Boat Builders

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 848 boat builders in the US design, manufacture, and market boats used primarily for personal and recreational purposes. Major product categories include power boats, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, and rowboats. Power boats include boats with inboard, outboard, stern drive, and jet powered engines. The power boat category includes Personal Water Craft (PWC), such as a jet ski. The retail price for a new fishing boat ranges $25,000 - $100,000, but luxury yachts can retail for millions of dollars.

Variability in Costs

Variability in the cost of materials and components affect margins and profitability for boat builders.

Competition from Used Boats

Boat builders compete with the used boat market, which appeals to deal-seeking buyers and new boaters looking to minimize their investment.

Industry size & Structure

The average boat builder operates out of a single location, employs fewer than 20 workers, and generates $15 million annually.

    • The boat building industry consists of 848 firms that employ 50,000 workers and generate about $13.2 billion annually.
    • The industry is concentrated; the top 50 companies account for about 74.5% of industry revenue.
    • Large companies include Brunswick, Bombardier, Viking Yacht Company, and Marine Products Corporation. Some large companies have international operations.
    • The US became a net importer of boats in 2015.
                              Industry Forecast
                              Boat Builders Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              May 15, 2024 - New Orders Fall, Inventory Up in March
                              • New orders for ships and boats dropped 8.4% in March 2024 compared to a year ago and were up 21.7% over the previous month, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau. Shipments of ships and boats were down 10.7% in March 2024 compared to a year ago and were up 0.7% from the previous month. Inventories of ships and boats were 5.4% higher compared to a year ago and were 3.1% higher than the previous month, per Census Bureau data.
                              • Consumer confidence levels fell in April 2024 from March 2024, marking a third consecutive month of weakness, according to data from The Conference Board. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index was 97 in April 2024 from 103.1 in March 2024. According to Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board, “Confidence retreated further in April, reaching its lowest level since July 2022 as consumers became less positive about the current labor market situation, and more concerned about future business conditions, job availability, and income.” Peterson added that confidence declined among consumers of all age groups and for all income groups except those in the $25,000 to $49,999 range. Plans for vacations, home purchases, and large appliances decreased on a six-month basis.
                              • US manufacturing activity contracted in April 2024 after a brief expansion in March, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The Manufacturing PMI registered 49.2% in April, down 1.1 percentage points from the 50.3% recorded in March. A reading above 50% indicates manufacturing expansion. Prior to March’s expansion, US manufacturing activity had fallen below the baseline for growth for 16 consecutive months. April’s New Orders Index was in the contraction zone at 49.1%. The April Production Index was 51.3%, a decrease from March’s 54.6%. Nine manufacturing industries tracked by the ISM reported growth in April: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Primary Metals; Textile Mills; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Petroleum & Coal Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; and Plastics & Rubber Products. The industries reporting contraction in April were Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Machinery; Furniture & Related Products; Wood Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Fabricated Metal Products; and Paper Products.
                              • New powerboat retail unit sales are expected to reach an estimated 258,000 units sold in 2023, down slightly from the previous year, according to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). The decline follows a period of continued inflation and higher consumer borrowing costs; demand is also lower following a wave of boat sales in 2021 and 2022 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry is expected to sell about 900,000 used boats in 2023, the lowest levels for pre-owned vessels since 2011, according to industry estimates. The market is still seeing a lower supply of used boats after consumers depleted the supply of used boats when new boats were not readily available during the pandemic due to production issues.
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