Statistics and sales volume in the United States, marine recreational sector


NMMA has just published sales statistics for the US market for boats and/or pleasure yachts.

It is interesting to analyse and understand the current market as it helps us to oriented our choices if one is looking to acheive an excellent transaction now but also, to maximize the value of our purchase when it comes the time of resale.

The market jumped 4% in 2018 compared to 2017 with more than 276.000 units were sold, the best year since 11 years. This statistic includes personal watercraft.

More than 42 billion US dollars have been spent on boating including accessories and anything related to boating. This is an increase of more than 7% compared to 2017.

Following are the different categories:

  • The out-board engines, more than 3% increase for 177.600 units, is 85% of the market.
  • Personal watercraft, more than 8% increase for 69.000 units.
  • Wake boats, more than 10% increase for 10.500 units.
  • Cruisers from 22 to 32 ft., more than 3% increase.
  • Motor boats/yachts, more than 4% increase for 5900 units.

Image below: Yamaha, jet powered wake boat

There were more than 976,200 used units sold, which far exceeds new boats.

If we look at a cumulative in the United States, there are, therefore,  more than 12 million registered ships in the US market (US only).

Interestingly, more than 62% of boat owners in the United States have a family income of less than $100.000 per year.

More than 90% of boats in the United States are less than 26 feet and are therefore easily towed. It is this sector that is the most active and dominates the market.

Every month, the Organization Statistical Surveys Inc publize very interesting statistics. Statistics are published for 30 states, which account for more than 60% of the market. Of course, Florida, Michigan, California, New York, the Carolinas are among the counted states.

As of now, the last 12 months (April 2018 to April 2019) they are announcing a decline. At the moment, only the pontoons, wake boat, personal watercraft and jet boats shows a progression.

Image below: pontoon Premier

The sectors in sharp decline are aluminum boats, sailboats, electric vessels and cruisers from 31 ft to 65 ft. This situation greatly benefits buyers of a used boat.

The category of boats with outboard engines has been maintained and has shown an increase in the last two years. This category corresponds to the DAY BOAT, that is to say to, the boat is definitely oriented on day outings, we leave in the morning and we return in the evening to the marina.

Image below: Searay with outboard motor (day-boat).

The ability to sleep onboard is rather limited, but the available day space is great. There is of course a toilet and a small storage compartment, but the essentials are geared to the comfort of all passengers during the day. A full wetbar, a rigid roof and especially with two, three or four outboard motors. That’s the trend.

American manufacturers such as: Searay, Chaparral, Fourwinns, Monterey, Boston Whaler, Bayliner, Regal, Glastron, Wellcraft, scarab, formula have understood this trend well.

Image below: Chaparral with outboard motors (day-boat).

For the cruisers, the battle is fierce. The most popular values boats such as Prestige Yachts, Galeon and Cranchi are losing speed to the benefit of major European manufacturers such as Princess, Azimut, Ferretti, Riva, Pershing, Sunseeker and Absolute Yachts that dominate the market in North America especially since the latest statistics show the buyer turning to quality units.

For the American market, the leaders are Cruisers Yachts, Tiara yachts and Hatteras.

Image below: Cruisers Yachts

Prestige Yachts has  dominated the market in recent years especially for the category from 50 to 52 ft (2012 to 2017). The conquest of the manufacturer Jeanneau Prestige to be successful in the 60 ft and above was very mixed and the more than 70 feet were completely abandoned.

Currently on the used market, there are more than 85 Prestige Yachts for sale from 50 to 62 ft. This is abundant and which propels the prices downwards, of course for the used vessels, that is certain, but also for the new units (data as of 1 June 2019 on YachtWorld).

Image below: prestige 50 fly

We must always be on the lookout for market trends in order to achieve the best transaction but also to be concerned about what will be the value of the yacht within 3 to 5 years for example.

The brokers at ITA Yachts Canada are here to help you understand the market, do not hesitate to contact us at 514-521-1221.

Images below: Princess F55 and Azimut 70



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