The Brands Behind Fishing and Boating’s Historic Rise to Popularity
The pandemic had a massive impact on the fishing and boating industries, completely reshaping their trajectories. The number of new male fishers rose by over 20%, whereas the number of new women skyrocketed by nearly 50%. As a result, the overall number of licensed anglers increased by approximately 30%, contributing to a 12% rise in U.S. boat sales – new highs for the decade. The record-breaking growth was mainly seen throughout the second half of 2020, but growth tailwinds are expected to continue for years to come.
Garmin Ltd. (Tii:GRMN) is a GPS navigation specialist with the leading sonar technology for both ice and open water fishing. Its stock has seen 63% growth in the past year and 113% since the beginning of last year’s pandemic lockdown. In contradiction to this, Garmin had warned investors to brace for lower profitability. Yet the company expects full-year revenue to reach $4.6 billion, up from $4.2 billion last year, with gross margins already improving. As expected, the segments of revenue followed the trend of the previous decade but were also amplified by the pandemic, with outdoor, fitness and marine navigation equipment sales increasing and aviation and automotive equipment declining.
Johnson Outdoors Inc. (Tii:JOUT) mainly produces fishing and boating accessories and related products and has diving and camping segments. The company, Garmin’s main competitor in the sonar technology space, saw fiscal 2021 year-to-date net sales rise 28% to $371.8 million. A large part of this gain was a 19.5% increase in revenue from its fishing segment. Based in Osaka, Japan, Shimano Inc. (Tii:SMNNY) mainly produces cycling and fishing reel components – both of which saw explosive growth in the past year. This year, the company, which is celebrating its centennial, forecast first-half sales of 237.7 billion yen, a 48% increase. Shimano’s net sales for 2020 were up 4.1%, and company-wide operating income increased 21.6%. Earnings per share for 2020 totaled 684.71 yen, up from 559.15 yen in 2019.
Moving to the boating industry, expect strong sales growth to continue for years to come, much like the fishing industry.
For fiscal 2021, Malibu Boats, Inc. (Tii:MBUU) anticipates revenue to grow by some 38% year-over-year and adjusted EBITDA margins to increase by 20.5%. Net sales from the manufacturer’s Cobalt line (which Malibu acquired in 2017 for $130 million) increased 20%, to $55.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021. Net sales from the Malibu segment increased 34.6% to $138 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021. Lastly and most impressively, net sales from Malibu’s Saltwater Fishing segment increased 137.2%, to $79.9 million, for the three months ended March 31, 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.
Brunswick Corporation (Tii:BC) produces many of the largest motor and boat brands, including Mercury, Boston Whaler, and Lund. Full-year company sales are projected to grow from $4.3 billion in 2020 to $5.6 billion in 2021., with reported first-quarter sales already racking up $1.4 billion.
The world’s largest boating dealer specializing in premium brands and luxury yachts, MarineMax, Inc. (Tii:HZO) saw fiscal second-quarter revenues reach a record $523.1 million, blowing analyst estimates of $438.23 million out of the water. Further, this revenue represents a 69.6% increase compared to the same quarter last year. Although there is strong momentum in new boat sales, which represents approximately 70% of total revenue, the used boat market, repairs and accessories segments should see an uptick in the coming years. In a move to expand its product line, MarineMax announced in May that it acquired KCS International, better known as Cruisers Yachts, a premier manufacturer of premium yachts ranging from 33’ to 60’ feet.
While all these companies benefited largely from an extraordinarily strong sales environment last year resulting from consumers’ shift to outdoor leisure activities during the pandemic, continued strong demand and growth tailwinds should mean smooth sailing for the major players in the industry.