontoon sales trends is imminent, but the most recent data from Info-Link suggests that it won’t be happening anytime soon.
New-boat sales in December tracked largely with expectations, rising from about 120,000 units sold in 2012 to 140,000 units in 2013 on a 12-month rolling basis, a trend one industry analyst attributes in part to the rebounding housing market in Florida.
Like the stars on a professional sports team, two stalwart categories of aluminum boats and the largest segment of fiberglass boats delivered solidly higher sales in December that enabled the recreational boat industry to finish 2013 with a month of double-digit gains.
Industry leaders peer into their crystal ball and most see slow but steady growth
Where the weather was warm, boat sales remained bright, and even though it was October enough Americans were still buying that the industry reached double-digit percentage gains for the fourth month in a row.
The seemingly unsinkable aluminum pontoon market contributed what it could in November, but it wasn’t able to keep the recreational boat industry from experiencing a modest decline in sales, its first since the spring quarter.
New bellwether data from Info-Link suggest that if boat sales continue to be strong in warmer states for the duration of the year, 2013 could close about 6 percent ahead of 2012.
For the recreational boat industry, 2013 has been a tale of two seasons — the wet spring, when sales ran disappointingly behind the encouraging pace of a year earlier — and the bright summer, when the sun came out and builders and dealers shot past their 2012 marks.
Recreational vehicle sales and shipments are picking up as credit criteria continue to loosen, something that could bode well for boating because the RV industry is often viewed as an indicator of what’s to come in marine trends.