Marine electronics, the $ number
I’m curious; how big is the worldwide recreational marine electronics market? As best I can tell no trade organization is trying to keep track. In the U.S., NMMA publishes interesting statistics, but doesn’t break out electronics. Some manufacturers are public companies and hence provide clues. For instance, Raymarine’s financials show 135 million in annual worldwide sales. Lowrance posts 146 million in sales, but some of that comes from automobile and terrestrial handheld products. Similarly, Garmin doesn’t distinguish marine from other recreational sales (and some of the products are indistinguishable).
At any rate, a certain smart marketing fellow told me that his best guess for the whole enchilada is 1.2 billion dollars. Several other other people in the business agree, plus or minus 20%. That’s not very big. Heck, my local health care operation—hospital, old age facility, etc serving maybe 50,000 people—is over 100 million in revenue. I read that electronic gifts in the U.S. this year will top 17 billion dollars!
No wonder than that I once heard a ranking marine electronics executive call it a “cottage industry”. The intriguing thing, I guess, is that no one company dominates. Plus, while boat ownership is not growing very fast, sales of “aftermarket accessories” increased 14% in the U.S. last year (from NMMA’s free 2004 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract). And humans in general are crazy about electronics (see 17 billion figure).