Boat sales climb in April

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We are republishing the April boat sales statistics because of inaccuracies in the data supplied to Soundings Trade Only.

These numbers replace the original submission due to a correction in the data, said Aarn Rosen, national sales manager at Statistical Surveys Inc.

It was only April, but marine consumers had summer fun on their minds as sales of personal watercraft, jet boats and ski boats roared upward by margins ranging from 22 to 44 percent.

Sizable gains in all three categories helped propel sales industrywide to 14,475 boats, a gain of 17.5 percent from the same month last year, according to figures compiled by Aarn Rosen, national sales manager at Statistical Surveys Inc.

Sales of PWC rose 21.8 percent to 2,501, sales of ski boats rose 28.2 percent to 409, and sales of jet boats surged 44.3 percent to 329.

“April sales in these categories reflect consumers that are feeling more confident and willing to spend, regardless of price point,” Rosen said.

Another category that showed dramatic growth was aluminum pontoon boats ranging from 16 to 99 feet. Pontoon sales climbed 37.7 percent in April to 2,329 boats.

Aluminum boats have helped to lead the industry’s recovery for more than a year. Sales of aluminum fishing boats from 16 to 99 feet rose 12.8 percent to 2,589, and gains in the aluminum categories were a major factor as sales in the industry’s main powerboat segments rose 15.9 percent to 9,215 boats.

“Pontoons are leading the recovery because of product innovation, a plethora of price points and possibly consumer preference for a multipurpose boating experience,” Rosen said.

Sales in the high-volume 11- to 40-foot outboard fiberglass segment were up 14.5 percent at 3,023 boats, but sales in the core 14- to 30-foot fiberglass category fell 3.2 percent to 1,110 boats.

“April results confirm a continuing recovery in the marine market for all segments,” Rosen said. “Leading economic indicators show that retail activity may slow down moving into the third quarter, but this season should continue to be a vast improvement over the same period from last year.”

The sales data for April were based on information from 28 early reporting states that represent about 59 percent of the U.S. boat market. April sales represent 12 to 13 percent of the year’s retail activity.

Reports of sales of documented vessels were complete only through April 10 because of data entry delays at the Coast Guard, Rosen said, which means sales totals for boats 30 feet and larger were significantly understated in the data.

Sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers were listed at 81, down by 16 boats, or 16.5 percent, from April 2011, and sales of 41- to 62-foot yachts were flat at 65 boats. There were 18 reported sales of 63- to 99-foot semicustom and custom yachts, two more than in April of 2011.

“Cruisers appear to be lagging the market, but as the Coast Guard continues to catch up, even the cruisers and big boats appear to be gaining ground,” Rosen said.

Sailboat sales rose 17.5 percent to 168 boats.

Click here for April sales figures.

— Jack Atzinger

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