New powerboat sales outpacing pre-pandemic levels - report

Photography by: Getty Images


New powerboat sales through the first quarter of 2022 are showing signs of normalising following two years of historic growth, according to a new report from the National Marine Manufacturers Association in North America.

In the first quarter, new powerboat retail sales totalled 54,000 units, down 20 percent compared to Q1 2021, while continuing to surpass pre-pandemic levels, up 20 percent from Q1 2019’s 45,000 units.

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"Not surprisingly, we’re seeing sales begin to stabilise following extraordinary growth in 2020 and 2021 as competition returns for consumer spending among goods and services that were in many ways inaccessible during Covid, such as travel, sporting events, concerts and other activities," said Ellen Bradley, NMMA senior vice president.

"In addition to new powerboat sales, we saw a normalising of traffic to Discover Boating channels and in search activity across boating keywords in Q1.

"We expect boat sales this year to be healthy, on par with or above pre-pandemic levels, with forward order books strong as dealer inventory continues to catch up to meet record demand," Bradley said.

"This cautious optimism is measured given consumers’ continued interest in experiences, particularly outdoor recreation, economic indicators such as low unemployment and stable consumer confidence, and as we monitor downside impacts of inflation and stock market volatility on consumer sentiment."

According to the NMMA’s latest New Powerboat Registrations Report through Q1 2022:

New personal watercraft retail sales while down 30 percent through Q1 2022, were 34 percent above pre-pandemic Q1 2019.
New pontoon retail sales were down 12 percent through Q1 2022, while 49 percent above pre-pandemic Q1 2019.
Retail sales of new wakesport boats were down 11 percent through Q1 2022, while 62 percent above pre-pandemic Q1 2019.
New cruiser retail sales while down 17 percent through Q1 2022, were 17 percent above pre-pandemic Q1 2019.

Additional insights across NMMA member wholesale activity show recreational boat, engine and accessory manufacturers are working to balance inventory levels and fulfil retail orders while navigating ongoing supply chain challenges.

Those supply chain challenges are expected to continue through 2022. According to NMMA’s Monthly Shipment Report, wholesale shipments of new powerboats through Q1 2022 decreased 13 percent year over year; wholesale shipments of outboard engines increased 4.8 percent year over year; and wholesale shipments of trailers increased 37.9 percent year over year.

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