Boat sales see slow growth in June


Recreational boat sales growth slowed in June, but single-digit gains in the main powerboat segments and industrywide were enough to keep both categories ahead by double digits for the first half of 2012.

Groupings that have carried the industry for months continued to do so. Sales of aluminum pontoon boats rose 15.7 percent in June, to 3,545, from the same month a year earlier, and sales of aluminum fishing boats gained 7.7 percent to 2,281, according to figures compiled by Aarn Rosen, national sales manager at Statistical Surveys Inc.

Sales in the main segments, which consist of the two aluminum boat groups and five groups of fiberglass boats that range from 11 to 99 feet, rose 6.1 percent in June from the same month in 2011, to 10,838 boats. Industrywide, sales rose 5.3 percent for the month, to 19,400 units.

Rosen, who has been attending dealer meetings, said the mood has been upbeat at each of his stops.

“Everyone is pretty happy about the year they’ve had,” he said. “Dealers are replenishing their stocks.”

“I don’t see [the reduced gains] as a negative. … It may have been a slowing of the pace of growth in the short term.”

The data for June were based on information from 25 early reporting states that comprise about 58 percent of the U.S. boat market. June sales represent 15.5 to 16.5 percent of the year’s retail activity. Reports of sales of documented vessels were complete only through May 22 because of data entry delays at the Coast Guard, Rosen said, which means sales totals for boats 30 feet and larger are significantly understated in the data.

For the year to date, main segment sales are up 15.5 percent to 64,377 boats and industrywide sales have risen 14 percent to 101,498.

Among the fiberglass categories, sales in the high-volume 11- to 40-foot segment rose 6.7 percent, to 3,221, in June, but the core 14- to 30-foot segment was a disappointment as sales dropped 10.5 percent to 1,613.

Sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers and 41- to 62-foot yachts fell during the month, but there were 27 sales reported in the 63- to 99-foot yacht category, four more than in June a year earlier.

Jet boat sales roared ahead by 53.4 percent to 626 and ski boat sales increased by 14.2 percent to 610, but sales of PWC were only 1.3 percent higher at 5,251 units.

Sailboat sales fell 8.4 percent to 239.

Click here for June boat sales.

Jack Atzinger


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