The economy might finally be making a push to bring about the boating industry.
With the start of a new year, the U.S. recreational boating industry is estimating 2015 will see an additional 5 percent increase in sales of new powerboats, continuing growth of about 5 percent in 2014, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
This is the industry’s third consecutive year of steady growth coming out of the recession.
Though the numbers are not in for 2014, a 5 percent boost in 2014 expenditures would eclipse 2007, one of the healthiest pre-recession years for the industry.
In 2014, the strongest sales came from new ski/wakeboard boats, pontoon boats, aluminum fishing boats, fiberglass runabouts and personal watercraft. Sales of larger cruising boats also started to see an uptick.
“An improved economy with GDP projected to grow 3 percent, an improving housing market, a stronger job market, increasing consumer confidence and a multi-year low on fuel prices have bolstered people’s financial outlook, which bodes well for new boat sales,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “Should these economic indicators remain positive, we anticipate sales growth of new boats to continue over the next three years.”
Another positive indicator for the industry is the record number of Americans getting on the water (89 million in 2013– the most recent figure available). What’s more, the industry has placed additional focus on introducing boats for a variety of budgets, offering attractive entry points for the boating lifestyle.
All types of new boats, from small fishing boats to large luxury yachts, will be unveiled beginning this month with the start of boat show season throughout North America. Boat shows are a leading sales venue for the industry and a barometer for sales and buyer trends in the coming year. Marine manufacturers unveil their latest boats, engines and marine accessories at boat shows, offering them for sale for the first time, giving buyers an opportunity to buy the boat onsite and have it ready to launch in time for the spring boating season. At this year’s shows, buyers can expect a surge of new boats and marine accessories along with a focus on smaller boats that start at lower price points.