After four brutal years of declining sales, plant closures, bankruptcies and the culling of aged inventories, enthusiasm is finally replacing fear in many boating executives’ voices. Nobody is ready to call 2012 a boom year, or even a solid turnaround, especially with big-boat sales still on the decline.
There are plenty of macro-economic trends spooking US consumers – the Eurozone crisis, the most divisive presidential election in many years, uncertainty about taxes in 2013, and a looming “fiscal cliff” that threatens to push the slow-growing US economy back into recession.
But many boat and equipment manufacturers are reporting their strongest sales in four years. A handful are even talking about reaching pre-2007 levels. Many others say their businesses are now leaner, more nimble and able to navigate the “new market reality” much more effectively. Considering the jittery economic background, the marine industry is chugging along nicely.