The Finnish boating industry returned to the pre-pandemic growth curve
The key indicator of Finnish boating is the number of boat registrations, which started to rise after the financial crisis in 2013. All boats longer than 5.5 meters or equipped with a motor of more than 15 kilowatts (20 horsepower) are registered in the boat register.
The pandemic years 2020 and 2021 brought an extraordinary jump to the boat trade, from which we descended to a more normal pace last year as registrations decreased by 11 percent from the previous year. The registration numbers in 2022 were still clearly higher than in 2019 before the pandemic. At the same time, sales of 5.5-meter boats and smaller decreased by 9 percent, according to Finnboat's wholesale delivery statistics.
"We are living in normal times again in the boat industry after very exceptional times. Although the sale of new boats decreased from the previous year, the sales of both equipment and engines increased by around 10 percent in euro terms, so the industry's domestic turnover remained almost at the previous year's level," says Jarkko Pajusalo, CEO of Finnboat, the Finnish Marine Industries Federation.
Domestic boat brands are strong favourites in Finland
As in previous years, the favourite boat of the Finns was Buster. The domestic aluminium boat brand remained number one in the statistics (572 registered boats) and Yamarin, known especially for its day cruisers, continued in second place (393 boats). Silver, Suvi, Faster and Terhi also made it to over 200 registrations - all well-known and established Finnish boat brands. As many as nine of the top ten most popular motorboats were domestic.
However, looking at all watercrafts including water jets, two PWC brands, Sea-Doo and Yamaha, slip into the leading group of Finnish outboard motorboats.
In addition to domesticity, Finns' taste in boats is dominated by aluminium. At the top of the ten most popular boat brands, Buster, Silver, Faster and Falcon make aluminium -hulled or all- aluminium boats. There are also reinforced plastic models in Silver's collection, Husky in Finnmaster's collection and Yamarin Cross aluminium boats in Yamarin's collection.
”During the past three years, the relative share of aluminium boats has continued to increase: while the number of all boats in the register has increased by seven percent, the number of aluminium-hulled boats increased by 13 percent at the same time,” Pajusalo estimates.
The popularity of personal watercrafts continues steadily: more than a thousand registrations per year
When all watercrafts are included in the calculation instead of just boats, the Canadian BRP with Sea-Doo waterjets, was clearly in the first place over the Finns with 1,059 PWC’s. The number of Sea-Doo registrations remained approximately at the previous year's level.
"It seems that easy-to-use and fast PWC’s have become a permanent phenomenon in Finnish boating. Since 2018, more than a thousand of them have been sold continuously per year, and on top of that, almost three times as many used PWC’s change hands every year," Jarkko Pajusalo reflects.
Sea-Doo was overwhelmingly the number one in the Finnish PWC market. The second most popular brand was Yamaha, with 93 registrations, and Kawasaki remained third with 41 registrations.
All boat registrations decreased by 11 percent
In 2022, 4,589 different watercrafts were registered (5,166). 3,242 motorboats were registered (3,699 in 2021) and 78 (104) rigid inflatable boats, or RIBs. The popularity of personal watercrafts remained fairly steady and 1,179 of them were registered (1,276).
The range of different registered watercrafts is huge: a total of 122 different brands were entered in the register. After the favourites, however, the number of registrations for other brands is low: the top ten cover 75 percent of all registrations and the top 20 as much as 88 percent of all registrations.
18 new sailboats were registered, four fewer than in the previous year. The most popular brands were German Hanse (3 boats) and Swedish Hallberg-Rassy (2 boats).
The trade in used boats continued to be brisk. According to the boat register maintained by The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, a total of more than 22,500 changes of boat ownership were recorded. The peak level of sales of more than 28,000 used boats of the previous two years has come down by a fifth, but the number was still at a higher level than in 2019. During the year, more than 18,000 motorboats, more than 2,700 PWC’s and more than 1,200 sailboats changed hands.
Registrations of watercraft in Finland 2018–2022 (pcs, source: Traficom)
|Inflatable / RIB:||52||68||68||104||78|
Changes in ownership of watercraft 2018–2022 (pcs, source: Traficom):
|Inflatable / RIB:||50||65||112||109||119|
Note. sailboat figures include motor sailors
The Russian trade ended
According to the customs statistics, the value of Finnish boat exports decreased by approximately 30 percent in January-November 2022 compared to the previous year. A total of almost 10,000 boats were exported to 43 different countries. The direct export of boat accessories decreased by 22 percent.
The most important export country was Sweden, although the value of exports decreased by 14 percent: more than 4,300 boats with a total value of 79 million euros were delivered there. The second most important export country was Norway, where exports remained at the previous year's level at just over 2,500 boats and 56.5 million euros.
During the first 11 months of the year, a total of 39 sailboats were exported, with a total value of 56 million euros. The timing of project deliveries of luxury sailing yachts has a significant impact on the value of annual exports. In the all-time peak year 2021, the value of sailboat exports was no less than 175 million euros.
The most important countries for sailboat exports were Switzerland (1 boat / 13 M€), USA (6 boats / 8 M€), Germany (1 boat / 7 M€), Great Britain: (3 boats / 5 M€) and Italy (3 boat / 5 M€).
Russian trade as a whole has not been significant for the Finnish boat industry, but before the Russian attack on Ukraine it was growing. Before the war in Ukraine, almost two-thirds of the 16 million euros worth of exports to Russia consisted of the re-export of personal watercraft, but motorboats worth 5 million euros were also exported to the market, as well as engines and accessories for the boat industry. In the spring of 2022, the export of boats to Russia ended completely. Imports were banned in October 2022 and practically ended completely by the end of the year.
Export statistics for the 10 largest countries 2022 1–11:
|M €||pcs||Growth %|
|Total exports||270M€||9534||-30 %|
Imports mostly from Mexico
The most significant country of imports was still Mexico, where the 4,500 watercrafts imported were practically personal watercrafts. Most of them were imported into the EU area via Finland and were further exported to other parts of Europe. About 1,200 PWC’s remained for sale in Finland. Imports from Mexico decreased by 21 percent.
The second most important country was Poland, from which imports from January to November 2022 increased by 35 percent to 14.2 million euros and 421 boats. Imports from Sweden were 388 boats with a total value of 4 million euros with an increase of 21 percent.
Import statistics for the 5 largest countries 2022 1-11:
|M €||pcs||Growth %|
|Total imports||66,9||8805||-11 %|
Deliveries of outboard motors at the previous year's level, component shortage restrained the sale of electric motors
According to the wholesale delivery statistics reported by Finnboat's members, the sales volume of internal combustion engine-powered outboards remained at the previous year's level at just over 12,000 units. Overall, the import of engines increased by 10 percent. Outboard motor exports fell from the previous year's almost 24,000 units to just over 7,000 motors.
Almost 80 percent of the outboards sold in Finland have a maximum power of 60 horsepower, but the long-term trend is a decrease in the delivery volume of small outboards at the same time as the market for larger outboards expands, as outboards are installed instead of inboard and sterndrive engines on increasingly large boats.
Almost 5,000 electric motors were delivered, a total of 35 percent less than the previous year. Deliveries of electric outboard motors decreased by as much as 40 percent and deliveries of trolling motors by 11 percent.
"The decrease in deliveries of electric motors was primarily due to the lack of components and the resulting low availability," Pajusalo explains.
Electric outboard motors are particularly popular in dinghies and rowing boats, while trolling motors are almost always installed in recreational fishing boats.
Turnover of enterprises
The turnover of Finnboat member companies in 2022 mill. EUR (VAT 0%, ex-works):
|Boats||104 (-24 %)||448 (+1 %)||552 (-5 %)|
|Equipment*||98 (+9 %)||35 (-22 %)||134 (-2 %)|
|Engines||96 (+10 %)||17 (-35 %)||113 (+0 %)|
|Services, etc.||52 (+2 %)||5 (+11 %)||57 (+3 %)|
|Total||351 (-4 %)||505 (-3 %)||856 (-3 %)|
Total: 856 milj. € (-3 %)
(*Equipment incl. raw materials and project deliveries)
The boating industry business barometer predicts that good demand and the employment situation will continue
As usual, Finnboat has collected estimates on turnover and personnel from its member companies at the turn of the year. The boat industry business barometer for 2023 predicts positive prospects: Turnover is estimated to increase in 35% of companies and 40% believe that turnover will remain unchanged. A quarter of the companies anticipate that turnover will decrease.
Employment is expected to remain at a good level. 70% of the companies estimate that the number of personnel will remain the same and 21% estimate that the number of personnel will increase in 2023. 9% of the companies estimate that the number of personnel will decrease.
Personnel for the year 2023
- 21% of companies estimate that the number of employees will increase (26% in the previous year)
- 9% of companies estimate that the number of employees will decrease (4%)
- 70% of companies estimate that the number of employees will remain unchanged (70%).
Net sales for 2023
- 35% of companies estimate turnover to grow (49% in the previous year)
- 25% of companies estimate a decrease in turnover (10%)
- 40% of companies estimate that net sales will remain unchanged (41%).
- 11% of temporary layoffs in 2022, compared to 17% during previous year.
Jarkko PajusaloManaging DirectorTel:+358 40 673 email@example.com
Käenkuja 8 A 47
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