The recreational boating industry generated $36.7 billion in retail spending last year, a 3.2 percent increase from 2012, with performance and outboard boats leading the recovery.
For the first time since before the Great Recession, the ratio of used- to new-boat sales decreased.
An estimated 166,800 new powerboats and sailboats were sold in 2013, an increase of 2.2 percent on the heels of the industry’s 10.7 percent increase the previous year, according to new data released by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
The NMMA is anticipating continued momentum with an additional 5 to 7 percent increase in retail sales of new boats in 2014.
“As the nation’s economic recovery matures and boating businesses prepare for summer, a peak selling season for recreational boats, accessories and services, we expect to see continued stable growth in sales,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “Following a year of inclement weather throughout the U.S. driving pent-up demand and Americans taking to the water in record numbers, the industry is primed for a busy selling season.”
Ski and wakeboard boats, as well as fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats, led the industry’s growth in 2013. Ski and wakeboard boats continued to grow in popularity with an 11 percent increase in the number of new boats sold at retail with 6,100 units.
Outboard boats — pontoons, fishing boats and small family cruisers — were the most popular type of new powerboat sold, comprising about 84 percent of that market. Sales were up 5 percent to 134,800 units.
Additionally, the personal watercraft category increased 2 percent, compared with 2012, as 39,400 new PWC were sold at retail.
Inboard cruisers leaped 10 percent, compared with the previous year, with 2,200 new boats sold.
2013 marked the first time since 2009 that the ratio of used-boat sales to new-boat sales decreased, indicating a shift in consumer demand for new boats.
Of 241.9 million adults in the United States, 36.6 percent, or 88.5 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during the year — the second-highest percentage on record.
Early data from the NMMA’s U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract — due out June 1 — also listed the top 10 boating states for 2013, which were largely up in new-boat sales. The largest gains were realized in Florida and California, where the boating industry had been particularly hard hit by the housing crisis.
The states were ranked according to dollar amount in sales of new powerboats, motors, trailers and accessories:
1. Florida: $1,931,420,221, up 14 percent from 2012
2. Texas: $1,170,110,215, down 2.2 percent from 2012
3. Michigan: $651,972,329, up 1 percent from 2012
4. Delaware: $567,203,555, up 17.7 percent from 2012
5. Minnesota: $554,465,991, up 0.2 percent from 2012
6. New York: $547,940,162, up 1.8 percent from 2012
7. Wisconsin: $516,344,257, down 0.5 percent from 2012
8. North Carolina: $505,466,304, up 2.9 percent from 2012
9. Louisiana: $475,670,309, down 5 percent from 2012
10 California: $428,956,673, up 16.9 percent from 2012