New powerboat sales shrink in 2019

New powerboat retail unit sales closed the fourth quarter of 2019 down 1% year over year, according to data released by the National Marine Manufacturers Association this week. However, despite the decline, this marks the second-highest level of new powerboat sales in 12 years.

While last year’s sales ultimately lagged behind 2018, they did pick up steam in the last three months of 2019. New powerboat retail unit sales rose 4% on a rolling three-month YoY basis.

“It was encouraging to see new boat sales pick up in the second half of 2019, with demand across a range of boats reaching their highest or near highest year-over-year sales volumes in 10 to 12 years,” said Vicky Yu, director of business intelligence for NMMA. “A pickup in the second half of 2019 and healthy demand in most powerboat categories offset softness in the smaller, freshwater fishing boat segment. From what we’re hearing from manufacturers, that sales momentum is carrying through the start of winter boat show season.”

Breaking down the numbers, the powerboat category includes personal watercrafts, wake sport boats, cruisers and jet boats. Personal watercraft and wake sport boat sales were up 5% YoY, while cruisers rose 4% and jet boats climbed 1% compared with the same time last year.

Sales of new freshwater fishing boats were down 7% YoY, primarily reflecting moderation in sales of smaller, freshwater fishing boats following 10-year highs in 2018.

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