Inventory levels bouncing back and consumer interest high, report finds

The demand for boats remained strong during the first half of the year as inventory levels continue to recover from the pandemic-era buying surge, according to the latest market report from Boats Group.

The industry continued to overcome inventory shortages, specifically in the larger boat segments, as the total volume of boats sold was down 9.8 per cent compared to 2019. On the other hand, recovery is well underway as Boat Trader, YachtWorld and boats.com have collectively seen a growth of 56 per cent 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 has increased (slightly) for the first time since the boating boom, further indicating a recovery in inventory both domestically and internationally. The global average number of days on the market during the first half of 2023 was 187 compared to 261 days in 2019, a considerable jump suggesting a sustained level of consumer demand. 

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

The global leader in online boating marketplaces analysed data from its top sites, Boat Trader, YachtWorld and boats.com.

“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,” says 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.”

“We are constantly monitoring marketplace trends and looking for key information that can support both our customers and consumers in making well-informed decisions. 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 are prioritising the movement of new inventory, especially after facing years of supply chain challenges. A recent survey by Boat Trader found 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 per cent. According to Boats Group, this promising trend indicates a high probability of brokers and dealers selling their replenished inventory to meet the demands of these buyers. 

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