|Boat sales have soared during the pandemic, while car and airplane sales have plummeted due to travel restrictions and reduced mobility. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), boat and marine gear sales reached $47 billion in 2020, a 9% increase from the previous year and a 13-year high. Freshwater fishing boats, pontoons, personal watercraft, and wake boats all saw an increase in sales.
This trend is largely driven by younger, first-time boat buyers, a demographic that historically hasn’t been the industry’s main market. However, over 100 million Americans report going boating every year, making it a popular outdoor recreational activity. The majority of boaters have a household income of less than $75,000 per year, but they collectively make up a $12 billion industry. There are approximately 4,300 boat dealers catering to their needs.
Boats have benefited from a combination of factors, including remote work schedules, travel restrictions, and timing. Boating season typically runs from April to October, coinciding with 2020 lockdowns. This trend is not unique to boats; bicycles, RVs, and electric scooters also saw a surge in sales. Those who invested in boat-related stocks in March of last year are likely having a lot of fun.