The Bigger the Boat, the Bigger the Price Increase
Since 2020, the boating industry has experienced a boom, as lockdowns drove people towards outdoor recreation. Because of sky-high demand and snarled supply chains, boat prices rose sharply. Between 2021 and 2022, we saw a 10% increase in average MSRPs for boats.
Prices are still rising this year, with outboards and sterndrives seeing the largest increases. And the size of the boat makes a difference. “This year, we’re seeing that the prices of smaller outboards and sterndrives are rising slowly while larger boat prices are increasing more quickly,” says Sam Pierce, Sales Engineer for Randall Reilly.
Increases are Highest for Outboards
Year-over-year, outboard MSRP values increased by 62%, with large, expensive boats such as Sportsfisherman, Sports Cruisers, and Sports Roundabouts, all averaging MSRP upwards of $300,000, skewing the data upward. Looking at the most popular subtypes for this category—center consoles and fish and ski boats—we can see how prices for smaller options rose at a slower pace than those for larger items.
Chart 1: Outboard MSRP Values 2021-2023
While prices for small center consoles rose by 3%, medium sized center consoles rose by 26%. Values for fish and ski boats followed a similar trajectory. Small fish and ski boat prices rose by 22% and medium-sized fish and ski boats rose by 28%.
Sterndrives See the Second-Highest Increase
Sterndrive boat values have risen 22% compared to last year. When we look at the most popular subtypes—runabouts and ski boats—we see the same trends that we do with outboards.
Chart 2: Small, Medium Ski and Runabouts MSRP Values 2021-2023
Small runabout boat MSRP values have increased by 1%, while medium-sized runabout values increased by 11%. Prices for small ski boats increased by 3% year-over-year, while medium-sized ski boats increased by 18%.
Price Increases for Pontoon Boats Reverse the Trend
Pontoon boat values, which rose by 7% year-over-year, didn’t follow the same trend as outboards and sterndrives. Pontoon boats come in three sizes, in order from smallest to largest: subcompact 0-20 feet, compact 21-30 feet, and small (which is actually pretty large!) 31-40 feet. Subcompact MSRP prices rose 14% between 2022 and 2023, while compact and small prices rose 7% each.
Chart 3: Pontoon Boat MSRP Values 2021-2023.
Small = 31-40 ft., Compact = 21-30 ft., Subcompact = 0-20 ft.
Interest in Boating is Still High, and Inventories are Returning to Normal
According to boat dealers, rising prices and interest rates are causes for concern, but they haven’t completely diminished interest in boating. In its most recent survey of boat dealers, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas found that many reported strong interest at winter boat shows. And inventory levels seem to finally be rebounding. Fifty-eight percent of new boat dealers said they have too much inventory.
Boat Values by Price Digests
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