Is your glass half full, or half empty?
The answer to that question may determine how you look at the 2002 U.S. boating figures released recently by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
Unit sales of new boats in most categories are down over 2001: outboard boats, inboard boats, sterndrives, personal watercraft, jet boats — even canoes took a slight hit. The only segments that bucked the trends were sailboats, outboard engines and boat trailers.
Most experts blame the unstable U.S. economy and the uncertainty consumers felt over terrorism and the prospects of war for the general sluggishness in purchases of boating products and other recreational items.
But a look at “the year that was” certainly isn’t all gloom and doom. In fact, a deeper look at other numbers shows the market is relatively healthy.
The average price of a new boat went up in most categories, as buyers are attracted to exciting new products with new and unique features. Big boats sold particularly well.
Total it all up, and you’ve got some mighty impressive bottom line figures. Boaters spent $29.2 billion at retail, the NMMA says, up from $28.5 billion in 2001 and up $10 billion over the 1998 figures.
Download 2002 Transamerica USA Marine Market Annual Review
With more than 17.3 million boats and watercraft currently in use and millions of potential boating enthusiasts swarming the winter and spring consumer boat shows, the market is ripe for an upswing.