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Optimism within US marine industry reaches three-year high


Marine industry CEOs were more optimistic in the fourth quarter of the 2020 financial year than they have been for the last three years.

Their positivity has emerged from the latest Marine CEO Sentiment Survey conducted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) to assess the condition and needs of US recreational boat and marine accessory manufacturing businesses.

Following record boat sales, data shows marine CEO assessments of current conditions and short-term outlooks in Q4 were the most optimistic since the survey’s inception in 2018.

“Despite the challenges marine manufacturers faced in 2020, optimism among CEOs was strong in Q4 as the industry experienced a 13-year record increase in boat sales,” said Vicky Yu, Senior Director of Business Intelligence for the NMMA.

“Overall, the industry is continuing to face headwinds caused by COVID-19 and winter storms, particularly with supply chain disruptions causing a backlog in production. On the flip side, Q4 data shows upticks in hiring and investments in capital expenditures – indicators that the industry is cautiously scaling up to meet increased demand for new boats.”

The report’s key findings were:

  • 96% of marine CEOs reported stable or expanding business conditions
  • 64% of marine CEOs expect business conditions to further improve through the next six months
  • Another 24% expect business conditions to remain stable
  • Supply chain disruptions, such as delayed deliveries, remained a challenge for 75% of marine manufacturers in the fourth quarter, especially among boat builders
  • Labour costs and availability were identified by most manufacturers as the biggest challenges, followed by raw material costs, which have been steadily rising since the second half of 2020
  • 67% of marine manufacturers reported either modest or substantial investments in capital expenditures in the fourth quarter

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