NEWS - Green shoots showing for marine industry

NEWS - Green Shoots Showing for Marine Industry

The marine industry has seen the worst of the economic downturn and there’s reason for optimism, according to its largest player, Mercury Marine.

“I think it’s clear that as an industry we’re now on a gentle upward trend,” said Will Sangster, Mercury Marine’s Director of Sales - Australia, New Zealand & Pacific.

“The green shoots have finally begun to break through the soil,” he said.

While feeling positive about the future, Sangster said the champagne should be left in the fridge.

“There is still a long way to go, we are all still working very hard with our dealers for every sale, but there are certainly more inquiries and they’re the right sort of inquiries – people are serious about buying,” said Sangster.

While the approach of summer is no doubt helping, Sangster believes the thought of better weather is only acting as a catalyst for improved base demand.

“Understandably, repowers have been the order of the day with people wanting to continue the use of an existing boat, but we’re also seeing the start of a swing back to ‘new boats’ in some regions, with people willing to spend again if they can find the right product,” Sangster said.

Mercury said its positive stance is based on improved customer activity on the boat show circuit as well as feedback from its national dealer network.

“The dealers are much more optimistic than they were 12 months ago. The boat shows haven’t seen huge sales, but the level of inquiry is better than last year. We’re also seeing a modest pick up in pre-summer servicing within dealerships,” said Sangster.

Mercury Marine said people are not simply shopping for a bargain at the bottom of the market.

“For example, there has been fantastic level of interest in low-emission products like our fuel-injected OptiMax outboards. People are still demanding value-for-money, but not at the expense of the environment,” Sangster said.

Looking forward, Sangster believes the industry can plan for continued gentle improvement as more and more people re-enter the market confident the economy as a whole has seen the worst.

“We’ve still got our sleaves rolled up and we are going to have to continue to work very, very hard for some time yet, but I definitely see the next 12 months continuing to improve,” said Sangster.