U.S. boat sales hit 13-year high in 2020, boating boom will continue through 2021


CHICAGO–(COMMERCIAL THREAD) – With increased interest in outdoor recreation activities and ways to distance oneself, consumer demand for new boats has increased across the country in 2020. The National Association of Boat Manufacturers (NMMA), which represents North American manufacturers of pleasure craft, engines and marine accessories, reports that retail unit sales of new powerboats in the United States increased last year by about 12 % from 2019. Over 310,000 new powerboats were sold in 2020, levels the boating industry hasn’t seen since before the Great Recession of 2008.

“2020 has been an extraordinary year for new powerboat sales as more Americans have taken to the water to escape pandemic stress and enjoy the outdoors safely,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of NMMA. “For the first time in over a decade, we have seen an increase in the number of first-time boat buyers, which has helped spur the growth of versatile and smaller boats – less than 26 feet – which are often towed to local waterways and offer a variety of boating options. experiences, from fishing to water sports.

The following new categories of powerboats generated record unit sales in 2020:

  • Sales of watercraft, including Jet Ski, Sea Doo and WaveRunner, are expected to grow 8% to 11,000 units in 2020; With affordable entry-level prices, personal watercraft are often seen as a gateway to boat ownership.

  • Sales of wake boats– popular for wakesurfing, skiing and wakeboarding and attractive to new and active boaters – is expected to increase by 20% to 13,000 units in 2020.

  • Sales of freshwater fishing boats and pontoon boats, often sought after for their versatility and entry-level prices and accounting for 50% of new motorboats sold in 2020, are expected to increase by 12% to 143,000 units.

Boat sales are expected to remain at historic levels in 2021 as manufacturers continue to fill a backlog of orders from 2020. Supply chain constraints related to the pandemic have hampered production and shipments of boats to engine for several months in 2020, which are expected to calm down and restore marine manufacturing to normal levels this year. Additionally, social distancing measures are expected to continue through the final months of 2021, sparking additional interest in safe outdoor recreation activities, including boating.

“We expect consumer interest in boating to remain strong through 2021 and beyond, with millions of Americans discovering the mental health benefits and joys of being at it. outdoors and on the water, ”Hugelmeyer noted.

Boating in the United States by the numbers (Source: NMMA)

Additional statistics on the size, makeup and demographics of the industry include:

  • Retail unit sales of new powerboats in the United States increased 12% in 2020 from 2019, exceeding expectations of a 2% increase before the pandemic.

  • Annual sales of boats, marine products and services in the United States are estimated at $ 47 billion in 2020, up 9% from 2019.

  • With the retail price of a new set of aluminum boats (includes a trailer, motor, and other accessories) averaging $ 36,000 and a new watercraft averaging $ 13,000, it is possible for boating yachting attracts more participants as families look for responsible ways to distance themselves and go on the water near home.

  • Boaters come from all walks of life, all financial backgrounds 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 water in the United States are less than 26 feet, boats that can be towed by a vehicle to local waterways.

  • Ninety-five percent of the boats sold in the United States are American-made.

  • The yachting industry supports 691,149 US jobs (511,117 direct jobs and 180,032 indirect jobs) and 35,277 US businesses.

  • Outdoor recreation accounts for 2.1% of U.S. GDP, generating $ 788 billion in real gross output and supporting 5.2 million jobs. Source – US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

  • Boating and fishing are the largest outdoor activities in the United States, totaling $ 23.6 billion in value added in current dollars. Source – BEA

  • Outdoor recreation accounts for 3.3% of employment in the United States. In comparison, hospitals account for 3.3%, education services 2.4%, real estate 1.5%, and agriculture 0.9% of employment in the United States. Source – BEA

About NMMA: The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the premier trade organization for the North American boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80% of the boats, engines, trailers, marine accessories and equipment used by millions of boaters in North America. The association serves its members and their sales and service networks by improving the recreational boating business environment, including providing national and international sales and marketing opportunities, reducing unnecessary government regulations, decreasing cost of doing business and helping to increase participation in boating. As the largest producer of boat and sporting shows in the United States, the NMMA connects the boating industry with boat consumers throughout the year. Learn more about www.nmma.org and engage with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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