The demand for boats reportedly remained strong during the first half of 2023 as inventory levels continued to recover from the buying surge during the pandemic, according to the latest market report from Boats Group. The Boats Group analyzed data from its businesses, Boat Trader, YachtWorld and, from the first half of the year through 2019.

“Early indicators like days on the market, number of listings and overall boat value are contributing factors to understanding the health of the boating industry, and what we are seeing is a very positive trajectory,” said Courtney Chalmers, vice president of marketing at Boats Group. “Consumers have continued to show a high level of interest in boating, creating a favorable position for brokers and dealers as inventory levels ramp up.”

Boats Group said the industry continued to overcome inventory shortages, specifically in the larger boat segments, as the total volume of boats sold was down 9.8 percent compared to 2019. On the other hand, recovery is “well underway” as Boat Trader, YachtWorld and having collectively seen a growth of 56 percent in listings compared to the first half of 2022.

While boats are selling more quickly in 2023 than in 2019, the average days on the market increased slightly for the first time since the boating boom, further indicating a domestic and international recovery in inventory.

The global average number of days boats are on the market during the first half of 2023 was 187 compared to 261 days in 2019, suggesting a sustained level of consumer demand.

Boat prices worldwide have reportedly maintained stability compared to the previous year, although there has been an upsurge of nearly 20 percent compared to the values observed in 2019. The substantial increase reinforces that consumer demand has continued to elevate overall boat value.

“We are constantly monitoring marketplace trends and looking for key information that can support both our customers and consumers in making well-informed decisions,” said Chalmers. “The current influx of new inventory presents an opportunity for us to strengthen the perception of boating’s value, particularly among those who are new to the experience.”

Many brokers and dealers prioritized the movement of new inventory after facing years of supply chain challenges.

A recent survey by Boat Trader found that a significant number of younger private sellers, who purchased boats within the last one to three years, are eager to upgrade their vessels, with Millennials representing the majority at 49 percent. The company said this is a promising trend that indicates a high probability of brokers and dealers selling their replenished inventory to meet the demands of these buyers.

Photo courtesy Marine Industry News