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 850 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 about 50-51 workers, and generates $12 million annually.

    • The boat building industry consists of about 850 firms that employ about 43,200 workers and generate almost $10 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

                              Mar 17, 2023 - Boat Sales Dip in 2022
                              • The number of boats sold was down 4.3% in 2022 compared with 2019, as the total number of boats sold declined globally for the first time since the pandemic-driven boom, according to data from the Boats Group in RV PRO. However, the global average boat value increased by 29.5% in 2022 compared to 2019. Trident Funding, a leading marine lending company, reported that boat loan applications were up by 80% in 2022 compared to 2021, although the loans have been smaller than in 2021. Inventory levels are also improving, as listings were 4.5% below 2019. According to Courtney Chalmers, VP of marketing at Boats Group, consumer demand is starting to soften. He added, “The effects of the demand and supply chain disruption during the pandemic are also still very apparent. Boats continue to move off the market faster and sales remain higher than before the surge.”
                              • US manufacturing activity contracted in February 2023, falling below the baseline for growth for the fourth consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The Manufacturing PMI registered 47.7 in February, a slight change from the 47.4 recorded in January. A reading above 50% indicates manufacturing expansion. In February, the ISM’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to 47.4%, down from 48.4% in January. February’s New Orders Index remained in the contraction zone at 47%. The February Production Index decreased slightly to 47.3%. Of the manufacturing industries tracked by the ISM, four reported growth in February: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Transportation Equipment; Petroleum & Coal Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components. Fourteen sectors reported contraction, including Computer & Electronic Products, Fabricated Metal Products, Nonmetallic Mineral Products, Plastics & Rubber Products, Primary Metals, Textile Mills, and Wood Products.
                              • About two-thirds of boat dealers expect new-boat retail unit sales to fall in 2023, according to January’s Pulse Report in Soundings Trade Only. For the report, Baird Research and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas surveyed nearly 100 dealers about their outlook for 2023. About a fifth of dealers expect growth in 2023, and 12% expect flat sales. Dealers surveyed saw a decline in both new (66%) and used (62%) boat sales in December 2022. Factors harming the business include limited access to credit, the economy, a slowdown in trade-in activity, and government action/inaction. Nearly 60% of dealers said their new-boat inventory was too high, while about 20% said they didn’t have enough product. For used-boat inventory, 40% of dealers said it was too low, while 32% said they had too many preowned models in stock.
                              • New powerboat retail unit sales fell in 2022 by an estimated 15 to 18 percent, to an estimated 250,000 units sold, according to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). The change normalizes the sales to pre-pandemic growth years (2015-2019), and early indications show that retail unit sales in 2023 are expected to remain on par with 2022. Demand was strong in 2022 for entry-level boats such as personal watercraft, freshwater aluminum, fiberglass fishing boats, and pontoon boats less than 26 feet. According to Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA president, “Last year was a healthy year for recreational boating with momentum coming off of record sales in 2021 due to continued demand and the fact that supply chain shortages prevented our industry from overproducing like we saw happen in other sectors over the past two years.”
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