Powerboat unit sales down in 2005

CHICAGO — Wholesale dollar sales for the traditional powerboat segment (outboard, sterndrive and inboard boats) rose almost 6 percent for calendar year 2005, compared to figures from the same reporting period in 2004, according to the December Monthly Shipment Report (MSR) released yesterday by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

The bright star in the traditional segment was the inboard boat wholesale market, according to NMMA. Both inboard ski boats and inboard cruisers ended the year with significant unit sales gains when compared to the 2004 data; 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

The average cost of the traditional powerboat in 2005 was approximately $25,700, almost 12 percent higher than the previous year’s figure, due in large part to the continuing change in the mix of product sold with larger boats gaining favor, NMMA reported.

Although dollar volume was up, wholesale unit shipments for the traditional powerboat segment declined, down 5 percent for the year. Outboard boat wholesale unit shipments for the year were down almost 8 percent, which is similar to the decline seen in outboard engine shipments, down 7 percent for the year, according to the association. Sterndrive boats also showed a 2 percent decline in wholesale unit shipments in 2005.

“While we are buoyed by the 6 percent increase in dollar sales, the decline in unit sales is consistent with trends of the past 10 years and the primary driver behind the industry’s Grow Boating Initiative,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “The Grow Boating Initiative is a long-term, integrated program to increase boating participation and grow unit sales.”

Other segments showing positive wholesale unit growth in 2005 include: personal watercraft (3 percent); kayaks (4 percent); and sailboats (2 percent).

NMMA’s MSR tracks manufacturers’ shipments to dealers for both boats and outboard engines using a control group of boat and engine manufacturers. The 2005 boat control group represents about 77 percent of the overall boat marketplace while the 2005 outboard engine control group represents about 95 percent of the market.

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