First quarter new-boat sales report


New-boat sales continued to decline in the first quarter of 2009. The total fiberglass market for all lengths was down 38.8 percent on 19,171 units for the quarter, down from 31,303 units. Aluminum boat volume, however, decreased less than fiberglass.

In the fiberglass 14-foot-and-up segment, sales decreased by 41.8 percent in the first quarter on 13,394 units versus 23,025 for the same period last year. Sales fell 44.9 percent in the 30-foot-and-up segment year-to-date on 1,216 units. Unit volume was 2,207 in the first quarter of 2008. Big boats were the hardest-hit category in the period.

Aluminum sales fell by 28.4 percent in the quarter. Unit volume was down from 19,566 to 14,011 units. Similar to last year in the same period, total aluminum continued to outperform fiberglass.

Ski-boat sales dropped 39.7 percent on sales of 848 units, pontoon sales declined 39.8 percent on 2,754 units, and deckboat sales were down 44.1 percent on sales of 908 units, down from 1,624 units.

Sales in the PWC market also posted steep declines on 3,815 units, showing a 38.8 percent decrease in the quarter. Jetboat sales dropped 30.8 percent on 447 units, down from 646 units.

The first quarter of 2009 set another record low for the industry. The aluminum market was the only bright spot, staying under a 30 percent decline. Preliminary data for April indicated that the declines could be slowing as we move into the second quarter.

This report is based on registration data from 48 states, or 99 percent of the U.S. boat market. Alabama data was incomplete for February and March because of delays in data entry.

— Aarn D. Rosen

National Marine Sales Manager

Statistical Surveys Inc.


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