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Boat sales in Finland boosted by warm weather - export activity brisk as well

After a delayed onset of spring in Finland, a warm May took boaters as well as boat dealers by surprise, and the ensuing brisk pace of deliveries late that month made up for the lag experienced earlier in the year. Finnish boat exports are still behind last year, but existing markets show growth potential and there are new markets in sight.

An exceptional May warmed up Finnish boaters and boat dealers alike. For boat dealers, late May was exceptionally busy, as all boating enthusiasts seemed to require their craft at the same time; this applied equally to those boat buyers that were inspired by the weather, those who had ordered a new boat already in the winter and also those people whose boat had been winterised in a dealer's premises.

"The weather plays a large role in boat sales, particularly in regard of small boats, and currently the sales are good. The number of boat registrations until the end of May was up by one per cent on the previous year, and if the pace of deliveries remains at the current level, the corresponding increase at the end of June will be notably bigger," says Jarkko Pajusalo, Managing Director of Finnboat, the Finnish Marine Industries Federation.

The boat registration statistics confirm that this year's May was more active than the same month last year, but the total sales have exceeded last year's level only by one per cent. This is largely due to this year's boat deliveries commencing later than usual reflecting the slow unfolding of spring.

New market areas in boat exports

Similarly, Finnish boat exports are still behind last year, but boat builders reckon that existing markets have growth potential and they also have new markets in sight. The value of Q1/2018 boat exports totalled EUR 52.28 million, which was 6.32 per cent less than a year ago. Altogether 2,673 boats were exported in January-March (3,372 in January-March 2017) at an average price of EUR 19,559 per boat (EUR 16,551). The biggest export destinations were Sweden, Norway, Russia, Germany and Switzerland.

"The number of boats exported in Q1 was smaller than during the corresponding period a year ago, but the average boat price was higher. The value of exports to Switzerland and Russia increased the most, while it decreased in our two largest export markets, Sweden and Norway," Pajusalo explains.

The popularity of Targa boats built by the company Botnia Marin remains steady, not only in their domestic Finnish markets but also in many export countries, most notably Norway, France, the USA and Japan. "We are really happy with this season. Our sales have grown by dozens of percentage points this year. Our new products are drawing a lot of interest and providing a boost to our entire model range. Our largest model, the Targa 46, is selling well, as is also our new mid-sized model, the Targa 27.2," says Johan Carpelan of Botnia Marin.

The company Finn-Marin Oy Ltd based in Kokkola builds and sells Finnmaster and Grandezza boats, and they are happy with their export sales this year. In the Finnmaster line-up, the large day cruisers and the Pilot cabin boats have been popular in export markets. "The boats have sold well. In addition to Finland, strong market areas for Finnmaster include Sweden and Norway in particular. Over the past few years, the UK has emerged as an important export country for us, and our German sales are growing as well. The popularity of the larger Grandezza boats has increased this year not only in Finland but also elsewhere, most notably Sweden and Switzerland," says Martin Kortell of Finn-Marin.

The boat industry is a significant employer in Finland: The companies in the field directly employ 3,500 people, while the total employment effect lies between 4,000 and 6,000 people. Exports are highly important for the Finnish boat industry, accounting for over 70 per cent of total production last year.

The Finnboat Floating Show brings visibility to Finnish boats

The Finnboat Floating Show, this year in its 25th edition, is a test run event that showcases Finnish boats to the international media for the purpose of boosting boat exports. It took place in the Finnish Archipelago Sea shortly before Midsummer. This year's event featured 13 Finnish boat builders and equipment manufacturers exhibiting their products, with a record number of new boats on display.

Almost 50 media representatives from 22 countries, even from as far afield as the United States and Japan, attended the event to get to know the boats. The four-day Finnboat Floating Show is part of the Boat Exports Finland programme by Business Finland.

The audience will have a chance to experience the new boat models first-hand at the Helsinki Boat-Afloat Show between 16 and 19 August 2018.

Further information:
Finnish Marine Industries Federation Finnboat
Managing Director Jarkko Pajusalo
e-mail: , tel. +358 40 673 4032
Twitter: @jarkkopajusalo