As the recreational boating industry prepares to close out 2019, the second highest level of sales in 12 years, National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) member manufacturer confidence continues to be favorable with 78 percent of CEOs stating business is stable or expanding (51 percent stable and 27 percent expanding). The report comes from NMMA’s Marine CEO Sentiment Survey for Q3 2019, which includes insights on a quarterly basis from senior executives at NMMA member boat, engine and accessory manufacturers.
A year ago (Q3 2018), 97 percent of CEOs also reported an expanding or stable environment, however, this shifted in Q3 2019 from a majority seeing expansion to a majority seeing stabilization. This is in line with what the industry is seeing in retail sales, as there are signs of a flattening out after seven consecutive years of growth and sales reaching an 11-year high in 2018.
Driving this flattening is the slowdown in the aluminum and pontoon segment in 2019, signaling that balanced inventories will be essential heading into 2020. Manufacturing activity has dampened slightly, with 48 percent of manufacturers reporting concerns over labor availability and protectionist trade policies.