Boating Industry, in partnership with RBC Capital Markets, recently completed an extensive survey of 432 U.S. marine dealers in an effort to assess industry conditions coming out of this year’s selling season. The survey included a roughly equal mix of Brunswick (217) and non-Brunswick (215) dealers.
Results indicate that the market at retail is bottoming but not yet rebounding. On most measures of performance, business trends remain tough. New boat sales are still weak, and dealers remain concerned about the credit environment and profitability levels. At the same time, the used boat market continues to strengthen, and dealer feedback suggests that this is more of a reflection of true demand than distressed selling activity. Second, the level and aging of dealer inventory appears to be in very good shape. Third, while still depressed, readings on financing, profitability and dealer sentiment are moving in a more positive direction.
Small boats continue to outperform large boats, which underscores the consumer’s sensitivity to pricing. Dealers, while not overly optimistic about the future, do seem to expect a return to positive growth in 2011.