By 2016, the US recreational boating market (including boats, propulsion systems and accessories) will rebound from its depressed 2011 levels, with demand rising 7.5 percent annually to $10 billion. Demand will be driven by gains in consumer spending and disposable income, while the recovery in financial markets will enable more consumers to buy boats on credit. Growth in the 55-64 age bracket will also support demand, since boat purchases become more likely just prior to retirement and consumers in that age group have the disposable income to purchase larger, more expensive vessels. In addition, the industry's effort to sell the “boating lifestyle” to women and minorities should expand the market.
Boating products are luxury items, often purchased on credit or by borrowing against the value of a home, and therefore the recreational boating market was decimated by the economic downturn which began in 2007. As a result, the downturn provoked the worst recreational boating industry contraction in nearly 50 years, with a sharp drop in demand and a number of bankruptcies among participants. Following this collapse, the remaining industry players are attempting to gauge the “new normal.” This will include determining not only how far retail boating product demand will recover, but also how much stock boat dealers will maintain and how many dealers and boatbuilders will even survive.
US demand for recreational boats is projected to increase 8.8 percent annually to $6.6 billion in 2016, benefiting from the economic and credit market recoveries, as well as dealer restocking and pent-up demand from consumers who delayed purchases during the downturn. Powerboats are expected to post above average gains after recording especially sharp declines in the 2008 to 2011 period. The value of powerboat demand will also benefit from technological advances such as newer propulsion systems and more advanced electronics.
Of the four US census regions (Northeast, Midwest, South and West), the West will register the fastest gains in recreational boating demand through 2016, growing more than eleven percent per year to $1.7 billion. Growth will be aided by aboveaverage gains in the population segment of those 45 or older and strong GDP growth. The South will remain the largest regional market and also exhibit aboveaverage growth through 2016, benefiting from many of the same demographic factors as the West. In addition, the region's mild climate and long warm water coastline will continue to support demand.
This Freedonia industry study, “Recreational Boating” presents historical demand data (2001, 2006 and 2011) plus forecasts for 2016 and 2021 by material, product, market and US region. The study also assesses market environment factors, evaluates company market share, and profiles 39 US industry players, such as Bombardier Recreational Products, Brunswick, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, PBH Marine Group and Yamaha Motor.