A big boost in fall boat sales

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October saw U.S. boat registrations increase in several key categories, including pontoon — which was up more than 25 percent over October 2018 — ski and wake (up 4.5 percent) and fiberglass outboard boats (up 4.9 percent).

The fiberglass outboard registration number should rise when Florida numbers are included in the data. Florida has struggled to provide timely and complete information, so it has not been included in early reporting, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. sales director Ryan Kloppe.

“There’s some really decent numbers in there,” Kloppe told Trade Only Today regarding the preliminary data from 27 states, representing nearly 52 percent of the overall market. “The number of pontoons sold, and aluminum fishing boats had a great month after being down. The major segments had a great month.”

Aluminum fishing boats were up 3.1 percent over last October, but were still down 9.1 percent year-to-date. Pontoons were down 2.6 percent year-to-date, and fiberglass outboard boats were down 1.4 percent year-to-date.

Yacht sales were up 61.1 percent over October 2018, though were still off 5.7 percent for the year versus last year.

The only category in the main segments with positive year-to-date growth was ski and wake, up 3.7 percent. The only positive year-to-date category is PWC, up 3.8 percent.

Next month, SSI will release data for the third quarter, which should include Florida, said Kloppe.

Most of the top 10 states, including Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, and Georgia, had strong increases for the month. That list excluded California, though Kloppe suspected that wildfires have delayed that state’s data and speculated that it might not have been complete.

The overall industry was down 2.9 percent year-to-date, and up 2.8 percent versus October 2018.

“Hopefully we can finish out the year strong and help offset some of the flatter numbers,” said Kloppe.

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