2024 State of the Marine Industry

Published On: July 1, 2024Categories: News

The Advanced Textile Association’s annual State of the Industry survey shows that price pressures have eased somewhat, and inflation and labor are still the top concerns for most respondents.

More than 120 respondents took the survey, representing a variety of markets. The largest segments were end-product manufacturers at 34%, suppliers at more than 16%, engineering/architecture/design firms at 12% and marine fabricators at almost 10%. Almost two-thirds of the responding companies have fewer than 50 employees, with 20% having four or fewer employees. Half of the companies said that their staffing levels were unchanged since last year, and 47% planned to hire. 

“Keeping up” a concern

Overall, the 2024 responses were similar to last year’s with revenues and prices slightly up and many companies planning to expand into new markets. As with last year, the top concerns were Inflation, finding skilled labor, increased shipping costs, customer price sensitivity, higher cost of employee wages and utility/fuel costs. 

Several businesses expressed concern about “keeping up” with business, tech and computer advances, social media and digital marketing, and the trend toward sustainability—and even keeping up with work in general.

Looking to future growth

In the next two years, 52% of respondents plan to enter new markets, 51% plan to purchase equipment, 26% plan to rent or purchase automation equipment, and 40% intend to develop new product lines with their current capabilities. 

Important strategic initiatives include providing customized products (74%), improving supply chain/logistics (70%), research and development (68%), and product diversification (66%). Employee-development programs came in as important to more than half, at 59%.

Respondents had mixed responses concerning the use of artificial intelligence and other technology tools as well as increasing product/corporate sustainability. It’s likely that businesses are in “wait and see” mode, as early adoption and taking the lead in major industry shifts can be expensive. Future surveys will show how these numbers change as the adoption of technology and best practices evolve in the coming years. 

Several businesses expressed concern about “keeping up” with business, tech and computer advances, social media and digital marketing.