Just when the industry needed a bout of good weather to get consumers boating again, winter outstayed its welcome, resulting in a lacklustre start for the industry in 2013

Dragonfly 32, Quorning Boats’ most recent model, launched in 2012

There are still few signs of improvement in the leisure marine industry in Denmark with 2012 at best flat for business. Last year drew to a close with “new boat sales down, sales of outboard engines down, and sales of marine equipment even with the previous year,” Bjarne Carlsen, of equipment wholesaler Palby Marine and member of the board at the Danish marine trade association Danboat, told IBI.

The second-hand boat sector remains a more resilient segment with steady annual sales across the board. Stewart Moeliker-Twigg, partner at Tempo Boat Sales, explains that the drop in new boat sales is partly because of the availability of used boats waiting to be sold, the majority in good condition and keenly priced. “For us, 2012 ended as expected with about 200 new and second hand boats sold, which has been the average for the last 4-5 years. However, the value of the boats sold is down.” Tempo Boat Sales is importer for Fairline, Jeanneau sail and motorboats, as well as Prestige motoryachts, and is the Danish dealer of Sweden’s Windy Boats.

Tough competition

There are three reasons causing the stagnation in the market, the principle being a lack of consumer confidence. Non-essential purchasing is off the agenda for most consumers, especially when it comes to big ticket items like boats.

“People are more cautious about money,” claims Bjarne Carlsen. “They are more keen to get rid of debts, instead of spending they save.”

The second reason is the over-stock of boats in all segments of the market. A number of boatbuilding and boat sales companies in the region that have filed for bankruptcy have ended piling up their boats across the dealer network.

Tempo Boat Sales’ Moeliker-Twigg told IBI that small outboard powered boats used to be the best-seller in Denmark, so the company decided to re-introduce Jeanneau’s Merry Fisher line to the market. In 2003 the company voluntarily stopped the sale of the model, and helped Jeanneau to find another dealer for it. More recently, the French builder asked Tempo Boat Sales to take all its outboard engine boats again, but now they have found a tough competition from a large stock of a similar models built by Sweden’s Ørnvik. “The dealer for Ørnvik in Denmark went bankrupt last year with about 150 boats in stock. These are being sold very cheaply; the price has dropped probably 15-20 per cent. It’s a very good opportunity for the consumer who has cash, but has damaged the market for this boats in Denmark,” he notes.

The surplus of boats in the market is not only putting pressure on prices, it’s also forcing builders to cut production and to hunt for market opportunities outside of Scandinavia. Henrik Jorgensen of Danboat told IBI that domestic yards built approximately 150 units in 2012 of which around 90 per cent were exported.

NOTE: This is an excerpt from the country report included in the June-July issue of IBI magazine. IBI Plus subscribers can download the complete report at IBI Plus website.