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Boat sales growth slows in second quarter

Boat sales growth slowed sharply in the second quarter as strong June numbers were diluted by weak results in April and May.
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Recreational boat sales growth slowed sharply in the second quarter as strong June numbers were diluted by weak results in April and May.

Sales rose 3.6 percent for the quarter in the main powerboat segments to 71,090 and by the same percentage industrywide to 110,440 from the year-earlier quarter in 48 states (all but Maine and Illinois) that represent about 97 percent of the U.S. boating market, Statistical Surveys reported today.

Statistical Surveys sales director Ryan Kloppe said the quarter’s results mirror earlier and separate monthly reports, which included only early-reporting states.

“The first two months [of the quarter] were slow and that was reflected across the board in the 48 states,” Kloppe said.

First-quarter sales were up 10.7 percent in the main segments and 10.4 percent industrywide from 2015, boosted by the industry’s strongest March gains since 2008 — a 21 percent increase in main-segments sales and a 20 percent climb industrywide.

Kloppe said the slower second-quarter pace could partly be attributable to “a lot of people jumping the gun and buying in March.”

“We’re still on track for growth of between 6 and 8 percent this year,” he said.

Kloppe noted second-quarter strength among aluminum pontoons, ski and wake boats and personal watercraft. The pontoon category was the best second-quarter performer in the main segments as sales rose 7.6 percent to 24,300.

Sales of ski and wake boats rose 7.9 percent to 3,912 and PWC sales climbed 7.1 percent to 27,131. Jetboat sales rose 4.6 percent to 1,995.

Apart from pontoons, among other high-volume categories in the main segments, sales of 11-50-foot outboard fiberglass boats rose 3.5 percent to 18,366 and sales of aluminum fishing boats edged up 0.1 percent to 18,372.

Sales of 14- to 30-foot sterndrive and inboard boats, a segment that has struggled in recent years, fell 3.3 percent to 5,189.

In the bigger-boat categories, sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers rose 7.6 percent, or 41 boats, to 589, sales of 41- to 65-foot yachts fell 1.8 percent, or six boats, to 335, and sales of semicustom and custom yachts of 66 feet or larger fell 28.8 percent, or 15 boats, to 37.

Sailboat sales climbed 8.1 percent, or 69 boats, to 919.

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