NMMA Predicts 5% Boat Sales Gain in 2015 January 15, 2015

Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association is estimating 2014 had a 5 percent to 7 percent increase in sales of new powerboats with projected growth of an additional 5 percent in 2015. This would mark the industry’s third consecutive year of growth coming out of the great recession. The 2014 estimate for total retail expenditures – including spending on boats, engines, marine accessories and services – would also eclipse those recorded in 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).

Here are some additional U.S. recreational boating facts and figures, according to NMMA:

  • Sales of powerboats (outboard, sterndrive, inboard and jet boats) were up 2.4 percent in 2013, reaching a total of 161,130 units. Unit sales are expected to have increased 5 percent to7 percent in 2014 once numbers are calculated.
  • In addition to new boats, Americans bought an estimated 955,300 pre-owned boats (power, personal watercraft, and sail) 2013.
  • Made in America: Ninety-five percent of powerboats sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S.
  • Recreational boating in the U.S. creates more than 338,500 marine industry jobs, supporting more than 34,800 businesses.
  • Americans are taking to the water in record numbers: Of the 242 million adults in the U.S. in 2013, 89 million participated in recreational boating at least once during the year.
  • There were an estimated 12 million registered boats (power, sail, and some canoes/kayaks and other non-powered boats) in the U.S. in 2013 (the most recent data available).
  • Ninety-five percent of the boats on the water in the U.S. are 26 feet or less.
  • Seventy-two percent of American boat owners have a household income less than $100,000.
MIA NMMA Infographic


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