NMMA: US Boating Industry Forecasts Sales Momentum into Summer

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) in the US has announced that the recreational boating industry saw healthy growth in 2013, generating $36.7 billion in retail expenditures.  

"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,' noted NMMA President Thom Dammrich. "Following a year of inclement weather throughout the US, driving pent-up demand and Americans taking to the water in record numbers, the industry is primed for a busy selling season.'
According to the association, the retail expenditures total includes new and pre-owned boats and engines, trailers, accessories and services, and represented a 3.2 percent increase from 2012. NMMA estimated 166,800 new powerboats and sailboats were sold at retail in the US in 2013, an increase of 2.2 percent. This comes on the heels of the industry's 2012 rebound when new powerboat and sailboat retail sales increased 10.7 percent – the industry's first sign of recovery.

The NMMA is anticipating continued momentum with an additional 5 to 7 percent increase in retail sales of new boats south of the border in 2014.
The NMMA released these findings as part of its US Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, an annual collection of data and analysis on the state of the US recreational boating industry being released June 1.
Versatile boats leading recovery
Ski and wakeboard boats, as well as fibreglass and aluminum outboard boats, led the industry's growth in the US in 2013. Ski and wakeboard boats continue to grow in popularity, with an 11 percent increase in the number of new boats sold at retail in 2013 to 6,100 units; outboard boats (pontoons, fishing boats and small family cruisers) were the most popular type of new powerboat sold in 2013, comprising approximately 84 percent of the powerboat market and up 5 percent to 134,800 units.
Additionally, the personal watercraft (PWC) category increased by 2 percent compared to 2012 with 39,400 new craft sold at retail; and inboard cruisers leapt in retail sales 10 percent compared to the previous year with 2,200 new units sold in 2013.
NMMA also says 2013 was the first time since pre-recession (2009) that the ratio of pre-owned boat to new boat sales decreased, indicating a shift in consumer demand for new boats.
"In 2013, we saw more manufacturers producing innovative boats that offer an entry into the boating lifestyle at a variety of price points. A trend in boat manufacturing is the versatile boat – one that can pull tubers or wake boarders, be used for fishing outings, relaxing with the family or entertaining,' noted Dammrich. "We're seeing manufacturers shift their manufacturing processes, becoming leaner and more efficient, to be able to offer these innovative boats at a lower cost, in turn introducing more people to boating. Across the board, the boating industry recognizes the demand of the 88.5 million Americans who go boating and want to own a boat of their own and pass their water gene on to future generations.'
US recreational boating by the numbers
• Americans are taking to the water in record numbers: Of the 241.9 million adults in the US in 2013, 36.6 percent, or 88.5 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during 2013 – the second highest percentage on record.

• Fishing remains the most popular activity current participants engaged in while boating during 2013. Nearly 6 of 10 (57.8 percent) fished while boating while 19.3 percent canoed, followed by tubing (17.8 percent) and water-skiing (14.6 percent).

• 95 percent of the boats sold in the US are made in the U.S.

• 95 percent of boats on the water are 26 feet or less – boats that can be trailered by a vehicle to local waterways.

• 71 percent of boat owners have a household income less than US $100,000.

• Leading the nation in sales of new powerboat, motor, trailer and accessories, the top ten boating states in 2013 are:

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.

The NMMA's 2013 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, which can be downloaded and purchased within the Statistics section's Research Library on NMMA.org beginning June 1, 2014. For excerpts and additional data from the Abstract, please contact Sarah Ryser at sryser@nmma.org, (312) 946-6285.