New data released by the National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada (NMMA Canada) show steady year-over-year sales growth for most boat categories, with tow boats and outboard-powered fibreglass runabouts leading the way.
Sales for the period from January 1 to June 30, 2018, show an 18% year-over-year increase in unit sales of inboard-powered tow boats, reflecting continued growth in the popularity of wake surfing.
Sales of outboard-powered fibreglass runabouts were reported to be up 12% over 2017 volumes, while sailboats showed a 7% year-over-year retail sales increase.
Personal watercraft sales were reported to be trending 4% above 2017 levels, while sales of outboard-powered aluminium boats (including pontoons) – representing by far the greatest overall volumes in terms of absolute numbers – were up by 1%.
Sales of inboard-powered cruisers remain flat compared against 2017 volumes, while declines were seen in inflatables (4%), sterndrive-powered boats (9%) and jet boats (11%). The 2017 sales figures used as a baseline were themselves up by 4.7% over 2016 volumes, according to NMMA Canada’s 2017 Recreational Boating Abstract, totaling an estimated C$2.3bn at retail.
“Sales trends are continuing to look strong for Canada’s boating market. However, we are keeping a close watch on how much tariffs will affect sales,” said NMMA Canada president Sara Anghel. “NMMA Canada continues to fight the counter-tariffs and is working tirelessly on that issue. Overall, we remain positive about the continued strength of the market. Canadians have a passion for the water, with 43% of them going boating each year.”
Whether the positive sales trend will continue through the second half of the year remains to be seen, as a range of trade tariffs implemented by the Canadian and US governments take effect. An estimated 65% of recreational boats sold in Canada each year are imported from the US.