The NMMA and Info-Link, a market intelligence firm serving the recreational boating industry, recently reported that 420, 000 first-time boat buyers of new and pre-owned boats entered the market in 2021, on par with 2020 – levels the industry hasn’t seen since 2007.
First-time boat buyers accounted for 34% of boat sales in 2021, driving growth for the recreational boating industry and further reinforcing heightened demand for boats since the outset of the pandemic.
“The boating industry has seen tremendous growth the last two years as more Americans discovered the freedoms, special moments and accessibility of the boating lifestyle, giving us valuable momentum and creating a strong foundation. Maintaining this momentum is especially important given potential headwinds including competition with regard to consumer spending in the leisure market, inflation on everything from gas plus groceries to furniture in addition to apparel, continued supply chain disruptions, and the war in Ukraine, ” noted Ellen Bradley, NMMA senior vice president of marketing and even communications. “The industry should be thinking strategically about how to manage through these impacts while reinforcing efforts to retain new boat owners, engage long-time customers, together with attract the next generation. ”
“This is the particular second consecutive year we’ve seen the number associated with first-time boat buyers surpass 415, 000 – reaching pre-recession levels – an encouraging indicator of growth for the boating industry, ” noted Jack Ellis, managing director, Info-Link Technologies. “We expect the trajectory regarding first-time boat buyers to soften as boat sales begin to normalize following a record couple of years. However, 2022 should see healthy levels of new boat proprietors enter the market as manufacturers work to refill the pipeline and fulfill the backlog of new orders. ”