Boat sales took off during the pandemic and now dealers can’t keep up

According to cnbc

Boat sales skyrocketed last year during the coronavirus pandemic as more Americans turned to the lifestyle amid more flexible work environments that allowed people to spend extra time enjoying the outdoors.

Sales of boats, marine products and services across the country leaped to a 13-year high in 2020 to $47 billion, increasing 9% from the prior year, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The trend, which shows few signs of slowing in 2021, shocked industry players who were certain they were in for rough times as the pandemic shut down the economy. Now, dealerships are struggling to maintain inventory and manufacturers are expanding production capacity to meet demand. Wait times for buyers have jumped from a few weeks to several months. What’s more, first-time buyers are entering the market in larger numbers, a sign that the growth has staying power.

Eric Wold, an analyst at B. Riley, notes that uncertainty remains with new Covid variants popping up even as vaccine rollouts accelerate, concerns that could keep consumers’ interest in boating strong in 2021.

“There’s still not a lot of certainty in terms of when the economy’s going to reopen with the vaccine rollout, so the demand that we saw last year will at least continue into this year, and that’s going to continue to drive production for the manufacturer for at least a couple of years,” he said.

Owning a boat can be a pricey endeavor. With personal watercraft prices averaging $13,000, boating is usually seen as a hobby reserved for the wealthy. But according to marine association President Frank Hugelmeyer, 61% of boaters have an annual household income of $75,000 or less.

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