The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) March 2020 New Powerboat Registration Report and Monthly Shipment Report, as well as the quarterly Forecast on U.S. Boat Building Production from ITR Economics, are now available and illustrate how the recreational boating industry was impacted at the start of the COVID-19 public health crisis. While data shows solid gains through February, March took a turn as expected with declines that are likely a result of the pandemic. Retail sales of new powerboats were down 6%, yet certain segments are seeing continued growth; powerboat wholesale shipments were down 11%; and the forecast for boat building production was revised downward over the next three years. With news of boating restrictions lifted across all 50 states and as the country resumes business, NMMA anticipates that marine manufacturing and retail sales will slowly pick back up.
March 2020 Highlights: New Powerboat Registrations and Wholesale Shipments
- Total retail sales of new powerboats were down 6%, with drags in March offsetting January and February gains.
- Saltwater fishing boat sales were up 6%.
- Powerboat wholesale shipments were down 11% and outboard boat shipments down 10%.
ITR Economics Forecast on U.S. Boat Building Production
- U.S. boat building production is expected to decline through the remainder of 2020 and into the first half of 2021 before rising in the latter half of next year and continuing through at least 2022.
- COVID-19 concerns could prompt consumers to favor boating vacations versus overseas trips, an upside to the forecast, which could prompt an earlier boost in production beginning in 2021.
- By 2022, the rebound in production is expected to be at levels similar to those in spring 2017.
Access to the New Powerboat Registrations Report is complimentary to companies that subscribe to or participate in NMMA’s Monthly Shipment Report (MSR) program. NMMA members can view the full ITR Economics report here.