Americans spent $36 billion in recreational boats, marine products, and services in 2016, according to a National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) report.
The NMMA’s 2016 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract showed that the amount represented a 3.2% increase from 2015. The group also noted that 2016 became the best year for new boat sales in the last 10 years, as well as the secondary market reaching an all-time high. WALK-WINN shares more information about the report.
Part of the increase in boat spending includes purchases of accessories and equipment, such as custom-made pontoon boat covers. The NMMA reported that sales of new powerboats accounted for $9 billion of the total amount spent in 2016, up 7.6% year over year. Americans also spent $9.2 billion to buy second-hand vessels, as sales increased 2% in the same comparable period.
The market’s growth has come a long way since 2009, as there were only 153,500 sales of powerboats compared to 247,800 in 2016. NMMA expects the growth trend to continue this year and in 2018. NMMA President Thom Dammrich said that economic factors have led to a “golden age” for the recreational boating industry.
Dammrich cited a better housing and job market, stable consumer confidence, and higher disposable income as the main factors for the industry’s development. The summer season continues to the busiest time of the year for companies. Most boat categories will also remain in demand through 2017 and into the following year.
Despite fewer units sold from 15 years ago, Dammrich said that the value of boat sales was higher than the early 2000s. That is because boats nowadays have become more expensive and larger than their old counterparts.
The recreational marine industry’s growth depends on an increasing demand for new personal watercraft and pre-owned boats. This trend is likely to increase the demand for boat equipment and accessories as well.