U.S. boat registrations ended 2019 at around 280,000 units, according to the latest data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. That represents a 1 percent decline compared to 2018 but was the second-highest sales year in 12 years.
NMMA also said its December New Powerboat Registrations Report closed the fourth quarter of 2019 up 4 percent on a rolling three-month year-over-year (R3M YOY) basis.
“It was encouraging to see new-boat sales pick up in the second half of 2019 with demand across a range of boats reaching their highest or near highest year-over-year sales volumes in 10 to 12 years,” said Vicky Yu, director of business intelligence for NMMA, in a statement. “A pickup in the second half of 2019 and healthy demand in most powerboat categories offset softness in the smaller freshwater fishing boat segment.”
Segment growth leaders in 2019 were personal watercraft (up 5 percent), wake-sports boats (up 5 percent), cruisers (up 4 percent) and jetboats (up 1 percent) YOY. “Together, these categories account for 99,400 of the new boats sold in 2019, up by nearly 5,000 units from 2018,” Yu told Trade Only Today.
Sales of freshwater fishing boats were down 7 percent R12M YOY, reflecting moderation in sales of smaller freshwater fishing boats (smaller than 21 feet) following 10-year highs in 2018. More than 62,000 smaller (smaller than 21 feet) freshwater fishing boats were sold in 2019, or about 5,500 fewer than in 2018.
Yacht sales ended 2019 down 6 percent. “Yachts account for 1 percent of new-boat sales, with 1,900 sold in 2019, down by about 100 units from 2018,” Yu noted.
December’s sales seem to be continuing into the first quarter of 2020. “From what we’re hearing from manufacturers, that sales momentum is carrying through the start of winter boat show season,” Yu said.