Trends: Boat Dealers See Lower Sales

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More than 80 percent of dealers responding to the monthly Pulse Report survey said lower new-boat sales in March resulted in them carrying too much inventory, given that many had ramped up for what was looking like a robust market after a record first quarter.

This story by Reagan Haynes originally appeared in Trade Only Today.

“As feared, our checks reveal a massive slowdown in retail activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote Baird Research in the Pulse Report, a monthly check-in with marine dealers to gauge the market.

Dealer sentiment reflects the pandemic, but it also shows hope for the future. Current conditions plummeted to 4 in March, versus 47 in February, but the three- to five-year outlook remained neutral at 50, versus 56 in February.

The survey asked dealers about the pandemic and how it is affecting business.

Most of the 120 respondents remained open in some capacity at the time of the survey, with 42 percent able to conduct most sales activities, 50 percent able to deliver boats, 68 percent able to take orders, and 47 percent able to receive products from OEMs.

Nearly a third said they could withstand a shutdown that lasted more than three months, and 44 percent said they could last between one and two months. Around a quarter of the dealers said they could last less than a month, making the CARES Act critical, the report said.

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