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The International Market Continues to Grow While Domestic Market Returns to Pre-recession Trend.

Significant improvement evident in marine industry performance – the international market continues to grow while domestic market returns to pre-recession trend.

The UK leisure marine sector is in bullish mood for the next 12 months on the back of a thriving export market in 2013 and a resurgent domestic industry

According to research released today by the British Marine Federation to coincide with the London Boat Show (4-12 January), overseas trade increased 7.7% in revenue for 2012/13, helping drive up revenue for the whole industry by 1.7% to £2.905 billion. Meanwhile, the domestic market is set to build on this momentum in 2014, with current performance indicators recording levels not seen since before the recession.

Europe and North America were the most common destinations for UK goods and services from the sector, with trade to both regions growing by almost 10% (9.6% and 9.9% respectively). In particular, strong demand for boats manufactured in the UK led the export recovery, with sales to overseas clients growing 7.9% compared to -8.3% in the previous year.

International business is forecast to continue growing through 2014. More than four in ten (42%) in the sector are already reporting a higher workload for exports, whilst almost as many (38%) are sitting on healthier order books for overseas clients compared to a year ago.

Domestic business has also started to surge in the last six months, compared to the previous year. Although slower to pick up from the recession than the international market, trends for the ‘home workload’ and ‘home order value’ are now the most positive since 2007. 43% of businesses report a higher workload for UK clients over the last six months than one year ago (up from 32% in November 2012) while 38% have a higher value of the domestic order book (up from 31% last year).

The more buoyant international and domestic markets have meant that almost half of leisure marine businesses (48%) increased turnover in May-November from last year, and expectations are even stronger for 2014. Nine in ten (88%) predict more positive growth for the next six months and over a third (34%) have increased investment from last year.

Howard Pridding, Chief Executive of the BMF, commented:

“The leisure marine industry is in good shape going into 2014. Having exported its way back to growth and increased the delivery of goods and services to international markets to over £1 billion last year, the sector is now poised to capitalise on the improving domestic economy.

“Some of the latest performance indicators have exceeded all our expectations and we are confident that 2014 will welcome a new period of sustained growth for the sector. UK boatbuilding is a manufacturing success story with a worldwide reputation, and the London Boat Show this week is a great way to showcase this expertise whilst also marking the start of a new chapter for the industry.”