Despite hope and positive forecasts the North American sailing industry continued to slump in 2010. The following numbers are taken from the annual report on the State of the Sailing Industry in North America produced by the Sailing Company, a division of Bonnier Corporation, which publishes Cruising World and Sailing World magazines.
Imports declined by 21% in 2010 to 190 units, a drop of 50 compared to 2009. Imports of small cruisers under 36ft increased by 9% but accounted for only 1 in 8 boats imported in 2010. Imports of larger cruisers declined by 24% versus a year ago and Multihulls declined significantly in 2010, off by 45% or 50 units.
Total North American sailboat production was down 8% or 584 units from 7,076 in 2009 to 6,492 in 2010. Small sailboats less than 20ft were down 726 units while sailboats over 20 ft saw an increase of 142 units. The 20ft to 29ft segment saw a gain of 83 units for a total of 521 units in 2010. The 30 to 35ft segment gained 4 for a total of 193 units. The 36ft to 45ft segment increased from 303 units in 2009 to 360 in 2010 while the 46ft and above dropped 2 units to 89.
At the end 2009 and one of the deepest drops in history builders were optimistic about 2010 expecting an increase of 1,225 units over 2009. Despite being so wrong about 2010 builders are even more optimistic about 2011 and are forecasting an increase of 26% or 1,654 boats over 2010.. Are they overly optimistic?. Currently the three key indicators – home purchases, auto sales and consumer confidence levels – that help forecast boat sales are giving mixed signals, home purchases dare own but consumer confidence and auto sales are up.
Posted by: James