Barring a “major external shock,” U.S. consumers will remain much more resilient than expected despite new sales data that showed April boat sales were roughly flat, compared with the same month in the prior year.
“We believe the core marine consumer remains well-positioned,” Wells Fargo senior analyst Tim Conder said in a report following new data released by Statistical Surveys earlier this week.
Though April retail boat sales growth slowed sequentially from March, that could be attributable to a warmer spring and earlier buying, Conder said.
Sales comparisons become more favorable in the second quarter, which is the peak of the selling cycle, he said.
“Combining the industry setup with a potentially warmer spring, [the] U.S. marine industry could see product stock outs, especially in [California] and northern states,” Conder said.
“U.S. fundamentals remain aligned for continued mid-single-digit unit growth despite evolving macro concerns given (1) a healthy consumer backdrop, (2) historically clean company/channel inventories, (3) manufacturer innovation, (4) new/used supply/pricing dynamics, and (5) improving mix,” Conder said. “We believe the core marine consumer remains well-positioned.”
Headwinds will continue from European manufacturers of boats 50 feet and larger that are aggressively marketing in the United States, he said. Canada and South America will also continue to be challenged because of a strong U.S. dollar and ongoing macro challenges in Brazil, respectively.
Wells Fargo tracks publicly traded companies that include Brunswick Corp., BRP, Malibu and MasterCraft.