Powerboats continue sales growth in November
Sales of powerboats longer than 15 feet continued to grow in November among Bellwether states, which represent roughly half of the U.S. boat market geographically dispersed, maintaining a steady 12-percent growth, year-over-year, according to the latest data from Info-Link Technologies.
With the exception of the ski boat market, all boat types showed improvement year-over-year in boat sales, including the stubborn stern drive market, which managed a 1-percent improvement among Bellwether states for the second month in a row during November.
Improving consumer confidence and unemployment, both of which saw slight improvements in November compared to October, have helped boat sales. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted unemployment dropped to 7.7 percent in November, and The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose by 0.6 points to 73.7.
The rate of increase for outboard boat sales over the prior year continues to rise and has been in the double-digit growth range for eight straight months. Sales in November increased by 15 percent over November 2011 for Bellwether states and 12 percent during the same period for the entire boating population.
Sportfishing boats are seeing the highest rates of sales growth among Bellwether states, increasing for another month by more than 25 percent year-over-year, and personal watercraft sales have continued to climb, reaching nearly 8-percent growth, year-over-year, among Bellwether states.
For full graphs of the Info-Link data, visit Info-Link Technologies Bellwether Report.
The data from Info-Link Technologies' Bellwether Report shows positive trends for the boating industry through the first 11 months of the year, but other market indicators have also showed signs of improvement.
Data from around the boating industry shows positive sales trends for dealers so far this year. The latest report from Spader Business Management revealed sales for the average Spader dealer were up by 7 percent on all boat inventory through October, and 13 percent for new inventory, specifically. Used boat sales have been declining slightly for several months for the average of Spader dealers.
Consumer confidence slipped to a four-month low in December due to concerns over the fiscal cliff, mandatory spending cuts and tax increases that are set to kick into action on Jan. 1 if Congress and the President fail to find consensus on a plan. The Expectations Index fell as well to 66.5, but consumer assessment of the present situation was up in contrast.
Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index – another indicator of consumer confidence and a potential indicator of future GDP growth – was up 19 points year-over-year in November before losing half of those gains in December also due to fiscal cliff concerns. Consumer expectations and evaluation of current conditions dove in December as well due to fiscal cliff issues.