Recreational Boating in the US by Product and Region, 11th Edition

Personal Watercraft: The Rec Lite Movement

Rec Boating

For most new boat buyers, price is an important consideration. Even a small vessel is a big investment. Hoping to relieve monetary stress and appeal to new demographics, manufacturers of personal watercraft have released entry-level models known as Rec Lite in recent years, including the Sea-Doo SPARK and the WaveRunner EX series. By offering a high performing vessel at a more affordable price, personal watercraft now appeal to a larger customer base.

Key Findings in the Recreational Boating Study:

Consumer Spending and Access to Credit Spur Boat Purchases

Years of steady improvement in the US economy have offered consumers the financial flexibility to purchase a first new boat or upgrade from an older vessel. Moreover, interest rates remain relatively low, making credit more affordable, and home values and equity are increasing, giving homeowners more value on which to finance luxury purchases. Looking forward, the health of the US economy will be vital to the boating industry’s growth.

Outboards Have Fueled the Boating Industry Recovery

As the industry continues to recover, outboard powerboats have steadily taken market share from other powerboats, particularly sterndrive. Moreover, the popularity of outboards has prevented inboards from reaching pre-recession shares of demand. While outboards have always held a significant portion of the market, consumer demand has expanded in recent years. Outboard motors are favored for their low price, performance, easy maintenance, and upgradability. They also allow for more room on the boat for activities. Moreover, many boat companies now offer multiple outboard engines, enabling their use in larger boats that require greater power.

Technology Has Made Boating Easier

Boats are increasingly augmented with features like joystick controls, digital throttles, virtual anchors, and digital dashboards. These innovations have allowed experienced boaters to focus more on their recreational activity. Furthermore, they provide novices with added confidence when making a first-time boat purchase.

Study Coverage

This study presents historical data (2007, 2012, and 2017) and forecasts for 2022 by product (recreational boats, propulsion systems, boating accessories) and by region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) in units and US dollars. Recreational boats include outboard powerboats, inboard powerboats, sterndrive powerboats, personal watercraft, sailboats, and other types of boats. The study also evaluates key industry players, market shares and analysis of consumer survey data.

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