NMMA Canada: Boating participation increases as boat sales ease in 2014

TORONTO —  During a presentation to the industry at the Toronto International Boat Show, National Marine Manufacturers Association President, Thom Dammrich, announced key data from the forthcoming National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Canadian Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract. The data reveal an increase in boating participation and an ease in boat and engine sales across the country with the exception of an increase in British Columbia, for the period of October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014.

The data Dammrich announced include:

  • 46% of adult Canadians participated in recreational boating. This corresponds to 13.2 million Canadians aged 18 and older. This is the highest percentage of participation on record since NMMA began collecting the data in 2011.
  • The majority of boaters in Canada are middle-class families: 71% of current boating participants had some post-secondary education (compared to 64% of non-participants), 68.7% were employed at least part-time (compared to 53.3% of non-participants), 59% had children living at home (compared to 51% of non-participants), and 63.7% reported household incomes less than $100,000.
  • The latest economic indicators show that the Canadian economy grew at an annualized 2.8% in the third quarter of 2014. Unemployment dropped to a near six-year low of 6.6% as of November. The household savings rate dropped to 3.9% in the third quarter while household spending rose at a 2.8% annualized rate. Canadian currency further weakened to 0.86 USD/CAD at the end of 2014.

  • Exports and imports of Canadian recreational boats and marine engines grew in 2013, reaching five-year high totals of $419.7 million and $890.6 million respectively.

  • Import growth (up 6.5% year-over-year and reaching the highest level of the past five years) outpaced export growth (up 3.3% year-over-year). The 3.3% gain primarily reflects growth in the dollar value of exports of inboard boats and “other” boats, which are presumed to be personal watercraft.

  • The number of Canadian recreational boats exported declined in nearly every category in 2013, except inboard and “other” boats (presumably personal watercraft), which grew by less than 1% combined, while import units were up slightly (0.5%) from a year ago.

For the period October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014:

  • New boat and engine retail dollar sales totaled $2 billion in 2014, down 2.3% from the prior year while total retail unit sales fell 7.2%. Unit sales were down in nearly all categories with significant volume except personal watercraft, which increased 3.9%.
  •  New boat and engine sales declined in nearly all provinces in 2014, except British Columbia, where retail unit sales were up 3% year-over-year, buoyed by 7.5% growth in new outboard engine sales in that region. In 2014, 14.2% of total new boat and engine retail unit sales took place in British Columbia.
  • Pre-owned boat sales in Canada totaled 60,085 units in 2014, down 3.5% from the prior year, with unit declines spread across all segments. Corresponding dollars totaled $985.2 million, down 6.9% for the year. The average cost of a pre-owned boat ranged from $2,533 to $110,194 depending on boat type.
  • Pre-owned boat sales in Alberta and Saskatchewan were up 3.3% and 3.5% respectively, in 2014, offsetting declines in other provinces.

“The Canadian recreational boating industry continues to be a significant contributor to the Canadian economy, generating $2 billion in sales from new boat and engines and $985.2 million in pre-owned boat sales from September 2013 through October 2014, noted Dammrich. “It’s likely that cold weather, which dampened the prime boating season from May through September, contributed to sales declines during the period. In light of these declines, we remain optimistic about the state of the recreational boating industry as a result of the healthy sales we’ve seen the past few years, the continued growth we’re seeing in participation, and the strength of the market overall, especially with bright spots in personal watercraft and new boat sales in British Columbia.”

The data Dammrich presented offer a snapshot of insights from the Canadian Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract. Bound, professionally printed color editions are available to NMMA members as a courtesy and at cost. They can be preordered now for $85.  Members can contact Vicky Yu at vyu@nmma.org to order or click here. Online and downloadable versions of the Abstract will be available in February for all NMMA members to download from the statistics section of nmma.ca and nmma.org at no-cost. Non-members can purchase the Abstract for $950.

The Abstract contains the most current market figures available including sales, participation, retail expenditures, imports/exports, pre-owned boats and more. The data are analyzed by market segment, region and province, enabling businesses to identify regional and segment trends. For more information about the Abstract contact Vicky Yu at vyu@nmma.org or 312-946-6261.

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