Germany’s leisure marine firms ended 2015 in good shape, with total sales of marine goods and services – excluding superyachts – up 2.4% to $1.82bn compared to the previous year. All sectors of the market, including new and used yachts, nautical equipment, repairs, maintenance and other services, achieved growth.
The only exception was the fuel and lubricants sector, which was heavily impacted by the drop in global oil prices. “We had a really good year in 2015,” says Jürgen Tracht, managing director of German watersports association BVWW. “Our end-of- year survey shows that 83.5% of companies found the business situation in 2015 better or equal to the previous year, which was our best result since 2007.”
Europe’s ongoing sovereign debt crisis, hostilities in the Middle East and the subsequent terror threats on European soil, EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, unprecedented numbers of migrants fleeing a war in Syria, and China’s slowing economy have all done little to damper Germany’s economic prowess.
GDP grew by 1.4% in 2015 – its fastest growth since 2011 – and, unlike much of Europe, German consumers are enjoying record-high employment and rising real wages, with low interest rates leading to more spending power. “Domestic demand is strong and our expectations for 2016 are good,” says Tracht. “That’s also the thinking of our member companies. They expect equal or better business in 2016 and in the following two years.”
But while the domestic picture is bright, exports are a different scenario. As the euro continues to depreciate, much depends on demand from countries outside the eurozone such as the US and China.
Note: This is an excerpt of the country report published in the April/May issue of IBI magazine. Subscribers of IBI Plus can download the full report.