Wholesale Boat Shipments Rise Dramatically

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Shipments of aluminum outboard boats, which account for 40 percent of new boat sales, increased more than expected.

Shipments of aluminum outboard boats, which account for 40 percent of new boat sales, increased more than expected.

Wholesale boat shipments increased 60 percent compared to May as boatbuilders ratcheted production following a lockdown that thwarted manufacturing.

Builders were scrambling to meet unprecedented demand from consumers who have been isolated during the pandemic and are seeking safe, family activities to do during the summer.

“We’re encouraged to see that wholesale shipments in June increased across all segments,” said NMMA business intelligence director Vicky Yu in a statement. “Manufacturers are gradually returning to capacity and working to meet the heightened demand for new boats.”

Wholesale shipments of aluminum outboard boats increased significantly and earlier than expected — a noteworthy benchmark because the category is back to where it was on average in 2019.

“Looking ahead, with many manufacturers still trying to get back up to speed and challenges including slow delivery on parts from suppliers impacted by the pandemic, we expect total wholesale shipments will be down in 2020, with some segments bucking the average including PWCs and outboard engines, which have seen increases the last three consecutive months,” said Yu.

The ITR Economics Boat Building Production Forecast — the latest is available here — indicates production will remain constrained in the near term before gradually picking back up mid-next year.


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