Three regions continued to report retail growth in December, according to early release numbers.
The East North, South Central and Middle Atlantic regions all showed positive growth for the month, posting increases of 4.9 percent, 3.3 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.
New England grew at a 7.3 percent clip, while the Pacific region continued to be the hardest-hit region in December with a 52.8 percent decline. For the fourth quarter, the Mountain Region suffered a 46.2 percent decline. The West North Central region dropped 20.2 percent in the 12-month rolling period.
The positive growth in the East and Middle Atlantic regions for the second consecutive month is welcome relief from the prior quarter's blanket declines in all regions. Last year set a new floor for unit volume in all categories, but signs of recovery were apparent as the fourth quarter came to a close. This year should show continued relief as we move into the spring when demand begins to exceed the pipeline's ability to supply.
Reading the bar chart from left to right helps you identify the overall industry trend as it applies to your region. Twelve months rolling backward from December gives the most conservative perspective. Year-to-date numbers present a cumulative view of the trends, while quarterly and monthly numbers provide insight into standard calendar reporting time frames. Regional results could fluctuate over time because some regions have fewer early reporting states than others.
This snapshot represents the entire fiberglass and aluminum markets, including personal watercraft. These statistics include 29 early reporting states that represent approximately 67 percent of the national market.
Aarn D. Rosen is national marine sales manager for Statistical Surveys, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm that tracks retail boat sales.
This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue.