NMMA: Boat sales could rise another 6 percent in 2018

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Sales of cruisers between 22 and 32 feet, such as this 30-foot Back Cove, are expected to rise 9 to 10 percent in 2018. 

Sales of cruisers between 22 and 32 feet, such as this 30-foot Back Cove, are expected to rise 9 to 10 percent in 2018. 

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said 2017 sales of new powerboats are expected to rise 6 percent from the previous year, to an estimated 260,000.

The NMMA also said in its Currents newsletter that the outlook for 2018 is for another 5 to 6 percent increase as consumer confidence continues to rise and builders introduce products and experiences to attract younger boaters.

The NMMA said consumer spending on boats, marine products and services is expected to have risen 3 percent last year, to $37 billion.

“The close of 2017 marked our sixth consecutive year of growth in new-boat sales and recreational boating expenditures, and we expect that trend to continue through 2018, and possibly beyond,” Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA, said in a statement.

“On the horizon, if economic indicators remain favorable to the recreational boating market with strong consumer confidence, a healthy housing market, rising disposable income and consumer spending, and historically low interest rates, the outlook is good for boat sales.”

The NMMA said these are 2018 trends to watch:

Versatile family fun boats: As manufacturers continue to build more accessible and versatile watercraft to attract new and younger boaters, sales are expected to be up for ski and wake boats (7 percent), pontoons (7 to 8 percent) and personal watercraft (5 to 6 percent) in 2017.

Fishing boats: Fishing boat sales are a major driver of the industry’s sustained momentum. Estimates for 2017 show saltwater fishing boat sales rising 4 percent and freshwater fishing boat sales rising 2 percent.

Cruisers: Sales of boats between 22 and 32 feet are on the rise, with estimated gains of 9 to 10 percent in 2017. With consumer confidence and consumer spending at strong levels, sales of these midsize powerboats are expected to continue the upward trend in the year ahead.

More experiences for new boaters: Boat clubs, rentals and fractional-use companies continue to grow in popularity as new boaters explore ways to get on the water. Boating experiences provide a gateway to ownership, and companies such as Boatsetter, Freedom Boat Club, SailTime and Carefree Boat Club help beginners find ways to go boating.

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