Powerboat sales up 11 percent in December
Building from momentum in the second half of 2011, powerboat sales were up 11 percent year-over-year during the last month of 2012, adding another month to five straight of growth for powerboats greater than 15 feet, according to the latest Bellwether Report from Info-Link Technologies.
The bellwether report, based on new boat registrations among a geographically dispersed group of boating states, revealed all boat segments achieving at least minor growth for the month.
Outboard and sport fishing markets grew by double digits during December for another month, though year-over-year growth slipped somewhat, mostly in-line with a consumer confidence drop surrounding the looming question of American austerity. The growth for the markets was still strong, however, climbing 15 percent year over year for outboard boats and 22.5 percent for sport fishing boats.
Sales data for all boating states across those two segments, which is available through September, shows the market trending at a similar path, but growth percentage has been down a few points. During September, outboard boat sales were up 11 percent and the sport fishing market was up just under 20 percent.
Three other boating markets - PWC, ski boat, and sterndrive - also had positive growth through the end of the fourth quarter. PWC and ski boat sales were up 7.5-8.0 percent year-over-year during the month of December, and the sterndrive segment was up 2 percent year-over-year after dropping 28 percent during the same period two years ago.
Full graphs of the Info-Link Technologies Bellwether Report can be found here: Info-Link Technologies Bellwether Report.
Consumers anxious looking over cliff
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence and Thomson Reuters / University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment indices both fell in December on worries about the Fiscal Cliff, automatic spending cuts and tax increases that were set to fall into place on January 1.
While consumer anxiety over tax increases and spending cuts rose, many still felt their current economic and employment situation had improved compared to the previous month. The Consumer Confidence Index fell 6.4 points in December and the Expectations Index dropped 14.4 points over concerns, but consumer evaluation of their current situation climbed 5.4 points.
Housing data from the Commerce department released on Thursday seemed unaffected by fiscal cliff issues. The number of building permits issued was up 29 percent, year-over-year, and housing starts were up 37 percent in December, as well.