NMMA reports new boat sales levels down through July


NMMA reports that year-to-date new powerboat sales were 187,000 units through July, down 18% from the same period in 2021. While overall new powerboat sales new motors were down 11% from January to July 2019 before the pandemic, several categories continue to exceed pre-pandemic year-to-date sales levels, including new pontoons, wake sport boats and yachts.

“During the first seven months of the year, new boat sales fell below our 2019 pace, demonstrating that the combination of economic uncertainty and the expected return of competition to attract attention consumers are starting to show their impact,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of NMMA. . “It’s not unique to boating, as most industries are under pressure as inflation, a volatile stock market and talk of a global recession have grown. NMMA will work to keep boating at the top of the consumer and business agenda through Discover Boating industry efforts, including the launch of boat shows in January. Now is the time to tightly manage pipelines, credit availability and consumer demand and look at customer engagement and marketing after the record interest of the past two years. And, while we proceed with caution, looking at the 20-year trend line, 2022 should be a healthy year for our industry.

Through July, new powerboat categories topping year-to-date sales over pre-pandemic levels included:

  • Sales of new pontoon units are down 13% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2021, while 3% are higher than the pre-pandemic period of January to July 2019.
  • Unit sales of new water sports boats are down 11% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2021, while 16% compared to the pre-pandemic period of January to July 2019.
  • New yacht unit sales since the beginning of the year were stable with the same period in 2021, while 16% were higher than the pre-pandemic period from January to July 2019.

Data tracked on a rolling 12-month basis in NMMA’s latest Motorboat New Listings Report through July 2022 includes:

  • Sales of new motorboats were down 16.7% (R12M YOY) from the previous 12 months.
  • All new categories of motorboats saw their sales fall to a base of R12 million until July.

The wholesale activity of NMMA members shows that some segments are still working against supply chain constraints to balance inventory. According to NMMA’s Monthly Shipment Report:

  • Wholesale new motorboat shipments through July 2022 were down 6% year-over-year.
  • Wholesale outboard motor shipments were up 6% year over year.
  • Notably, the wholesale ratio through July for the freshwater fishing boat, personal watercraft and water sports boat categories indicates better product availability compared to the start of the boating season.

“While ongoing supply chain turbulence and challenges are less than ideal, they have prevented us from overproducing as some other industry sectors have over the past two years. Marine dealer inventories remain quite lean, indicating that pipelines are still being filled, leaving the industry in a healthier position than past downturns in recent history.

NMMA members can access the New Motorboat Listings Report and the Monthly Expeditions Report on NMMA.org here or contact [email protected] for more information.

The US boating industry by the numbers:

  • Retail unit sales of new powerboats in 2021 reached approximately 300,000, the second time the industry has reached this number in nearly 15 years (2020 and 2021).
  • The U.S. marine industry’s annual spending on boats, marine products and services totaled $56.6 billion in 2021, up 9% from 2020.
  • Part of what is fueling boating industry sales is the rise in new and used boat buyers, attracting a wider network of Americans. Data shows that 420,000 first-time boat buyers entered the market in 2021 – tied with 2020, a record year. First-time buyers represent 34% of boat sales in 2021.
  • Boaters come from all ages, all walks of life and all parts of the country.
    • It is estimated that 100 million Americans go boating each year.
    • Sixty-one percent of boaters have an annual family income of $75,000 or less. Source – United States Coast Guard
    • Ninety-five percent of boats on the water in the United States are under 26 feet – boats that can be towed by vehicle to local waterways.
  • Ninety-five percent of boats sold in the United States are American-made.
  • The boating industry supports 691,149 American jobs (511,117 direct jobs and 180,032 indirect jobs) and 35,277 American businesses.
  • Boating and fishing are major contributors to the national outdoor recreation economy. Source – US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)
    • Traditional outdoor recreational activities – such as boating, fishing, hiking and RVing – are booming, increasing their contribution to the overall outdoor recreation economy by 22%.
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