New-boat registrations in the main powerboat categories were up 1.4 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, though year-to-date registrations in those categories were down 3.8 percent, according to data released from Statistical Surveys.
The quarterly data includes July, August and September registrations from all 50 states.
“As far as segmentation goes, in the later half of the year pontoons did really well,” SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe told Trade Only Today. “It’s up 5.2 percent for the quarter, and it was up like 20 percent for October.”
Ski and wake had a standout quarter, growing 11.7 percent compared to third quarter 2018, and growing 4.4 percent year-to-date. Custom and semicustom yachts larger than 65 feet were the only other category to show a year-to-date gain, at 2.9 percent.
Fiberglass outboard boat registrations grew 1.7 percent for the quarter compared to the same time period last year — down 1.3 percent year-to-date. Aluminum fishing boats seemed to start to reverse the downward trajectory they had been experiencing earlier in the year; the category was down 1.3 percent over the third quarter of 2018, and was still down 8.2 percent year-to-date.
“Aluminum fish and pontoons, those aluminum markets tend to be North, and it was a late selling season this year,” Kloppe said. “I feel like you’re seeing some of the numbers pushed to later than usual in the year.”
Cruisers and yacht registrations were a drag in the main powerboat categories; cruisers were down 10 percent compared to third quarter 2018, and yachts 41 to 65 feet were down 31 percent, from almost 300 units in third quarter 2018 to just over 200 units this year.
“Some of the bigger boats this year have been down a little bit, minus the 66-plus-foot size range,” Kloppe said. (That size range had 43 registrations and was flat with third quarter 2018.) “That middle market seems to be a little bit down this year compared to last year.”
Overall, the industry was up 1.8 percent versus the third quarter last year, and down 2.4 percent year-to-date. Personal watercraft were again the standout in those categories, growing 6.6 percent versus third quarter 2018, and 5.4 percent year-to-date.