Boat sales make more gains in November

Lifted by Florida and Texas, the nation’s top two states for sales, the recreational boating industry achieved moderate growth in November that raised the year’s percentage sales gains to levels more in line with forecasts.
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Lifted by Florida and Texas, the nation’s top two states for sales, the recreational boating industry achieved moderate growth in November that raised the year’s percentage sales gains to levels more in line with forecasts.

Sales in the main powerboat segments rose 2 percent to 3,314 and industrywide sales climbed 4.3 percent to 4,519 from the same month a year earlier in 24 states that represent about 55 percent of the U.S. market, Statistical Surveys said.

Sales in Florida (1,583) and Texas (805) were more than half of the industrywide total for the month.

“The South is the winter driver of recreational boat sales,” Statistical Surveys sales director Ryan Kloppe said.

The November increases gave the industry year-to-date percentage gains of 5.3 percent in the main powerboat segments to 155,667 and 5.1 percent industrywide to 240,153 in the early-reporting states.

“What you’re seeing is moderate growth that is keeping the industry on pace for a 5 to 6 percent sales increase as the year winds down,” Kloppe said. “It’s a good closing month.”

Growth in the 5 to 6 percent range had been predicted for 2016. November is the second-slowest month for sales, and Kloppe said the 2016 month was a difficult comparison with November last year, when sales rose 15 percent in the main segments and 13 percent industrywide.

Gains in the early-reporting states were strongest among outboard fiberglass boats and aluminum fishing boats in the main segments, and in personal watercraft.

Sales of 11-to-50-foot fiberglass outboards rose 3.4 percent to 1,642 and fishing-boat sales climbed 5.4 percent to 863.

PWC sales climbed 27.3 percent to 550 and sales for the year in that segment total 56,546 in the early-reporting states through November.

After Florida and Texas, the third-best state for sales was North Carolina with 326; Alabama was fourth at 238; and California was fifth at 208.

Completing the top 10 were Michigan at 202; Arkansas at 198; Washington at 123; New York at 107; and Delaware at 106.

The Coast Guard was up to date in its reports on documented vessels, providing complete figures in the bigger-boat categories. Sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers fell by 14 to 35. Sales of 41- to 65-foot yachts rose by eight to 54 and sales of 66-foot and larger semicustom and custom yachts rose by two to 10.

Sailboat sales rose by 11 to 73.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue.

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