Powerboat wholesale shipments grew 12.8% year-over-year in May for the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) control group of manufacturers and 2% overall for the calendar year.
Sounding Trades Only reported that wholesale shipments of ski boats and aluminum outboards continue to rise in 2013, up 13.2% and 6.2% for year-to-date and year-over-year respectively, the NMMA reported. Together they represent the bulk of traditional powerboats sold at wholesale and offset slowdowns in all other boat segments that were coming off highs in 2012.
Cruiser volumes grew for the first time in 2013, up 2.4% year over year in May, and although volumes were down 13.4% for the year-to-date, compared with the prior year, production was still at the second-highest level recorded since 2010.
Through the first quarter, retail sales of aluminum outboards — which are mostly pontoons — were down, relative to wholesale shipments, on a rolling 12-month basis for the first time in four quarters, suggesting that dealers are starting to replenish inventories after consecutive quarters of running lean, the NMMA said. Advance data indicate that sales were up 6% on a rolling 12-month basis year over year through May for bellwether states.
Estimates of traditional powerboat retail sales were up 4.3% year over year on a rolling 12-month basis, with continued strength in sales of smaller boats offsetting declines in sales of other traditional powerboat segments.
Registrations of new boats were up across all regions, ranging from 1.7% to 11.8%.
The 2012 Rosemont Sportfishing, Travel and Outdoors show, scheduled to take place Jan. 25-29, was canceled this week due to low industry demand.
“There just wasn’t enough critical mass to warrant an acceptable selling environment for our exhibitors and a quality event for attendees,” said the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) in a press release.
With the cancellation of the Rosemont show, the NMMA will be focusing its energy on its Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, Sports and RV show to be held Jan. 12-16.
“By moving forward without the Rosemont show, we’ll be able to focus producing one dynamic show in the market, delivering a more robust landscape at NMMA’s Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show and stronger selling environment for the Chicagoland boating, fishing, travel and outdoors industries,” the NMMA said in a release.
For the boating industry to grow and prosper, it must work together and reach beyond the traditional customer to embrace millions of Americans who haven’t yet experienced the thrill and fun of boating — a close relative in terms of industry dynamics to the RV arena.
That was the message Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), presented this morning (Oct. 17) at an industry breakfast marking the opening of the 21st annual International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX 2011), reported Beth Rosenberg of Soundings’ Trade Only.
“We must change if we want to grow,” said Dammrich. “We need more boaters. We’re going to have to work together to grow.”
Although 2011 hasn’t seen the growth the industry hoped for, Dammrich noted that retail sales through August on a trailing 12-month basis were up 2% — not a small feat in an industry that has seen continuous sales declines in recent years. “Better sales and smoother waters are ahead for the recreational boating industry,” he said.
Another silver lining: The average age of a boat today is 21 years. At 25 years, a boat is no longer attractive in the used market. This, Dammrich surmised, should lead to more new-boat sales in the coming years.
The key, he said, is to get more children out on the water on the premise that “kids that boat become adults that boat.”
Also, Dammrich said, the majority of boaters are middle-aged white men, although that segment of the population is shrinking. In a comment that closely parallels the RV sector, he claims that minority-group members need to see themselves in boating magazines and ads and see that boating is a viable recreation option.
“We need to look beyond our traditional customer,” Dammrich said.
Despite the challenges, the ARC release states, boating remains a $30 billion-a-year business, with wholesale shipments up in units and dollars this year, and that growth is expected for the next few years.
The NMMA, Dammrich said, is hosting a growth summit in December with about 200 industry leaders from all segments, the purpose of which is to figure out how to bring more people into boating. Discover Boating’s “Welcome to the Water” campaign has been successful, most would agree, but more needs to be done.
“Passion for the water is contagious. Be a part of the movement,” he urged IBEX attendees. “Together we will create a better future for recreational boating.”
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced today (Oct. 11) that Progressive Insurance will be the title sponsor of its 18 boat and sportshows from 2012-2014.
“We’re thrilled to have Progressive Insurance on board as the title sponsor of NMMA boat and sportshows,” said Ben Wold, executive vice president of NMMA in a press release. “Our involvement with this great organization will help bring boating to more consumers and reach millions of potential show attendees, elevating the NMMA shows’ brand. In addition, this partnership will provide new resources to invest in our shows to help grow attendance, improve the consumer experience, and ultimately attract more customers for our exhibitors.”
“We’re excited to collaborate with the NMMA and support the boating industry,” said Rick Stern, Progressive’s boat product manager. “Seventy-five million people participated in recreational boating in 2010, and hundreds of thousands of them attend boat shows. This sponsorship is a great opportunity to let boaters know that with Progressive boat insurance they can go wherever they choose, whenever they choose and have peace of mind they’re protected with our flexible, year-round coverage.”