According to a new report from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), pre-owned boat sales nationwide exceeded one million units in 2020 for the first time since 2006 to reach 1.05 million boats, an 8.6% increase compared to 2019.
NMMA’s newly released 2020 U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract includes retail unit sales data, retail market values, average price information, and pre-owned boat sales trends from 2008-2020. According to NMMA, prices on older boats are surging due to strong demand and bottle necks in the supply chain for new boats.
In four boat categories listed in the report – inboard cruisers, sterndrive boats, jet boats and sailboats – the vast majority of sales (between 91% and 97%) were boats of fiberglass construction, while outboard engine powered boats made up the majority of the pre-owned market in 2020, accounting for 60.9% of all sales.
Other leading indicators of a surge in angling and boating participation comes by way of a 2020 report released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the United States Department of Commerce which shows conventional outdoor recreation activities (such as bicycling, boating, hiking, hunting, fishing, etc.) accounted for 37.4% of U.S. outdoor recreation value added, up from 30.6% in 2019. This increase was due in large part to higher spending on boating and fishing. According to the BEA report, boating and fishing was the largest conventional activity for the nation, up nearly 30% compared to 2019.
“Americans have faced a number of challenges and uncertainty since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing is certain – recreational boating and fishing provided a much-needed outlet for millions of Americans, and continues to be a major economic driver,” said NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer, adding “Looking ahead, we expect consumer interest and sales to remain strong through 2021 and beyond as Americans continue to discover the benefits and joys of being on the water.”
According to the BEA report, declines in travel and tourism had an outsized impact on outdoor recreation’s overall economic activity and related outdoor segments may continue to struggle, however it said that outdoor participation soared, especially close-to-home recreation, highlighting the importance of better access to the outdoors for all communities.
This is the fourth consecutive year that BEA has released government data on the outdoor recreation sector. The release shows how the outdoor industry, despite the impact of widespread public lands and business closures, suspended trips and travel, gathering restrictions, supply chain issues and more, continues to support communities across the country during the pandemic. NMMA said that prior to 2020, the BEA analysis showed that the outdoor recreation economy was growing faster than the economy as a whole in every indicator and served as a resilient economic growth engine and job creator.