PWC, aluminum boats lead weak April market

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Sales declines in the personal watercraft segment were buoyed by a large increase in Georgia volume, according to early registration numbers in April.

Personal watercraft fell 30.9 percent in the month on 2,553 units, compared with 3,695 in 2008. Georgia volume more than doubled, however. New Hampshire, South Dakota, Idaho and Alaska also showed small unit gains.

Total fiberglass boat sales including PWC fell 35.2 percent on 9,285 units.

Fiberglass boats in the 14- to 30-foot range declined by 39.8 percent on sales of 5,485 units. New Hampshire, North Dakota and Alaska were the only states posting growth.

Aluminum boat sales fell 28.8 percent in April on total sales for the month of 5,890 units. Declines were not as low as during March, but still better than the other categories. New Hampshire and South Dakota showed growth in the month, and North Dakota was even for the period.

These statistics include 30 early reporting states that represent approximately 64 percent of the national market. Only states that currently provide weekly or monthly information are included in this Statistical Surveys Inc. summary.

PWC and the aluminum segment outperformed fiberglass by a small margin in April, but retail activity remains lethargic moving into the second quarter start of the summer selling season.

Sales incentives appear to have had a positive affect on regional markets, as exemplified by the PWC in Georgia, but nationally, the sales volume is abnormally low for the period.

This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue.