Finnboat

Finnish boating industry at a record pace

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For the Finnish boating industry, 2021 was a year of strong growth: the companies' turnover increased by 40 % and boat exports rose to an all-time high. The boating industry employs about 3,500 people in Finland and the net sales of Finnboat member companies is almost one billion euros.

The export success of Finnish luxury-class sailboat manufacturers continues, and in 2021 a record number of yachts were delivered to the world from the Pietarsaari region. The value of the boats rose to almost EUR 200 million. One of these boats was the nearly 46-meter-long Baltic 146 “Path”, which headed from Pietarsaari to the Mediterranean. Photo:  Eva-Stina Kjellman.
The export success of Finnish luxury-class sailboat manufacturers continues, and in 2021 a record number of yachts were delivered to the world from the Pietarsaari region. The value of the boats rose to almost EUR 200 million. One of these boats was the nearly 46-meter-long Baltic 146 “Path”, which headed from Pietarsaari to the Mediterranean. Photo: Eva-Stina Kjellman.

"The growth in the sales of small outboard motorboats under 5.5 m in Finland was in double digits for the second year in a row, which shows the importance of boating and cottage life for Finns in Covid-19 times," says Jarkko Pajusalo, CEO of the Finnish Marine Industries Federation Finnboat. In almost all product areas in the recreational marine industry, growth was constrained by component availability and global logistics issues.

International trade was very strong and demand for boats exceeded supply worldwide. The customs value of boat exports increased by 55% for the full year. According to customs statistics, the value of boat exports from Finland was almost 400 million euros in 2021. A total of almost 13,000 boats were exported to 47 countries. The full-year export invoicing of the boating industry reported by the companies was worth EUR 518 million, of which boat exports accounted for EUR 442 million. 76% of boats manufactured in Finland were delivered for export.

The most important export markets are still our western neighbours Sweden and Norway, although the British Virgin Islands rose to second place last year thanks to luxury sailing boats. The value of exports to Sweden grew by as much as 26 % and more than 6,000 boats were brought to market. Exports to Norway also grew by an exceptionally strong 21 %.

Trade with Russia as a whole is not significant for the Finnish boating industry, but has been growing in recent years, when confidence in the market was still slowly recovering. Almost two-thirds of the EUR 16 million boat exports to Russia came from re-exports of personal watercraft, but EUR 5 million worth of motorboats were also exported to the market, as well as engines and marine equipment supplies.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has far-reaching implications. The realization of country risk has taken away trust and the sanctions imposed as a result of the war will put the trade in a situation from which recovery could take decades.

Export record for luxury sailboats

The export success of Ostrobothnia's luxury-class sailboat manufacturers continues, and in 2021 a record number of yachts were delivered to the world from the Pietarsaari region. The value of the boats rose to almost EUR 200 million.

The largest export market in 2021 was the British Virgin Islands with three sailboats and a total value of 86 million euros. In second place was Italy with four sailboats and 27 million euros. Malta was the third biggest export market for sailboats with the delivery of one boat worth more than EUR 22 million.

Domestic boat registrations increased by more than 8 %

For the second year in a row, the growth of domestic boat sales was exceptionally strong. More than 5,000 new watercraft were registered last year, and the strongest growth figures were seen in small motorboats. 2023 motorboats under 5.5 m were registered, which is 14% more than in the previous year. Compared to 2018, the growth is as much as 42% and in motorboats total 36%. Although the long-term trend is an increase in the average size of boats, the increase in the registrations of motorboats in 2018-2021 has been for boats smaller than 9 m. 98% of motorboats registered in 2021 were 9 m or less in size.

The growth in sales of personal watercrafts was reversed last year and the registrations remained at the 2020 level. The registrations of inflatable / RIB boats increased by 36, which equals to as much as 52.9% growth compared to the previous year. Boats over 5.5 meters or over 20 hp must be entered in the boat register maintained by Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom. The wholesale delivery statistics reported by Finnboat member companies cover also non-registrable boats, and deliveries of motor and small boats up to 5.5 m in size increased by 45% in 2021, based on wholesale delivery statistics.

A total of 23 new sailboats were registered in Finland, which is only one more than in the previous year. For comparison, 57 new motorboats with a size of more than 10 m were first registered in Finland. The sales of new sailboats in Finland seems to have stabilized at this level of about twenty boats in recent years, while the brokerage of second-hand boats has increasingly become an international trade, which has enabled more and more people to purchase second-hand sailboats abroad.

The trade in used boats continued to be brisk. According to the boat register maintained by Traficom, a total of more than 28,000 boat ownership changes were recorded, the number of which remained at the previous year's level. For two years in a row, an exceptionally strong domestic demand has kept the trading at more than 30% higher levels than in 2019.

Registrations of watercraft in Finland 2017–2021

(pcs, source: Traficom)

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Motorboats:

2753 

2715 

2773 

3361 

3700

Sailboats: 

12 

15

26 

22 

23

Inflatable / RIB: 

67 

52 

68 

68 

104

Watercraft:

692 

1005 

1086 

1272 

1276

Other: 

53 

57

45 

46

64

Total: 

3577 

3844 

3998

4769

5167

Changes in ownership of watercraft 2017–2021

(pcs, source: Traficom):

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Motorboats:

17184 

18208

19058 

24759

23930

Sailboats: 

1143 

1081 

1141 

1593 

1573

Inflatable / RIB: 

42

50

65

112

109

Watercraft:

838

1322 

1604

2309

2723

Other: 

49

 79 

70

87

102

Total: 

19256 

20740 

21938

28860 

28437

Note. sailboat figures include motor sailors

Outboard engine deliveries up 20%

According to the wholesale delivery statistics for outboard engines reported by Finnboat member companies, 12,290 internal combustion powered outboard engines were delivered to Finland in 2021, an increase of as much as 22.8 % compared to the previous year. Nearly 80 percent of outboard motors sold in Finland have a power output of up to 60 horsepower, but the long-term trend is a decline in deliveries of small outboard motors at the same time when the market for larger outboard motors is expanding through new boat models. Last year was exceptional as there was growth in all sizes.

A total of 23,928 outboard engines were also delivered to the export market via Finland, an increase of a record 76.7%.

Electric outboard motors are especially popular in rowing boats, but last year their deliveries were hampered by the availability of components. 6,228 electric outboard motors were imported to Finland, which was 302 less than in the previous year. 1248 electric trolling motors favoured by anglers were imported to Finland, which was 882 less than in 2020, when the growth was as much as 92 % compared to the previous year.

Wholesale deliveries of inboard and sterndrive engines to Finland increased by 3 %. A total of 742 engines were delivered in Finland. Wholesale deliveries of engines for export increased by 21 % and a total of 265 inboard and sterndrive engines were delivered for export.

Imports of watercraft are growing by more than 40%

Last year, most watercrafts were imported to Finland from Mexico. The value of Mexican imports rose by almost 70% and virtually all of the more than 6,000 units were personal watercraft. Most of them entered the EU via Finland and were further exported to other parts of Europe. Slightly more than 1,200 new personal watercrafts remained for sale in Finland.

Other imports of about 8,000 units were mainly motorboats and small watercrafts. In terms of value, the biggest country was Poland, with an increase of 18% (EUR 11.6 million, 396 pcs).

Import statistics for the 5 largest countries in 2021:

M €

pcs

Growth %

Mexico 

47.2 

6087 

68%

Poland 

11.6

396 

18.1%

Sweden 

3.6

528 

62.2%

USA 

2.3

352

 -13.6%

United Kingdom 

2.1

499

 -52.2%

total imports 

78.2 

14314 

42.6%

Export statistics for the 10 largest countries in 2021:

M €

pcs

Growth %

Sweden

95.1

6244 

25.6%

Britt. Virgin Islands 

85.7 

3

-

Norway 

58.2 

3346 

20.7%

Italy 

26.8

99.8%

Malta 

22.4 

1

-

Russia

15.8

1238 

44.4%

Germany 

13.8 

525

-14.2%

United Kingdom 

12.4 

123

-67.1%

France 

11

130

84.2%

Switzerland 

7.6

94 

67.6%

total exports

 397.5 

12630

 55.2%

Turnover of enterprises

The turnover of Finnboat member companies in 2021 mill. EUR (VAT 0%, ex-works):

FINLAND

EXPORTS

 TOTAL

Boats 

137 (+ 8%) 

442 (+ 62%) 

579 (+ 45%)

Equipment *

90 (+ 47%) 

45 (+ 133%) 

136 (+ 67%)

Engines 

87 (+ 5%) 

26 (+ 22%) 

114 (+ 9%)

Services, etc. 

57 (+35%) 

5 (+0%) 

61 (+30%)

Total 

371 (+18%) 

518 (+62%) 

889 (+40%)

Total 889 million. € (+40%)

* (incl. raw materials and project deliveries)

The business barometer in the boating sector predicts continued growth and a good employment situation

At the turn of the year, Finnboat has traditionally collected estimates of turnover and personnel from its members. The business barometer for the boating industry for 2022 forecasts a positive outlook: Net sales are expected to grow in 49% of companies and 41% believe that net sales will remain unchanged.

Employment is expected to remain at a good level. Indeed, 70% of companies estimate that the number of employees will remain the same and 26% estimate that the number of employees will increase in 2022. Only 4% of companies estimate that the number of employees will decrease.

Personnel for the year 2022

  • 26% of companies estimate that the number of employees will increase (31% in the previous year)
  • 4% of companies estimate that the number of employees will decrease (2%)
  • 70% of companies estimate that the number of employees will remain unchanged (67%).

Net sales for 2022

  • 49% of companies estimate turnover to grow (49% in the previous year)
  • 10% of companies estimate a decrease in turnover (7%)
  • 41% of companies estimate that net sales will remain unchanged (44%).
  • 7% of temporary layoffs in 2021, compared to 19% during previous year.

When interpreting the results of the barometer, it should be noted that the survey was conducted before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The war will have far-reaching implications for the global economy and consumer buying behaviour, so it will inevitably have an impact on the boating industry as well.

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The export success of Finnish luxury-class sailboat manufacturers continues, and in 2021 a record number of yachts were delivered to the world from the Pietarsaari region. The value of the boats rose to almost EUR 200 million. One of these boats was the nearly 46-meter-long Baltic 146 “Path”, which headed from Pietarsaari to the Mediterranean. Photo:  Eva-Stina Kjellman.
The export success of Finnish luxury-class sailboat manufacturers continues, and in 2021 a record number of yachts were delivered to the world from the Pietarsaari region. The value of the boats rose to almost EUR 200 million. One of these boats was the nearly 46-meter-long Baltic 146 “Path”, which headed from Pietarsaari to the Mediterranean. Photo: Eva-Stina Kjellman.
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Finnish Marine Industries Federation Finnboat is the umbrella organisation for Finland's marine industry and trade. Finnboat membership represents close to one hundred percent of both the nation's domestic marine industry turnover and the value of boat exports.

Federation activities as well as the products and services of our member companies are outlined in the following pages. From the page www.suomiveneilee.fi you can quickly access up-to-date information on new and second-hand boats, engines, equipment and boating-related services of member enterprises. For more detailed information, there are links to the web sites of Finnboat member companies.

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