Last winter, reports in January of rising sales of pontoon boats and small to midsize outboard fiberglass boats were a pleasant surprise in the U.S. boatbuilding industry.
Soundings Trade Only reported that such results since have become the norm, and sales figures that Statistical Surveys Inc. released today (Feb. 22) show that the industry is continuing to build on the momentum it created last year.
January sales in the main powerboat segments, which include two aluminum groups and five categories of fiberglass boats, rose by 374, or 14.7%, to 2,910, in 29 early reporting states, from 2,536 in the same month a year earlier. Industrywide sales rose by 487, or 12.8%, to 4,287.
“2013 is off to a positive start, a good kickoff,” said Ryan Kloppe, national marine sales manager at Statistical Surveys. “It’s a nice, moderate increase.”
Kloppe is confident that the data accurately portray the state of the industry, even though January is traditionally the second-lowest sales month for boats. It typically produces just 2.6% to 3.5% of the industry’s annual retail activity.
The states in Statistical Surveys’ January report represent 64% of the national market.
Kloppe said dealers who spoke with him at the Miami International Boat Show last week “feel they’re in a good position. I saw ‘sold’ stickers on boats throughout the show, which was good to see.”
The aluminum pontoon category had the highest sales increase within the main powerboat segments on a percentage basis in January, just as it did a year earlier. Group sales rose by 75 boats, or 28.1%, to 342, from 267 a year earlier. Sales in the 11- to 40-foot outboard fiberglass category rose by 288 boats, or 26.1%, to 1,392.