NMMA: Powerboat Sales Surged in 2015

Heading into winter boat show season, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports that new powerboat sales in the US are on a multi-year rise. The association says pre-recession sales levels could be achieved in several boat segments as soon as 2016.

NMMA estimates new powerboat unit sales will be up as much as eight percent in 2015 and anticipates the industry will continue its growth spurt with an increase in new powerboat sales of six to eight percent in 2016.

"A steadily improving economy and flurry of product innovation have boosted new powerboat sales, which is encouraging to see as we head into the winter boat show season, one of the busiest selling periods of the year,' said Thom Dammrich, NMMA President. "We anticipate six to eight percent growth in 2016 which would take total new powerboat sales back to pre-recession levels of 250,000 units.'

The powerboat category is comprised of outboard boats, wake sport boats, inboard cruisers, sterndrive boats and jet boats, as well as personal watercraft, which includes such brands as Sea-Doo, WaveRunner and Jet Ski.

Most powerboat categories experienced year-over-year growth through the second quarter of 2015, including: jet boats, up 18.1 percent; wake sport boats, up 12.1 percent; deck boats, up 11.3 percent; personal watercraft, up 8.2 percent; pontoon boats, up 6.6 percent; and, bass boats, up 5.3 percent.

Other fibreglass outboard boats (including center console boats, sportfishing boats, and flats boats) were up 11.1 percent, and other aluminum outboard boats (including all-purpose fishing boats and jon boats) were up 5.8 percent.

Sales of larger boats, particularly those equipped for offshore fishing, are on the rise following a sharp decline during the recession. Sales of new powerboats 40 feet and above were up 9.4 percent through June.

"The saltwater category is hot and has seen double-digit growth for three years,' notes Dammrich, "likely given growing popularity of the sport coupled with the trend to make what used to be exclusively fishing boats into more versatile family day boats that can also be used for hardcore fishing. The innovations we're seeing in this category are bringing out buyers who want the best of both worlds – an eventful day of fishing and a relaxing day cruising with friends and family.'