Skip to main content

Fiberglass boat sales down 40.5 percent in October

Sales of fiberglass boats dropped 40.5 percent in October, according to early release data.

Last year at the same time there was slight growth, showing a healthy clearing of inventories closing the fall selling season. This year, the market was stagnant in October because of a record low in consumer confidence and unstable financing resources.

These statistics include 29 early reporting states that represent approximately 63 percent of the national market.

Fiberglass boats in the 14- to 30-foot segment were down 40.8 percent for the month, similar to the entire fiberglass market. On a year-to-date basis, the market was down 31.7 percent. This decline is expected to continue through year’s end and into the 2009 model year.

Aluminum boats sales also declined in October, dropping 25.2 percent. Aluminum sales were down 17.7 percent for 12 months through October. For nine months ending in September, the decline was 18.2 percent.

Lower volume states posted some slight gains, but not enough to offset the larger declines in the top 10 reporting states in the period.

PWCs also posted another month of decline, falling 39.2 percent. They were down 27.6 percent for the year-to-date period.

October preliminary results point to an extremely challenging marketplace. The fourth quarter is traditionally a lower volume period, but the slowdown in retail activity for October was extreme.

Dealers and manufacturers will need consumer confidence to turn around for at least a quarter before they will see the bottom of this market contraction. With gas prices falling, even the oil states are showing lower retail activity.

According to the experts in our industry, dealers and manufacturers must trim all costs to a minimum and focus their sales efforts on more robust markets, such as the health care and professional markets, while they wait for the real estate and financial markets to stabilize.

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 January 2009 issue.



FarSounder Announces Leadership Changes

Matthew Zimmerman will take over as CEO for Cheryl Zimmerman as she transitions to a new role as market development strategist.


U.S. Stocks on Verge of Bear Market

Investors, analysts and small-business owners are growing more pessimistic about economic conditions.


Resources Available for Safe Boating Week

The Safe Boating Campaign and marine associations have issued videos and other materials to promote this week’s observance.


MIASF Holds Annual Meeting

The South Florida trade organization announced new and reelected members, handed out awards, and arranged presentations by business leaders.


Gas Reaches Record $4.59 Per Gallon Average

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, the summer driving and boating seasons will contribute to continued demand for gasoline.


Power Lodge Acquires Miller Marine

The deal gives marine and powersports dealer Power Lodge four locations in Minnesota and one in Florida.


Boating Shares Suffer in Market Selloff

Major U.S. stock indices weakened yesterday, and recreational marine shares fared even worse on a percentage basis.