Boat Manufacturers Statistics
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Boat Market Statistics

Boat Building Market Statistics

Boating Statistics

by Polson Enterprises
Research Services

Market research, extensive data and market statistics on the power boat industry, marine drives, boat building, boat manufacturers, boat dealers, marinas, related industries, boating and boaters.

Note, while we have tried to categorize the materials, many sources overlap several categories. We suggest you browse the entire page.

This page does NOT cover PWC's (Personal Water Craft) OR Sailboats

Boat market research statistics tend to fall into several categories:

We, Polson Enterprises, and a few other companies specialize in providing boating industry market reseach. We tend to be more technical oriented and focused on the future, while they tend to focus on other areas (registration databases, market share data).

Some comments concerning the quality of data available.

Top level data (full U.S. data) from several sources below is usually relatively current and somewhat accurate. Much of it is aggregated from state registration data and each state counts things a bit different. Segment data (bass boats, houseboats, pontoons, 14-18 ft. aluminum boat annual sales, geographical sales data, etc.) is a little harder to find. Outside the United States, Canada probably leads the rest of the world in data quality and availability, but they are quite a ways behind the U.S. Reporting in many other countries is dismal, making segmentation, other than megayachts very difficult in many regions of the world. In almost all cases, the larger the boats you are looking for, the more reliable the statistics.

Overview of the Industry

A few sources overview the entire industry.

Boat Production and Boat Population Statistics

An attempt has been made to list the resources below in the order you might find them most helpful in rapidly gaining a statistical understanding of the boating industry. The free (or nearly free), most widely available resources with good general overviews are listed first, followed by resources that may prove more difficult or costly to access.

International Statistics

Yacht Statistics and Megayacht Statistics and Market Information

There has been considerable interest in this category in recent years so we are listing some of the data and market research sources specific to this segment below. Because many are built outside the United States some foreign sources are also provided.

Customer Satisfaction Index / Survey

Prospective Boat Owners and Barriers to Boat Ownership

Market Share Data

Market Share data seems to be what everyone wants and it is the hardest to come by. Many large firms spend a lot of money trying to estimate market share. Some estimates of boat builder market share can be found in the annual reports of firms in the industry (see Annual Reports entry in Boat Production and Boat Population Statistics section above). Other estimates can be found (or computed from) in articles published by Statistical Surveys, Inc. in the trade magazine, Soundings Trade Only. Still more estimates can be found in news items, court filings, and press releases. Local estimates can be made by field counts at lakes on holidays. Population market share can also be estimated by watching the number of boats for sale in online and classified listings. Most seeking high quality data utilize one of the industry research firms.

An article titled, Brunswick Growing in Two Directions, appearing on page 40 in a section titled Independent's Day of the Sept/Oct 2004 issue of Boating Industry magazine has a great chart showing U.S. annual boat production by major boat manufacturers from 1999 to 2003. It specifically charts Yamaha, Tracker, OMC, Brunswick, Genmar, three groups of independent boat builders (ABA, UMMA, IBBI) and other. That information can be used to create a corresponding market share chart. The data comes from Info-Link Technologies.

Outboard Motors from Japan - 180 page report released on in February 2005 on the Yamaha - Mercury outboard dumping case by the U.S. International Trade Commission. Investigation No. 731-TA-1069 contains some outboard market share information. Some of it is blacked out (represented by ***). Several documents referenced by the report contained the data now blacked out when they were first posted online by the USITC. We have copies of the original documents.

Our Marine Stern Drive Production Volumes and Market Shares: An Overview identifies stern drive manufacturers, provides current and historical market share data.

Other marine drive market share estimates can be found in some of the annual reports, court filings or be made by field counts, boat show counts, trying to estimate drive types from registration data and other means. None of them are very easy.

Gale Research prints an annual titled, Market Share Reporter: An Annual Compilation of Reported Market Share Data on Companies, Products, and Services". The Market Share Reporter reproduces market share reports from a wide variety of resources and usually includes some entries in the boating industry. This publication is available in many major libraries. OSU Call Number #380.105 M345.

How People "Feel" About Boating

Marina Industry Statistics

Diesel Powerboat Market

For a great review including market shares, engines, repower, frequency of dual engines, percent by boat types, lengths, etc, see:

North American Diesel Powerboat Market Still Facing Choppy Seas
Diesel Progress North American Edition
November 2007
Pgs. 80-85

A Rising Tide? A Perspective on the North American Diesel Powerboat Market
Diesel Progress North American Edition
August 2004
Pgs. 40-45

Marine Engine RePower / Rebuilt / Rebuild / Remanufacturing Market

Company Directories & Company Profiles

Boat Dealer and Marine Retail Statistics

Number of People Boating

Boating Safety Statistics / Boating Accident Statistics

The U.S. Coast Guard supplies an annual report on boating accident statistics.

Economic Impact of Boating / The Cost of Boating

Many papers have been written on the economic impact of boating in certain geographical regions. Some have been written on the cost of boating.

One recent excellent paper in this area is:

Estimating Recreational Boater Expenditures on 
    Trips and Boating Use in a Wave Survey
by Hee-Chan Lee
Leisure Sciences
Vol. 24 No.4. Pgs. 381-397 (2003)
In July 2007, the Association of Marina Industries (AMI) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) opened a web site for calculating economic impact of general boating areas, a marina, a group of marinas, and even for a specific boat ramp. Much of the data by boat size behind the model is available in an article in Marine Dock Age, Sept. 2007 titled, "AMI and NMMA Offer Free Economic Impact Web Site". Pgs. 34 & 38.

Several other economic impact of boating papers can be found on our Economic Impact of Boating Folder.

Availability of Resources (open water, lakes, boat ramps, marina slips, etc)

Research Firms Specializing in Boating Industry Statistics

Boat Building Industry Trade Magazines

The following magazines primarily cover the industry from the perspective of those in it, most are not consumer magazines. Most also have a web site, but much of their content is only available in the paper issues. Some can be searched in online databases available at public libraries.

Trade Associations

Independent Boat Builder Buying Groups

The industry is dominated by two very large players, each owning several boat companies. To raise their volumes and compete more effectively, several Independent builders have joined together to increase their buying power (reduce their costs). They are even able to reduce their costs associated in doing business with one of their larger competitors (ban together to purchase marine drives from Mercury Marine, a Brunswick Company).

Online Boating Discussion Groups

Much can be learned from online boating newsgroups, discussion groups, online forums, etc. Be sure to read FAQs, and search them before posting a question that may have already been asked several times. Among the major groups are:

Miscellaneous Sources

Some of these involve quite a bit of legwork and poking around, but sometimes good statistics can be found. Try searching for firms making the kind of products, boats, etc you are interested in.

OLD Data / Historical Data

We store a few "OLD" examples of the types of data available on the industry. For current data, consult the sources listed above. This section also lists a few OLD studies available from other sources.

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