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Indications point to successful US boat show season


The US recreational boating industry is preparing to welcome some two million visitors to boat shows taking place between January and March.

The boat show season for the $170 billion industry starts at the beginning of each new year, and the growing interest in being on the water, which boomed during the COVID years, shows no sign of abating.

Boat dealers and manufacturers have historically generated between 30% and 50% of their annual sales at boat shows.

Recreational marine spend of $56.7 billion made 2021 the second highest year in nearly two decades, while the estimated 250,000 new units sold in 2022 – 25% above previous averages – made it another good year.

Now, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports that early indications point to continued healthy demand this year, with new retail unit sales expected to remain on par with last year.

Manufacturers continue to manage production and inventory pipelines following two years of supply chain bottlenecks, helping prevent the over-production problems experienced in some other sectors.

“With boat shows fully returning following two years of limited events due to COVID, we’ve already seen encouraging sales reports within certain categories, coupled with consumers continuing to invest in the unique experiences that come from being on the water,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA President.

Recreational boating and fishing are the number one contributors to America’s near-billion dollar outdoor recreation economy. And dozens of boat shows – including Discover Boating’s 10-show series– will be held over the next three months.

“Our extensive research to better understand boaters shows local boat events are a consistent favourite given the sense of community they create by bringing together boaters of all interests, access to local dealers and new models in one place,” said the NMMA’s Senior VP of Marketing and Communications, Ellen Bradley.

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