The spring began with much promise in the recreational boat industry — 20 percent sales gains in March — but apart from a few reliable growth engines, overall sales in May weren’t much stronger than they had been during a weak April.
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.
Boosted by the strongest March results since 2008, the recreational boating industry posted double-digit first-quarter sales gains, including two segments that sold nearly 10,000 boats.
Did anyone think we would see April boat sales that even approached the 20 percent gains of March?
Buoyed by successful winter shows and good early spring weather, the recreational boating industry had its best March in eight years as sales soared 21.3 percent in the main segments and 19.9 percent industrywide.
Sailboat sales declined 25.3 percent in 2015, returning to 2013 levels after seeing a spike in 2014, when new sales rose 33.9 percent.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This begins a two-part special report on the industry’s declining baby-boomer client base and the reluctance of the next generations to commit to boat ownership.
The richest 1 percent of people globally continued to buy superyachts and other luxury goods last year despite a decline in their overall wealth after turmoil in the financial markets.
After a disappointing start to the year, recreational boat sales rebounded in February with strong single-digit gains that suggest the big Miami boat shows and smaller regional events attracted a significant number of buyers.
Growth in U.S. recreational boat sales slowed during the fourth quarter, but builders and dealers sold 15,477 more boats in all of 2015 than they did the year before, marking the fourth straight year of gains for the recovering industry.
RV shipments in January were the largest in 10 years and marked the second-best start to a year since 1973.