New boat sales relatively flat in June

Publish date:
Fiberglass outboard boat sales were down for the second month in a row, during the two most important sales months of the year.

Fiberglass outboard boat sales were down for the second month in a row, during the two most important sales months of the year.

New boat sales in June grew marginally, with a 1.1 percent rise in the main powerboat categories and just 0.2 percent growth overall, according to preliminary data from Statistical Surveys Inc., a Michigan firm that tracks registrations.

For the 27 early-reporting states, which represent 51.05 percent of the industry, results were underwhelming in what is historically the largest sales month of the year — and that was following marginal growth in June 2017.

“It wasn’t that awesome last year either,” SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe told Trade Only Today. “June 2017 was up 1.5 percent, so it’s a fairly easy comp. There’s nothing to write home about here.”

The caveat in this month’s report is that data from Florida — typically one of the 28 early-reporting states — are not included for the first time in recent memory.

“We’re not sure why, but that data was incomplete,” Kloppe said.

SSI removed Florida sales from 2017 so the comparisons were apples-to-apples, Kloppe said.

The early numbers without the Sunshine State lagged the industry growth expectation for the year, projected between 3 and 6 percent.

If June sales in Florida rebound — though Kloppe pointed out the state has been down 4 percent for the year through May — the overall percentage of growth in June could rise somewhat, but still would likely fall on the low side of industry expectations.

Aluminum fishing boats saw the strongest growth, up 5.7 percent over 2017 with 3,358 units sold, followed by pontoons, which had 3.7 percent growth to 5,970 units sold.

The ski and wake boat segment, another segment that has grown steadily, was up 2.1 percent over last year with 1,226 sold.

However, fiberglass outboard boats saw their second month of decline, dropping 1.9 percent from June 2017 to 3,864 units. The segment also fell 1.5 percent in May, historically the second largest month for new boat sales.

Large boat sales took a substantial hit in June, also for the second month in a row; cruisers were off 40.7 percent, from 118 sold last June versus 70 this year, and yachts were down 57.1 percent, from 56 last June to 24 this year.

“There had been some growth there,” said Kloppe, referring to gains those segments saw last year.

In the additional powerboat segments, houseboats were a bright spot, growing from 2 sold last year to 10 this year, and PWC sales ticked up 2.5 percent.

Sailboat sales were down 39.9 percent, with 98 sold this June versus 163 last year.

Read more about the industry data in the September issue of Soundings Trade Only.