Boat sales continued to drop in the third quarter of 2010, with the total fiberglass segment, including personal watercraft, declining 24.2 percent from the third quarter of 2009. Aluminum sales dropped 3.5 percent, while pontoon sales were down 0.7 percent on 7,250 units.
The 14-foot-and-up fiberglass segment decreased 29.1 percent on sales of 16,449 boats.
Market share leaders for the 14-foot-and-up segment in the third quarter of 2010 were Brunswick at 12.9 percent, Tracker Marine with 8.6 percent, Yamaha with 5.7 percent, Carolina Skiff at 4.9 percent and Ranger at 3.3 percent.
Fiberglass boats 30 feet and longer fell 40.3 percent on 941 units. The builders with positive unit growth for the period were Beneteau, Jeanneau, Fountain, Cobalt, Lagoon, Yellowfin, Sunseeker, Bavaria, and Robertson and Caine.
Sterndrive sales were down for the period, dipping 36.7 percent on unit sales of 5,390. The top five brands selling equal or better volume were Cobalt, Ebbtide, VIP, Nautic Star and Nordic Boats.
Sales of aluminum boats also fell but at a much slower rate in the quarter, with a dip of 3.5 percent on 18,928 units. Aluminum market share leaders were Tracker Marine with 23.6 percent of the market, Brunswick at 15.4 percent, Alumacraft at 8.3 percent, Yamaha with 5.5 percent and Bennington Marine at 5.2 percent.
Market share leaders in aluminum pontoon sales were Tracker with 16.6 percent, Bennington Marine at 13.7 percent, Brunswick at 9.4 percent, Nautic Global Group with 8.9 percent and Smoker Craft at 6.4 percent.
The PWC market saw a drop of 21.1 percent in the quarter on sales of 13,789 units. Market leaders were Bombardier Sea-Doo with 40.2 percent, Yamaha Wave Runner at 39.2 percent, Kawasaki Jet Ski at 15.9 percent and Honda with 4.7 percent.
The deckboat segment dropped significantly, falling 39.8 percent on sales of 1,110 units. Brands that held their share or outperformed the market in this segment were Larson, Ebbtide, Key West and Nordic Boats.
Ski/wakeboat sales were down 31.7 percent on 1,540 units. Brands that outpaced the market in this segment were Supra, Axis Wake Research and MB Sports.
Third-quarter boat sales for 2010 remained soft in fiberglass but began to firm up in the aluminum pontoon and fishing boat markets. Preliminary results in October show aluminum pontoons trending positive in the fourth quarter. Fiberglass trends are expected to improve by the first quarter of 2011, barring unforeseen economic setbacks.
Information is based on registration data from 46 states, or 95 percent of the U.S. market. Documented vessels are still behind because of data entry delays at the Coast Guard. Boats over 30 feet could be understated.
Aarn D. Rosen is national marine sales manager for Statistical Surveys of Grand Rapids, Mich.
This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue.