Consumer confidence and a growing economy will primarily cause a 6% increase in new powerboat sales last year, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). In some areas, such as Houston, higher sales will partly reflect boat owners looking to replace vessels that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
The NMMA, along with other organizations, including D&R Sports Center (Boats Center), also expect sales of pontoon boats in Michigan, ski and wake boats in Texas, and personal watercraft in other parts of the U.S. to reach 260,000 in 2018.
NMMA president Thom Dammrich expects a trend of more boat sales to continue in 2018. Other than recreational boats, the industry may notice higher sales of fishing vessels in the next 12 months. Freshwater and saltwater fishing boats may increase 2% and 4%, respectively.
This will be important to sustain the growing momentum of sales, which have been on the rise in the last six years. Annual spending on boats and ancillary expenses also rose to $37 billion in 2017, up 3% from $36 billion year over year. By region, Florida and Texas ranked as the top two markets for sales, which amounted to $2.5 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.
Dealers may see a pickup in demand for new boats as the silver lining for the damages caused by Hurricane Harvey. In Houston, companies expect higher sales this year since many owners will look for replacements for sunken or destroyed boats.
The recent Houston Boat Show served as proof. Many people who already got their insurance money have begun choosing from more than 1,000 models on display. According to U.S. Boat Owners Association’s data, the storm caused $155 million of property damages, which comprised around 13,500 boats.
The U.S. boating industry may continue its growth streak for sales this year, amid a strong demand. It may even continue beyond 2018 if economic indicators remain favorable.