US 2018 half-time report

James Nolan runs US marketing company James Nolan Associates James Nolan runs US marketing company James Nolan Associates

The first half of 2018 has generally been good news for the US recreational marine industry sales.

At the end of May, the NMMA released data from the 2017 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract showing that unit sales of new powerboats increased 5% in 2017, reaching 262,000, the highest levels the US recreational boating industry has seen in ten years.

Brunswick stated its marine engine segment sales were up 9% in the first quarter 2018 and international sales were up 10%. Its boat segment (excluding Sea Ray) reported a net sales increase of almost 7% while International sales, which represented 28% of total segment sales in the quarter, increased by 14% compared to the prior year period.

MarineMax also announced that its revenue grew more than 10% for the quarter ending March 31 2018.

Looking forward there are a couple of factors that could negatively impact sales. The first is in June the Federal Reserve raised interest rates to 2% and signalled that two more increases were likely this year. It is worth remembering the last time the rate topped 2% was in late summer 2008.

The second is the tariffs war and its retaliations between the US and the EU, Canada and Mexico. The NMMA points out that these three markets account for 69% of US boat exports and dealers in Canada and the EU have already started to cancel orders.

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