By: BoatBlurb Staff
The number of first-time boat buyers surpassed 400,000 across North America in 2021. The figure matches records also set in 2020, which were spurred by a surge in recreational purchases during the pandemic, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
NMMA and Info-Link Technologies, who organize the annual survey together, announced a total of 420,000 purchases across North America in 2021.
The number of first-time boat buyers hasn't been that high since before the 2008 recession. The data includes both new and pre-owned boats.
Of all the boat purchases in 2021, a whopping 34% were made by first-time buyers.
“This is the second consecutive year we’ve seen the number of first-time boat buyers surpass 415,000 – reaching pre-recession levels – an encouraging indicator of growth for the boating industry,” said Jack Ellis, managing director, Info-Link Technologies in a joint public statement. “We expect the trajectory of first-time boat buyers to soften as boat sales begin to normalize following a record couple of years. However, 2022 should see healthy levels of new boat owners enter the market as manufacturers work to refill the pipeline and fulfill the backlog of new orders.”
It's no secret that the marine industry has been on a tear over the last two years. However, supply chain issues continue to wreak havoc upon suppliers and manufacturers despite the demand for boats and marine accessories being the strongest in decades.
“The boating industry has seen tremendous growth the last two years as more Americans discovered the freedoms, special moments and accessibility of the boating lifestyle, giving us valuable momentum and creating a strong foundation. Maintaining this momentum is especially important given potential headwinds including competition for consumer spending in the leisure market, inflation on everything from gas and groceries to furniture and apparel, continued supply chain disruptions, and the war in Ukraine,” noted Ellen Bradley, NMMA senior vice president of marketing and communications. “The industry should be thinking strategically about how to manage through these impacts while reinforcing efforts to retain new boat owners, engage longtime customers, and attract the next generation."