With all the buzz around aluminum fishing and pontoon boats, one segment that has been overlooked until recently is the saltwater fiberglass fishing boat segment. Though it’s a relatively small part of the overall market, this segment has taken off since late 2011, when Florida’s housing market first began to recover from the 2008 bust.
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.
The long winter undoubtedly impacted boat sales, but data reveal the strongest first quarter since at least 2010, with sales that slightly outpaced those in 2012, a year characterized by a mild winter and early spring.
If you were selling outboard fiberglass boats — or vessels ranging from personal watercraft to small fishing boats and jon boats — the spring selling season probably started to look brighter in March.
Key cold-weather boating states saw boat sales drop across the board as cold weather persisted into early spring, with Michigan, New York and Ohio all posting sharp declines in late winter.
Astronomically speaking, the spring season began last week, but in the recreational boating industry the spring selling season starts in February. This year, it did not start well.
The runabout category has struggled to bounce back post-recession, but the ski and high-performance market has performed well for the last couple of years. That’s according to Jack Ellis of Florida-based Info-Link, who says the segment has exceeded growth in 2003 in several markets. “Ski boats used to be about a 12,000-unit market at one…more
Closing a year marked by modest but steady growth, the recreational boating industry topped the 200,000 mark in sales for the second year in a row in 2013 and saw a gain of nearly 6 percent in its main powerboat segments.
Large fiberglass boat sales were up 20 percent in 2013 from the previous year, but not across the board.
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.