A recent forecast indicated a 2013 growth of 8% in the American boating industry.
In light of an improving consumer outlook, more than half (51%) of marine industry survey participants said the best time to increase inventory levels is right now to be fully stocked for the spring selling season, according to results released by GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF).
“Overall, our data indicate sales are improving, costs are down and earnings are up at the dealer level,” said Bruce Van Wagoner, president of CDF’s marine group, a leading provider of financing to marine dealers. “We believe that 2013 will look a lot like 2012 — slow and steady growth in a smaller, healthier market.”
When asked which trend will have the largest impact on the boating industry this year, 32% of respondents pointed to the popularity of low-cost or “base” models, up from 23% last year, and 30% of respondents expect long production lead times, compared to 21% last year.
Aluminum boats, fiberglass fishing boats and recreation boats are the top three types, respectively, that the industry believes will be in demand this year.
“Low stocking levels may result in lost sales but, today, shipments are generally aligned with demand,” Van Wagoner said. “Many dealers ask for market intelligence to make better informed decisions about brand, segments and stocking levels so they can be sure to stock the products that their customer base wants to buy.”
GE Capital’s survey was conducted Feb.13-15, 2013. The respondents were a variety of marine industry participants, including manufacturers, dealers and distributors.