New-powerboat sales last year increased about 12 percent compared with 2019, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. NMMA reported that more than 310,000 powerboats were sold in 2020, a quantity not seen since before 2008 and the Great Recession.
“2020 was an extraordinary year for new-powerboat sales, as more Americans took to the water to escape pandemic stress and enjoy the outdoors safely,” NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer said in a statement. “For the first time in more than a decade, we saw an increase in first-time boat buyers, who helped spur growth of versatile, smaller boats — less than 26 feet.”
Sales of personal watercraft were up an estimated 8 percent for the year, to 82,000 units, due in part to entry-level price points, NMMA said.
Sales of wake boats were estimated to be up 20 percent to 13,000 units in 2020.
Sales of freshwater fishing boats and pontoons are expected to be up 12 percent, to 143,000 units, and accounted for half of the new-powerboat market last year.
NMMA expects boat sales to stay at historic levels through 2021, partly because pandemic-related supply chain constraints curbed boat production in 2020. It also anticipates lingering social distancing measures will continue to drive the trend toward boating.
“We expect consumer interest in boating to remain strong through 2021 and beyond, with millions of Americans discovering the mental health benefits and joys of being outside and on the water,” Hugelmeyer said.