Boating Industry

February 2017

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Page 27 of 51 28 | Boating Industry | February 2017 They say slow and steady wins the race. If this is true, the boating industry is poised for major wins. The general tone about 2016 and going into 2017 is one of optimism and expectations for slow, steady growth to continue. According to data from Statistical Surveys, Inc. through September 2016, year-over-year sales hovered around 5 to 6 percent growth. At the same time in 2015, sales were up around 6.8 percent. Ryan Kloppe, director of sales at SSI, expects that sales will eventually fall within the range of the company's prediction of 4 to 6 percent growth in 2016. While this is slower than the past two years, it is still a consider- able improvement from 1.5 percent growth three years ago. Data from Info-Link Technologies paints a similar picture. As of Sep- tember 2016, unit sales were up 6.6 percent year over year. "We've had four years now or almost five of year-over-year increases in the mid single-digit, low double-digit growth in the markets overall," said Peter Houseworth, director of client services at Info-Link. "We're on this steady, moderate growth trend that ... has an underpinning of just a couple of segments that are doing fairly well." Reports from Boating Industry readers are even more positive: 78 per- cent of respondents to our December survey said their 2016 revenue was up from 2015, with over half of all survey respondents saying that revenue was up 10 percent or higher. 2016 was always going to be hard to predict, with an impending presi- dential election and everyone waiting for the other shoe to drop with in- terest rate increases. But the end result has been positive for the industry. "Everyone was expecting higher interest rates, which still hasn't come yet. All year everyone was expecting interest rates to go up," said Kloppe. Segment by segment For the most part, 2016 didn't bring much change from category to cat- egory: The segments that were performing well – pontoons, saltwater fishing boats, ski/wake boats, PWC, outboard-powered runabouts – con- tinue to do so. However, unit sales in the sterndrive segment dropped 1.5 percent in the period ending September 2016 according to Info-Link, compared to declines of 4.5 percent and 9.5 percent in previous years. According to

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