A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

2013 predictions: ‘Fiscal cliff’ or modest growth?

So just what will 2013 hold for the marine industry?

During the next several weeks we will be pushing out in print, on the Web and digitally the predictions of 22 leaders who represent a broad swath of our industry. There is common ground and there are differences, as you’d expect from such a large group of prognosticators.

The so-called “fiscal cliff” casts a shadow in a number of the forecasts.

Although many economists believe that failing to resolve the $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts will send us back into recession, most anticipate that some sort of agreement will be reached, if not before the end of 2012, then sometime in January.

The rancor and uncertainty are already having an impact. In early December the preliminary consumer sentiment index from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan declined sharply to 74.5, the lowest level in four months. The November figure of 82.7, by contrast, had been the highest in 4-1/2 years.

Part of the reason for the steep decline was concern about whether an agreement to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts will be worked out sooner rather than later.

Here’s a short preview of 2013 from three of our forecasters:

Mount Dora Boating Center & Marina owner Joe Lewis expects modest growth in 2013 for those who offer superior value and exceptional customer service. “We’ll need to continue to work hard for every sale, regardless of whether it’s a boat, added service work on a repair ticket or a new storage customer,” he says.

Social media expert Gaspare Marturano says new smart phone apps that enhance the boating experience will become more of a focus this year. “Better smart phone applications will improve the live boat show experience, and new exciting virtual boating games will encourage the younger generation,” he says.

NMMA president Thom Dammrich says the industry will have to attract a younger and more diverse audience if it is going to get back to selling 300,000 new boats a year (143,000 were sold in 2011). “We must offer innovative, smart, fun, high-quality boats, gear and engines to keep existing boaters interested and attract new boaters,” he says.

We’d all like to see less partisan politics and more cooperation this year, but that’s more a wish than a prediction.


4 comments on “2013 predictions: ‘Fiscal cliff’ or modest growth?

  1. George

    One will discover what is really on the horizon when a short booklet written by David Horowiz. Discovering the belief system taught by Saul Alinsky was and is an obsession of barak obama. Campaign slogans and speeches in the 2008 & 2012 campaign confirm where we are headed and by what method. I for one am not optimistic with the termination of the Bush tax cuts and the destructive obamacare on the on the economy. As usual the Republicans will cave leaving a stagnant economy and high unemployment at best.

  2. AnonymousBob

    Nice regurgitation of Fox talking points, George. People like you will continue to drag our industry backwards as you fight the changes in the faces of our customers. You go ahead and keep your head in the sand as I continue to take, and profit from, your customers. Thank you in advance!

  3. C Moore

    Why is the Trol known as ABob not filtered here?
    We who read this daily know whats coming when we see his handle.
    Every time one of the progressives key words pops up , like “Obama”, appears in one of these Soundings comments post, Abob appears. His response to George took less than 11 minutes. Now that’s fast!!
    Over the recent years it is so apparent he is a political hack trol who has nothing to do with the boating industry or a boat dealership. He and a few of his other fake handles never write when the subject has to do with more boating specific dealer issues, only those that drift towards the political.
    We all know it will be tough sledding going “Forward” as they say.
    I have yet to see the administration back american boat builders or dealers.
    Merry Christmas, Happy Chanuka, & I hope we all have a Happy New Year..
    Seasons Greeting to everyone else…

  4. AnonymousBob

    C Moore:
    It’s spelled “troll” with 2 L’s.
    My response was 24 hours and 11 minutes later.
    If you’re going to bash me, at least look a little more intelligent so it will be a fair “fight”.

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