According to both statistical and anecdotal data, the US equipment sector is experiencing a growth year that will probably end in the mid-single digits. IBEX, the US equipment trade show in Louisville, Kentucky, was booked to capacity, with many exhibitors reporting quality attendees. With new-boat sales on the rise, many OEM equipment manufacturers are also reporting stronger sales. “We’re seeing decent growth in many boat categories and many builders hiring to meet demand,” says Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “That has obviously spun off to the equipment sector.”
The NMMA has also reported a growth trend in aftermarket accessory sales. Last year, the US trade association said US aftermarket sales reached about US$5.6bn, up from US$4.9bn the previous year. It also represents a big increase from 2011, when the NMMA reported sales of US$4.0bn. This year, some distributors expect aftermarket sales to grow by about 5%.
“The aftermarket was very healthy this year,” says Tom Schuessler, president of Land ‘N’ Sea, one of four regional distributors owned by the Brunswick Corp. “We had good early spring weather, with lower fuel prices, so people were not only using boats but keeping them in good operating condition.” Schuessler said that rainy weather in the Midwest and Northeastern parts of the US slowed sales to those regions, but other parts of the country were strong. Land ‘N’ Sea’s sales, he added, are stronger than before the downturn, despite a decline in the actual boat park size in the US from 2008.
Note: This is an excerpt of the latest report on the leisure marine market in the US that appeared in the November issue of IBI magazine. IBI Plus subscribers can download the full report from IBI Plus website.