Two stalwart categories of aluminum boats and the largest segment of fiberglass boats delivered solidly higher sales in December that enabled the recreational boat industry to finish 2013 with a month of double-digit gains.
Soundings Trade Only reported that sales of pontoon boats rose by 28.5%, or 74, to 334, and sales of fishing boats climbed by 18.9%, or 132, to 829, in 27 early reporting states that represent about 61% of the national market, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. For the year, pontoon sales were up by 12.2%, or 4,005, at 36,854, in those states and sales of fishing boats were 3.9% higher, or 1,388, at 36,873.
Sales of 11- to 40-foot outboard fiberglass boats climbed by 18%, or 204, to 1,205 for the month and they were up 9.4%, or 3,228 boats, at 37,449, for the year.
Overall, sales in the main powerboat segments rose 16.3%, or 366 boats, to 2,610 in December and industrywide sales climbed 15.7%, or 520 boats, to 3,822.
Even though December is typically the slowest sales month of the year, “it’s still nice to see those double-digit gains year-over-year,” Statistical Surveys National Marine Sales Manager Ryan Kloppe said.
Full-year sales in the early reporting states totaled 198,476 for the year, a gain of 2.1% from 2012, and Kloppe said that nationwide the industry is virtually assured of selling more boats this year than it did last year. In 2012, 202,403 boats were sold across all 50 states, an increase of 9.6% from 2011. It was the first time since 2009 that sales topped 200,000.
Sales in the main segments are up 6% for the year, or 7,216 boats, at 127,068, in the early reporting states.
“It’s a great outlook for the industry,” Kloppe said. “We also follow the RV industry and sales there were up 13% to 14% in 2013. If we can get that positive momentum going in the boat industry — and we are seeing some of that momentum — I think we can continue to get positive, moderate growth for 2014.”
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