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Global Recreational Boat Market - Outlook and Forecast 2022-2027
The global recreational boat market experienced significant growth in recent years, reaching a value of USD 38.34 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 59.12 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 7.48%. Recreational boats are used for activities such as cruising, watersports, and fishing, with cruising being particularly popular in developed regions like North America and Europe. The demand for boating activities has been driven by factors such as increased urbanization and improved living standards.
The market can be classified into product, activity, and power segments to capture the diverse demands of consumers. Established markets in Europe and North America are expected to continue witnessing high demand for recreational boats, especially as commercial adoption of boats increases in these regions. This presents vendors with numerous opportunities for growth. Additionally, the changing market dynamics, including the growing number of recreational boat users, create a demand for marine infrastructure.
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USD 38.3 billion in 2020
Type, Power, Activity, Boat Size, Engine Type, and Region
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In terms of technological advancements, there are several noteworthy trends. Boats with inbuilt tracking devices that utilize GPS technology for location monitoring have become increasingly popular. This helps in emergency situations as it enables quick and accurate location identification for emergency services. The boat tracking market surpassed USD 425.18 million in 2021.
Joystick steering systems have been introduced to attract the younger generation by providing a gaming-like experience. This system consolidates helm controls into a single location and allows users to tilt and twist the controller to maneuver the boat in water.
Self-sailing boats represent the future of sailing, where boaters can enjoy their time with family while the sailboat navigates on a pre-defined route. Examples include projects like the Roboat developed by MIT and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions.
Automatic positioning systems act as virtual anchors for boats, using GPS satellites to maintain the current position. This technology allows boaters to explore their surroundings without worrying about leaving their boats unattended.
Digital dashboards with touch-enabled displays have been introduced, enabling users to control their boats with simple touchscreen interactions. Fly-by-wire technology in digital throttles and shifts provides reliable performance, surpassing traditional mechanical parts.
The market for electric boats has experienced significant growth due to advancements in technology. Electric propulsion, particularly hybrid systems where the electric motor doubles as a generator, is gaining popularity in the leisure sector. Electric boats offer benefits such as reduced emissions, noise, operating costs, and ease of maintenance.
Boating has also raised concerns regarding its environmental impact. Powerboats, in particular, contribute to long-term harm to ocean species and ecosystems. Issues include water pollution, damage to aquatic species, and air pollution caused by powerboat emissions. Chemicals used in cleaning, protection, and boat operation can contaminate the water, leading to the poisoning and death of marine wildlife.
Despite these concerns, the demand for boating continues to rise, especially as people seek outdoor activities amidst the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Retail unit sales of new powerboats exceeded 300,000 units in 2021, marking the second consecutive year of growth, with an increase in the five-year average sales.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including type, power, activity, boat size, engine type, and region.
Segmentation by Type
Personal Watercraft Boats (PWC)
Segmentation by Power
Segmentation by Activity
Segmentation by Boat Size
30-50 Feet Boats
>50 Feet Boats
Segmentation by Engine Type
Ice and Electric
Segmentation by Geography
North America – US, Canada
Europe – Italy, The Netherlands, UK, Germany, France, Poland, Spain, Norway
APAC – Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Korea, Malaysia
Latin America – Brazil, Mexico, Argentina
Middle East & Africa – South Africa, UAE
Outboard boats are highly popular in the North American region and have emerged as one of the largest selling boat types. The demand for outboard boats is primarily driven by advancements in technology and their performance capabilities. These boats offer various advantages, including versatility, enhanced performance, ease of use, and a wide range of options.
The commercial application of engine-powered boats, driven by the growing coastal tourism industry worldwide, is expected to experience significant growth in demand for outboard engines. The development of high-powered motors will further encourage the use of these engines in tourist boats. Engine-powered boats are among the most widely used boats in the global recreational boating market.
Developing regions like the Asia-Pacific (APAC) have witnessed a notable increase in the passenger base. Mainland China, for example, dominates the Asian market and accounted for approximately 50% of the Asian passenger volume in 2021. Several factors contribute to the growth of the cruise industry globally, including strong economic recovery and an increase in cruise ship capacity.
Boats in the 30-50 feet size range provide ample storage space, allowing for more amenities and larger tank sizes. The tanks in these boats are suitable for long-term cruising and can accommodate additional extra tanks if needed. This category includes cabin cruisers, express cruisers, and performance boats.
Currently, internal combustion engines (ICEs) remain the leading propulsion technology in the marine industry. ICEs are heat engines where fuel is ignited to produce heat, resulting in motion and mechanical energy. The system involves micro-explosions of a compressed mixture of air and fuel, high-pressure fuel injection, and friction between metal parts.
While established markets like Europe and North America are experiencing new sales demands, rental demand for boating services remains significant. On the other hand, emerging markets such as APAC, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America are still developing their boating markets. These markets have gained a considerable share in the global market over the past two years. North America held the largest market share for recreational boats in 2021, with a revenue share of 46.24%. In the US specifically, recreational boat demand accounted for 91.72% of the revenue share in 2021. In APAC, Japan is an established market for recreational boats, while countries like China, India, and South Korea are still developing their markets in terms of demand. Additionally, the global market has witnessed intense competition in recent years, particularly in terms of new product launches and pricing strategies.
The global recreational boat market exhibits a fragmented nature, and this fragmentation is anticipated to intensify in the forecast period. A considerable number of vendors, both global and domestic, operate across various geographic regions.
In recent years, competition among these key players has grown more intense. Developed countries like the US and Western European nations experience a high level of market concentration, while developing economies such as China and India are witnessing market growth due to the entry of several international brands. Vendors compete based on their product offerings and pricing strategies. To drive growth, they are adopting new business models and expanding the portfolios of their established products. Moreover, there is a notable shift in focus towards luxury yachts, which presents significant opportunities for vendors in the forecast period.
Key companies profiled in this report include Azimut-Benetti Group, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), Brunswick Corporation, Ferretti, Groupe Beneteau, Albemarle Boats, Baja Marine, Bavaria Yachts, Bertram Yachts, Princess Yachts, Boston Whaler Boats, Catalina Yachts, Correct Craft, Custom Weld Boats, Duckworth Boats, Explorer Industries, Fountain Powerboats, Godfrey, Grady-White Boats, Grand Banks Yachts, HanseYachts, High Caliber, Hobie, Lund, Malibu, Marine Products Corporation, Marlow Hunter, Maverick Boat Group, MCBC Holdings, Pacific Asian Enterprises, Porter, Sunseeker, Thunder Jet, Viking Yacht, White River Marine Group, Yamaha, Zodiac Marine & Pool.
Key Questions Answered
WHAT IS THE SIZE OF THE GLOBAL RECREATIONAL BOAT MARKET?
The global recreational boat market was valued at USD 38.34 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 59.12 billion by 2027.
WHAT IS THE ANNUAL GROWTH RATE OF THE GLOBAL RECREATIONAL BOAT MARKET?
The global recreational boat market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.48%.
WHO ARE THE MAJOR PLAYERS IN THE RECREATIONAL BOATING MARKET?
The key players in the recreational boating market include Azimut-Benetti Group, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), Brunswick Corporation, Ferretti, and Groupe Beneteau.
WHAT ARE THE DRIVING FACTORS BEHIND THE GROWTH OF THE GLOBAL RECREATIONAL BOAT MARKET?
The major factors driving the growth of the recreational boat market are the increasing demand for outboard power boats, the growing participation in leisure boating activities in Europe, and the rise in expenditure on luxury products and services.
WHAT ARE THE LATEST TRENDS OBSERVED IN THE GLOBAL RECREATIONAL BOAT MARKET?
The latest trends in the global recreational boat market include advancements in marine technology, the emergence of opportunities in the electric boat industry, and the growth of the marine tourism sector.
WHICH REGION HOLDS THE LARGEST MARKET SHARE IN THE RECREATIONAL BOAT INDUSTRY?
North America is expected to hold the largest share in the recreational boat market.