Boat Dealers

Industry Profile Report

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

Industry Overview Industry Structure, How Firms Opertate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

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

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

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 3,500 boat dealers in the US sell new and used boats and related products and services. Related products and services include motors, parts, and accessories; parts and labor for maintenance or repair work; and motorized sports vehicles (ATVs, snowmobiles). Dealers may also facilitate financing, offer slip and storage facilities, provide boat brokerage services, or offer extended service contracts.

Seasonal Sales

The boating industry is highly seasonal and sales peak during the summer, when weather is conducive to water-related activity.

Dependence on Credit

Both dealers and boat buyers depend on access to credit to fund purchases.

Industry size & Structure

The average boat dealer operates out of a single location, employs 9-10 workers, and generates about $4-5 million annually.

    • The boat dealer industry consists of about 3,500 companies that employ about 34,200 workers and generate about $15 billion annually.
    • The industry is fragmented; the top 50 firms account for 31% of industry sales.
    • Large companies include West Marine and MarineMax.
    • The majority of the recreational boating industry involves the use of small boats (26 feet or less in size).
    • Pre-owned boats accounted for about 76% of all boat sales in 2020.
                                Industry Forecast
                                Boat Dealers Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Coronavirus Update

                                May 14, 2022 - Electric-Powered Power Boats
                                • Eco-conscious boating enthusiasts now have an electric option. The Arc Boat Company in March launched the all-electric Arc One, a 24-foot cruiser developed from scratch to address the challenges posed by battery-operated boats. While electric boats are easier to maintain, cleaner to operate and quieter, they’re also heavy because they’re powered by a very large battery, which reduces their speed, according to Axios. The new EB is also very expensive: The Arc One will sell for about $300,000, according to Axios, about twice the price of typical premium sports boats. Mercury Marine, whose engines power about half of all recreational boats in the US, recently introduced the first of five new electric outboard models coming by 2023.
                                • If demand for boat slips is any indication, boat owners appear to be shrugging off the prospect of high summer gas prices and planning to take to the water in droves this summer, Wanderlust Group CEO Mike Melillo told FOX Business in April 2022. Citing data from his company's marina reservation app and boater relationship platform, Melillo says he’s seen a 40% increase in bookings for slips made through the app compared to a year ago. Ahead of the prime summer boating season, the platform isn't "seeing a drop in demand" either, Melillo said, adding bookings for slips for the summer are up almost 100% year over year.
                                • A new trade deal between the US and UK will eliminate retaliatory tariffs on US exports to the UK, including those on American-made boats and marine engines, according to Boating Industry. The tariffs in place since 2018, led to a 25% upcharge on industry products shipped to the UK and resulted in a 60% decline in exports to the country. In exchange, the trade deal eases US tariffs on aluminum and steel imported from the UK. Lower priced raw materials are also good for the boat manufacturing industry.
                                • The global market for marine diesel engines is forecast to grow over 4% annually and reach nearly $10.6 billion in 2027, according to Market Research Future. North America dominates the market.
                                • Boat shows, which are major drivers of boat sales, are in jeopardy. A boat show in Virginia has been canceled for the second consecutive year, due to a shortage of boats and personal watercraft (PWC) to sell. High consumer demand, coupled with materials shortages and the carryover from pandemic-related labor issues continue to make it difficult for boat manufacturers to build up a supply of finished inventory for boat dealers to show. Two of four major boat shows in the St. Louis and Kansas City, MO, areas have been canceled for 2022 and the Cleveland Boat Show was moved from January to March. Other shows, including the Stuart Boat Show in Florida, went on as expected.
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