Will autumn prove to be the spring selling season that passed the boating industry by? Judging from September sales in early-reporting states, the mild fall that extended the summer in many areas was encouraging some consumers to buy now and not wait until 2014.
Soundings Trade Only reported that sales for the month in the main powerboat segments rose 18.3%, or 729, to 4,705, from September 2012 and industrywide sales rose 19.9%, or 1,239, to 7,472, in 25 states that represent 59% of the national market, according to data compiled by Statistical Surveys Inc.
September marked the third month in a row of double-digit percentage growth in both categories as builders and dealers rebounded from the effects of a cold, wet spring. The data raised hopes that the industry could have a second successive year of overall sales gains as it continues its recovery from the Great Recession.
“It’s really nice to see,” Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe said. “Considering the slow spring we had, these are positive signs for the industry.”
Florida was the September leader with 1,449 sales, 280 more than the state reported in 2012. Texas ranked second at 1,171, followed by North Carolina (582), California (515) and Michigan (458). Rounding out the top 10 were South Carolina (380), Tennessee (336), Georgia (329), Mississippi (279) and New York (216).
Kloppe said all of the top 10-selling states and 21 of the 25 that have reported say they had more September sales this year than they did in 2012. “That’s big,” he said.
With the other 25 yet to report, the industry is likely to surpass its 50-state total from last September, when 9,412 boats were sold.
Sales traditionally slow as the year winds down, so Kloppe doubts that fall sales can overcome the effects of the weak spring even if the gains continue.
“It’s hard to make up for sales that were lost in April and May,” he said, but he said the positive momentum of the last few months “is a good sign coming down the homestretch of 2013.”
For the year through September in the early-reporting states, sales were up 4.7% in the main segments, or 5,009 boats, to 110,808, and they were up 1% industrywide, or 1,740, to 173,902.