Skip to main content

“Selling lickety-split” is music to my ears

The headline in a recent edition of USA Today read “Homes are selling lickety-split.” I turned to my wife and said: “Now there’s just one more reason I predict 2013 will be a good year for the boating industry.”

Now I realize my record of predictions isn’t always spot on, although I fully agree with President Obama that Indiana will win the NCAA tournament (in the interest of full disclosure, I am an Indiana alum). Anyway, I find it easier to predict boating industry success this year than picking the NCAA basketball champ. Here’s why:

We have known since this recession started that a recovery in the housing market would be a precursor to our growth. Now comes news from Realtor.com that homes sold faster in February than in any February since 2007. That’s before the crash.

We know part of the reason for speedier sales is stemming from reduced inventory on the market. Regardless, it also signals growing consumer confidence looking forward. Add in the fact that consumers have significantly reduced debt during the downturn and it clearly indicates that they’re poised to increase spending.

The positive housing market picture is further boosted by the fact that the nation’s home builders started more new houses in February — and pulled more new construction permits — at the fastest pace in 4-1/2 years, according to the Commerce Department. Builders broke ground for new homes in February at a seasonally adjusted rate of 917,000, up from 910,000 in January. These increases all point to a recovery in housing that has traction.

But if you want to bring the picture closer to home, my random review of reports from our major-market boat show indicate that nine out of every 10 shows held this winter have recorded increases in attendance and retail sales reported by exhibitors. From Boston to L.A., from Cleveland to Houston, from Miami to Providence, they’ve all been up. Yes, most have been up by a small amount (1 percent to 5 percent), but we must recognize that in recent years nine out of 10 were down. The turnaround in shows is more evidence of our return to growth.

For example, one market I watch closely is Detroit. And the turnaround experienced by the Michigan Boating Industries Association under executive director Nicki Polan is most telling. Two things happened at the Detroit Boat Show in mid-February: It was expanded for the first time in several years by an additional exhibit hall and the show saw its attendance rise.

Remember, Detroit is in hard times, with the state even threatening to take over Detroit’s finances. Then, in March, the MBIA moved on to produce its Spring Boating Expo in nearby Novi. Perhaps working off the momentum set at the nine-day Detroit show, the four-day expo increased in size by 14,000 square feet of exhibits and saw attendance jump 18 percent to 12,952.

If you want even more evidence, check out Statistical Surveys’ report that 2012 sales industry wide totaled 202,403 boats, an increase of 9.6 percent from 184,627 in 2011. It’s the first time in three years boat sales have topped 200,000, an important milestone in our recovery.

Like the housing market, positive signals from Detroit, and virtually everywhere else, should have us pumped and ready to cash in on the spring selling season just ahead.

Related

VOLVO-EARNINGS

Volvo Penta Reports Q4, FY22 Results

Net sales of $470 million for the quarter were a 33% increase compared to the prior year period.

Pulse-Report

DEALERS: Are You Improving the Service Experience?

Our monthly Pulse Report survey asks this and other questions about your dealership. Take the survey here.

NMRA-SCHOLARSHIP

NMRA Sets Scholarship Deadline

Students pursuing education in the marine trades can apply for the National Marine Representatives Association awards until April 1.

MARINE-PRODUCTS

Marine Products Reports Record Q4

The builder of Chaparral and Robalo boats reported net sales were up 42% for the quarter and 28% for fiscal year 2022.

1_SHURHOLD

Shurhold Appoints COO

Forrest Ferrari has years of management, business development, IT and quality-assurance experience.

MOBILE-CATCH-CENTER

RBFF, Pure Fishing Partner for a First Catch Center

Pure Fishing will equip a mobile trailer with tackle and gear to bring fishing experiences to areas of South Carolina where participation is low.

Norm

An Oft-Overlooked Sales Opportunity

A recent report from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation showed that women comprise 37% of all anglers. If you haven’t tapped this segment, you’re missing out.

1. 2023 new boat retail outlook

Too Many High-Priced Boats

To wrap up 2022, marine retailers reported lower demand, expressed more negative sentiment and voiced concerns about rising inventory. Boat prices and the economy remained top of mind for dealers in December.

Soundings Nov 2022

New-Boat Registrations Continue to Slide

As the gaudy sales figures from the pandemic continue to return to more realistic numbers, the main segments of the recreational boating industry saw new-model registrations of 4,421 in November, a 30.3% drop from 6,340 during the same time in 2021. .