The trend toward higher outboard power is continuing, and dealers largely expect to see horsepower continue to increase.
Exactly 70 percent of dealers who responded to a joint survey with Baird Research, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Trade Only Today said they expected the horsepower to get significantly or moderately higher moving forward.
Thirty-eight percent of dealers who responded said they foresaw horsepower getting significantly higher, another 32 percent said they thought it would grow moderately, and 30 percent forecast horsepower to stay roughly flat.
“Everyone wants more power,” said one dealer. (Respondents remain anonymous, so they feel more at liberty to share authentic thoughts.) “They just don't spend the extra cheese to get it when times are tight. We will see more people upgrade their engines over the next few years as they have more money and feel good about spending it on FUN things.”
Some cited Yamaha’s supply shortage of 200-hp and higher motors as a problem, which Yamaha says it is working to address.
Dealer sentiment rose to an all-time high in January, increasing to 82 versus 76 last month, and 79 last year.
The three- to five-year outlook also increased to 81 versus 74 last month, and is consistent with last year.
New boat retail growth improved modesty in January as 48 percent of retailers reported new boat retail growth and 21 percent reported a decline.
Used boat retail trends in January also improved slightly, as 32 percent of retailers reported growth, versus just 19 percent that reported a decline.
Dealers cited weather as the biggest deterrent to new boat sales, and said trade-in activity made a slight negative impact.
The economy was cited as the single largest driver of new boat sales, followed by OEM promotions. Several dealers cited Evinrude’s promotions in the comments portion as sparking sales.