November 2019 new-boat registrations in the main powerboat categories were down 0.1 percent compared to the same month the previous year and 1.9 percent overall year-over-year, according to preliminary data from 30 states, about 56 percent of the U.S. boat market.
Year-to-date registrations in the main powerboat categories were down 3.6 percent and were off 2.5 percent overall, according to Statistical Surveys, a Michigan firm that tracks new-boat registrations.
Florida was included in preliminary data for the first time in months, perhaps because agencies were able to catch up in the traditionally slow month, said SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe. That could have boosted fiberglass outboard registrations, which were up 3.8 percent over November 2018. (The segment is down 0.5 percent year-to-date.)
“The fiberglass outboard numbers came up for the third quarter in our final data when Florida was included; the category had a much better second half than first,” Kloppe told Trade Only Today.
Fiberglass outboard registrations in the third quarter were up 1.7 percent with the inclusion of Florida; preliminary data that did not include the state showed the category being down 5.1 percent in July, up 4.1 percent in August, and up 0.3 percent in September.
Ski and wake, up 3.8 percent year-to-date, was the only segment in the main powerboat category that seem poised to finish the year positive over the previous year.
Towboats also surpassed sterndrive sales in 2019, as their popularity grows. Year-to-date, 10,651 towboats have been registered versus 9,300 sterndrive bowriders. In 2018, 10,495 sterndrives were registered versus 10,258 towboats.
Large boats had a tough month, with yachts down more than 44 percent, and semicustom and custom yachts down 50 percent.
“Once you start locking in that third quarter, Q4 doesn’t move the needle much,” Kloppe said. “It’s been a decent second half. I think we’re seeing Q4 leveling out the year … but we’re going to be wrapping up final numbers, and I think the numbers you’re looking at now will be pretty close to the total for the year.”