Marine audio sales are up by single digits, according to a CEoutlook poll, as boat sales start to creep up after a precipitous dive last year.
West Marine said its sales as of two weeks ago were up over last year in the high single- to low double-digits. Strangely, the higher end marine audio products, approaching $400 are seeing the best sales at the boating chain. “It seems the higher the price, the greater the rebound, probably because the opposite was happening [last year],”said West Marine’s senior category manager for electronics Gary Williamson.
About one in every 50 head units sold so far this year are marine, or about 41,000 units year-to-date through April, said the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Average selling prices run about $100. The CEA just resumed tracking the category so there are no comparisons to last year. Marine audio head units, amplifiers and speakers represent a small niche in overall car electronics, but it’s still a welcome side-business for many suppliers and retailers.
JBL believes sales for the full industry are up by single digits year-to-date and says its sales are tracking at the same rate. JL Audio said its combined OEM and aftermarket marine sales are up “big time” in dollars and units. “A lot of our marine business is OEM and boat builders are building boats again. Aftermarket marine is also up significantly for JL Audio,” said VP marketing Manville Smith. Two full line car audio suppliers told us sales so far this year in marine audio are flat or slightly up.
Recreational boat sales are rebounding from their depressed levels of 2009, says The Freedonia Group. It predicts recreational boat sales will increase each year through 2014 by 10.2 percent, to $6.5 billion. View a chart of power boat sales here.
Photo: JL Audio M series marine audio amplifier