By Jeff Rasmussen
Changes cited by suppliers and end-product manufacturers in the survey ran the gamut from having a greater number of fabrics to choose from to the dramatic increase in the prices of key materials, especially petroleum-based fabrics. Specific changes cited include:
- Many more fabric choices are available worldwide.
- More acrylic suppliers are aggressively selling their products.
- More mills are selling directly to the customer.
- The number of boat manufacturers has decreased.
For end-product manufacturers
- More consolidation; more competition for less work.
- More fabrics to choose from.
- More technology is available.
- Dramatic increase in prices, especially for petroleum-based fabrics.
- More smaller boats are being manufactured.
- More buying groups.
- Fewer customers.
- Customers are being more frugal in how they spend their money (more used boats are selling).
- A trend toward buying cheaper fabrics, especially imported fabrics.