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.
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.
Trends in key categories continued to be mostly positive during the summer as boat sales made steady gains during another year of recovery for the industry.
Recreational boat sales were uneven this year as a hard winter slowly transitioned to spring, but second-quarter figures show that, by the end of June, the industry was on pace to exceed 2013 sales by more than 10,000 boats.
Last July, recreational boat sales roared off to double-digit gains as the industry recouped sales lost to a wet and chilly spring.
A marine industry analyst for Wells Fargo disagrees with growing concerns that U.S. retail boat sales are sluggish.
Sales of luxury yachts have reached their highest level since the global financial crisis in 2008 amid growing demand from wealthy Americans and Russians.
Boosted by solid improvement in three key categories, the recreational boat industry got back on plane in June with single-digit sales growth in the main segments and a double-digit increase industrywide.
Marine lenders say sales in June and early July were higher than expected, tracking upward between 7 and 9 percent and indicating pent-up demand in regions most affected by weather in the early part of 2014.
The marine industry in Michigan — the third-largest market in the country — is showing clear signs of revival.
Lingering cold slowed early-spring boat demand in parts of the country, but builders and analysts expect those lost sales to be recouped as data point to the strongest first quarter in four years.