The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), a Chicago-based trade association representing producers of boats, accessories and engines for the yachting, reported a growth in the sales of new motorboats in 2017 of more than 6%, a total of about 260,000 new boats. The sales of new motorboats grew 6.5% in 2016, and for 2018 the NMMA forecast further growth of between five and 6% in the sales of new boats.
These positive forecasts for the United States yachting market are supported by encouraging signals from the main USA economic indicators: a strongly positive consumer purchasing index, influenced by the healthy national economy; growth in average incomes and spending capacity; interest rates at historically minimum levels.
In detail, the growth in the home market for new boats concerned the following segments: sport boats (ski and wake boats) more than 7%; pontoon boats between seven and 8%; water scooters up to 5 to 6%; fishing boats for the open sea more than 4%; fishing boats for coastal waters more than 2%; cabin vessels of between seven and 10 m between nine and 10%.
There is also an increase in boat sharing and charter. In economic terms, Americans spending on boats grew 3% in 2017 reaching $37 billion (€33.4 billion). More than 650,000 people work in the sector and are employed in about 35,000 small and medium-sized companies.
Boats for the local market
95% of boats produced in the USA are sold on the local market. These boats are designed for simplicity and versatility to attract the new generations: pontoon boats, day cruisers and small fishing boats aim to satisfy these requirements.
Together with incentives the boat sharing and higher, on the technical and design front new technological solutions have been adopted to make the use of boats easier and more intuitive, also the sport.
A recent study by the NMMA carried out a census of the USA yachting population focusing on new users. There are more than 142 million users with as many as 17 million new yachtsmen in the past year, 50% of them are under 18 years of age. Those interested in fishing are the most attractive category in the United States, with 83% of them owning a boat.