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Dealer survey shows steady sales growth in March

Marine dealers reported strong new-boat sales growth in March, albeit at a lower rate than in February.
Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Marine dealers reported strong new-boat sales growth in March, albeit at a lower rate than in February.

A Baird survey conducted in conjunction with the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas showed that 66 percent of retailer respondents reported new-boat sales growth in the important month of March, which accounts for more than 50 percent of first-quarter retail sales. March accounts for about 10 percent of annual sales.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The percentage declined from February, when 80 percent of the retailers that responded reported new-boat sales growth, according to the March MRAA/Baird Marine Retailer Pulse Report.

On the used-boat side, the percentage of retailers that reported increases in sales edged up to 59 percent, compared with 58 percent in February.

 Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

“Our checks suggest that U.S. demand for powerboats remains very healthy as the season picks up — though comments suggest boat show results have been mixed among different dealers,” Baird said in the report.

Marine dealer sentiment remained at an all-time high in March, according to a new survey, but the three- to five-year outlook edged down for the second month in a row.

The MRAA/Baird Marine Retailer Sentiment Index remained at 81, its level in February, but the three- to five-year outlook declined to 77 in March, down from 79 in February and 82 in January. It still remained well above the level of 68 in March 2016.

Dealer respondent comments varied drastically, with some saying sales were robust and boat shows were productive and others lamenting struggling sterndrive sales and calling boat shows “very poor.”

The Pulse Reports are designed to provide industry professionals with a regular, timely look into retail trends at the dealership level. They were launched by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Baird Research in December 2013 as the first report of its kind compiled specifically for marine retailers.

Soundings Trade Only joined the partnership with Baird and the MRAA in February and will continue to participate in the distribution of the survey and the reporting of its results in future months.

Although the Pulse Reports analyze an array of industry data points, such as new-boat demand, inventory levels, access to credit and other indicators, the sentiment index, a sort of confidence index for retailers, was one of the chief reasons the reports were created.

In addition to raw numbers, Baird provides an analyst’s report to accompany each survey. This expert analysis of the most recent data available adds valuable context to detailed analytics and allows the information to be applied with confidence at dealerships.

Read more about the March report in the May edition of Soundings Trade Only.

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