Even though fuel prices are sky-rocketing we have seen an all-time high in the boat market in Sweden. It all started during the first summer of the pandemic when it was impossible to travel abroad for vacation. Instead many Swedes started to buy boats, both new and used, and much more time was spent on the water. The boat dealers and the manufacturers were more or less sold out and many buyers had to wait up to 12 months before their boat was delivered.
Sweden is besides Norway and New Zealand the country in the world with the highest number of boats per capita. It is estimated that the total number of leisure boats are around one million and every year 25 000 new boats are sold. The majority of the new boats are smaller boats with engines between 10 to 300 hp. The value of the total market is around 600 million Euro and during the pandemic the increase was estimated to around 30%.
One trend the last couple of years is that more buyers are looking for boats where the family can stay overnight which means that the average size of boat is increasing. We have also seen that the boating season has been longer compared to previous years. Nowadays, it is not only June and July that is popular, but families are also out boating in August.
The question is how long this strong market will continue given the high inflation, increasing fuel prices and interest rates? According to people that attended the latest Boat Shows, the number of visitors are still high and the exhibitors are reporting strong sales. My judgement is that we are coming closer to a more normal boat market and that we will see a decline in sales of new boats the coming years.
However, the trend to spend more time on the water will remain!
Björn Ingemanson, GMBA Sweden
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