Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Boat sales momentum stalls in May

Recreational boat sales were mixed in May in 27 early-reporting states, a disappointing result for the industry.
Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

After appearing to gain momentum in April, recreational boat sales were mixed in May in 27 early-reporting states, a disappointing result for the industry as it tries to climb out of an early-spring slump and repeat the summer gains it achieved in 2013.

Statistical Surveys said sales in the main powerboat segments fell 2.6 percent, or 339 boats, to 12,658, from the previous May in states that account for 63 percent of the U.S. market. Industrywide sales rose 5.1 percent, or 1,054, to 21,674, largely on the strength of double-digit percentage increases in personal watercraft and ski-boat sales. PWC sales rose by more than 1,300.

Sales of 11- to 40-foot fiberglass outboard boats rose 6.2 percent, or 223, to 3,792, but sales declined in the other high-volume categories in the main segments.

Sales of aluminum pontoons and fishing boats, which have been industry leaders since the Great Recession ended, were lower. Pontoon sales fell 6.2 percent, or 288 boats, to 4,363, and fishing boat sales were off 1.5 percent, or 43, at 2,875.

Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe attributed the slow sales to the lingering effects of the harsh winter that much of the country endured.

“I think what you’re still seeing is the remnants of that winter,” Kloppe said. “We didn’t have a good boating day in Michigan until Memorial Day weekend.”

As states that had a particularly hard winter shake off its aftereffects, “you’ll see some of the [expected] uptick in sales,” he said.

Although pontoon sales have slowed this year, Kloppe believes it would be premature to say the segment is losing momentum. He said Minnesota and Wisconsin, two strong states for pontoon sales, were not among those reporting early in May. He expects sales to grow in those states and others during the warm-weather months.

Florida, as usual, was the sales leader among the early-reporting states. Sales there rose by 588 boats, to 2,857. In an encouraging development, Michigan emerged from the frigid winter to rank second with sales of 2,692 boats, although the number was virtually flat — up just 27 from May 2013.

Other states in the top five were Texas (2,524, up 265), New York (1,666, down 190) and North Carolina (1,312, up 176).

Rounding out the top 10 were Georgia (898, down 63), Tennessee (887, up 262), New Jersey (768, up 123), Arkansas (744, up 143) and Ohio (730, down 186).

More boats were sold in seven of the top 10 states this May than in the same month last year.

Sales of 14-to 30-foot sterndrive and inboard fiberglass boats have been slumping, and that category’s struggles continued. Sales for the month in the early-reporting states totaled 1,379 — 6.2 percent, or 288 boats fewer than a year earlier.

Sales of PWC, which rose 31.8 percent, or 1,311 units, to 5,439, buoyed the market, as did the ski-boat category, where sales rose 13 percent, or 84, to 732. Sales of jetboats were 3 percent lower, off 11 boats, at 354.

 This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue.

Related

Metstrade Wraps

International Marine Networking’s Ben Taylor said a “solid international audience” was on hand at Amsterdam’s RAI Center for this year’s event.

Lyman-Morse to Build Hydrofoil-Equipped Electric Vessel

The Maine shipyard was tapped by Navier to build its 27-foot performance boat, slated to splash at next year’s FLIBS.

Aquila Names Approved Boats as U.K. Reps

The power cat manufacturer has appointed Approved Boats its representative in the United Kingdom.

Training with ABYC

After attendance of 400 professionals at last week’s ABYC-CG online risk-management event, ABYC invites early bird registrations for its scheduled in-person marine-law seminar on Jan.11, 2022.

VIDEO: Women in the Industry — Impact and Empowerment

Metstrade TV hosted three remarkable industry leaders for a panel discussion.

Mastervolt and Whale Join ASG EMEA

Brunswick’s ASG EMEA now has 13 marine brands operating as a single organization.

Best of the Best

Sea Tow International presented its annual awards for outstanding service, boating advocacy and community support.

No Silent Liars

Why giving employees a voice will elevate your business.