Marine Industry Announces First Jump in Annual Retail Sales since 2006

Sales climb 6 percent and boating participation rebounds 10 percent

Retail boat sales jump

Retail boat sales jump

For the first time since 2006, the recreational boating industry has seen an annual increase in retail sales, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced today. In 2011, U.S. retail sales for boats, accessories and services jumped 6 percent to $32.3 billion, according to the organization's latest Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract.

In addition, boating participation increased 10 percent to 83 million (or 34.8 percent of adults, the highest since 1997). “The data signals the beginning of a recovery for the U.S. recreational boating industry,” the NMMA press release states.

Leading the recovery, NMMA says, are sales of aluminum powerboats, up 4 percent in 2011. The abstract also shows that boats 26 feet or less in size continue to dominate (95 percent) the industry.

“Pent-up demand for boats following years of diminished willingness to spend by consumers, improved credit availability for buyers and boating businesses, positive shifts in consumer confidence and an overall interest in the benefits of the boating lifestyle are steering the industry toward recovery,” notes Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “Americans’ passion for enjoying the boating lifestyle is taking precedence as they put aside concerns about the economy in favor of creating lifelong memories with loved ones.”

The NMMA says 2012 should show continued slow growth — an estimated 15.2 percent of U.S. adults are planning a boat purchase this year, up from 10 percent in 2010, according to a joint NMMA/Foresight Research survey of boaters and non-boaters.

Here are some other numbers released today by the NMMA:

· Boating has an estimated annual economic impact of $72 billion.

· Eighty-three million Americans participated in boating in 2011, an increase of ten percent from 2010 (75 million) and the largest proportion of adults (34.8 percent) who went boating since 1997 (35.8 percent).

· Retail sales of boats, accessories and marine services increased six percent to $32.3 billion in 2011.

· Power and sailboat unit sales increased 0.8 percent to 214,405 in 2011 from 212,645 the previous year.

· An estimated 83 percent of boats sold in the U.S. in 2011 were made in the U.S.

· Ninety-five percent of the 12.4 million registered boats in the U.S. in 2011 were less than 26 feet.

· Retail sales of aluminum powerboats (fishing and pontoon boats) increased four percent in 2011. This segment is leading a recovery for the industry.

· 83 percent of boat owners in the U.S. in 2011 had an annual household income less than $100,000.