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Author Topic:   Outboard Motor Market Share in USA
L H G posted 08-05-2009 09:45 PM ET (US)   Profile for L H G  
Yamaha is now claiming it has almost 37% of the total US outboard market, up 2% from last year.

Since they are not claiming they are No 1, like Mercury does, Mercury must have a higher percentage.

That could mean the two big boys must have close to 80% of the total market, with Honda, Suzuki, Evinrude and Tohatsu fighting it out for 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place, and the remaining 20% combined share. Those would have to divide up into pretty small percentages for the rest.

jimh posted 08-05-2009 11:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It seems to me that if Yamaha has 37-percent of the U.S. outboard engine market, that leaves 63-percent of the market to be divided among the other brands. That is a quite a large piece of the pie.

As for Mercury's claim of "number one," it could mean almost anything. It does not inherently mean that Mercury must have a market share of US outboards that is greater than Yamaha. They may be counting sterndrives, inboards, and who knows what else in their figures that add up to "number one."

L H G posted 08-06-2009 01:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Jim - In support of the accuracy of my post, I found this quote contained in the following lengthy article:

"The U.S. marine market is stuck right now, but overall the situation is OK," Boisjoli said.

[BRP's] biggest competitors include Mercury Marine and Japanese engine makers Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki. Sales figures are closely held by the companies, but Mercury claims to have the largest share of the U.S. outboard engine market. Yamaha is probably in second place, according to industry analysts, followed by Suzuki, Honda, BRP and Nissan in no definite order."

R T M posted 08-06-2009 06:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for R T M    
I would score any Mercury sold 30 hp and below to be a score for Tohatsu, not Mercury.


seahorse posted 08-06-2009 07:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     
Last year after talking to some folks in the industry who know the sales figures I was able to figure out how the market share breaks down for 2007. Figures are a year behind.

Compared to the auto industry a while back, the outboard industry is very small considering. If 300,000 outboards are sold, that is considered a good year. In automotive terms, 300,000 is only 1 week of a good year's production. 300,000 outboards divided by 6 manufacurers makes for small numbers even for the top 3. Now break those numbers down by the number of models each company has, and the results are even smaller.

As of last year Mercury was #1 in US sales, followed closely by Yamaha. BRP was a ways in #3 and Honda and Suzuki very close together bringing up the rear. That may change for this year when the sales figures are tallied sometime next year as Merc and Yamaha are within a few points of each other.

By market sector some interesting info came out. Yamaha has the strongest sales in the coastal states and Florida is their biggest market where they dominate. Mercury is #1 in the midwest and non-coastal South. Evinrude is #1 in repowers.

In the US, Johnson & Evinrude have the most outboards still in use followed by Mercury, then Yamaha quite a ways back in 3rd.

Buckda posted 08-06-2009 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
"Evinrude is #1 in repowers"

That 'jives' with the activity we've seen from Evinrude's marketing department. When you're #1 at something, your marketing tends to push effort in that direction to solidify and extend that position. Evinrude has targeted the repower market for at least a few months now on their Web site.

What will REALLY be interesting to observe (and perhaps is the subject for another thread entirely) is the following:

With 50 years of fiberglass boat development, we're seeing that a significant portion of the well constructed models are showing 'survivability' - in general, boats tend to be used less and last longer than cars. Combine that with a sagging global economy and it begs the question - will the "repower" market become an increasingly important (and larger) segment of the overall sales figures for outboard motors? I've seen a lot of old aluminum and fiberglass boats running around with classic and new power - just last week I saw an old Glasstron tri-hull with a new 75 HP E-TEC, a 1970's Outrage 21 with a 150 E-TEC and an older aluminum hull with a new OptiMax.

I believe we'll see more of this in the future. It may not ever surpass the number of "new" transoms needing motors every year, but I think it will play an increasingly important role - after all - if consumers are choosing one brand to repower - and that holds, then boatbuilders with the flexibility to offer their customers choices will do so.

Buckda posted 08-06-2009 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Another unfortunate artifact of the relatively small size of the outboard market is that the numbers aren't crunched much further than "how many are sold".

I still maintain that *for any bundled product or market* a more important measure of successful product manufacturing, sales, service and marketing is the number of consumers who choose your product on the merits of the product attributes and experience alone - not the related bundled items.

It's like going to a department store and buying a rack stereo system. Pioneer makes some great components, they also make some flaming turds. Their speakers? Blech. You get some good, some bad. Some rack systems are better than others, but all are a compromise in some components. I'd rather buy the DVD player, Amplifier, processor, turntable (yes, I said turntable), speaker wire and speakers seperately so I can buy the quality that I want.

I would bet that Yamaha is #2 in repowers.

In the case of outboards, Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Evinrude offer more "pure" examples of customer demand for the outboard motor (not the boat) than does Mercury.

It is possible, in fact, that Mercury lays claim to #1 sales not because of the motors themselves, but because of the desireable boat brands that their parent company owns.

There was this kid down the street growing up. I didn't really like him, but his parents were rich and he had an awesome basketball court in the side yard - painted lines and everything. All the kids played there and he was "popular" - if you measured popularity by how many kids were at his basketball hoop on a given weeknight.

Now - it is also possible that Mercury has the best motors on the water and would retain their #1 spot even if they were not provided automatically with every boat purchase from a Brunswick owned boat company...but then again, as the Tootsie Roll Owl used to say: "the world may never know".

Hoot hoot.

jimh posted 08-06-2009 09:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It has been previously mentioned that new outboard motors were primarily sold with new boats. A figure of 85-percent was mentioned. If 85-percent of new outboard motors are sold in a bundle with a new boat, it makes perfect sense that Mercury would do well in that market because I believe they are the largest boat builder in the world. They own more outboard boat companies than anyone, and they generally only sell Mercury motors on those new boat transoms, at least in the U.S. Mercury's first place finish in that segment is axiomatic.

It would be much more interesting to see what the market share division is like in the market for loose motors, ones not sold attached to new boat transoms. I believe we know that Evinrude is the leader in that market, but we have no figures for market share and where other brands rank.

prj posted 08-06-2009 09:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
How do "we know that Evinrude is the leader in that market" when referring to the sales of loose motors?

seahorse posted 08-06-2009 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     

How do "we know that Evinrude is the leader in that market" when referring to the sales of loose motors?

Loose motors is be a separate "market share" but repowers are 25hp and above motors as they are not normally considered portable and are installed on used boats according to warranty registrations.

L H G posted 08-06-2009 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Thanks for verifying that information on Mercury sales, Seahorse. It also answers Jim's question:

"As for Mercury's claim of "number one," it could mean almost anything. It does not inherently mean that Mercury must have a market share of US outboards that is greater than Yamaha."

I think the idea that Mercury and Yamaha are not big in re-powers is another false concept being peddled around here. Read Scream and Fly and you will get an opposite point of view on Mercs.

Mercury got to be #1 on two counts: 1. having a large supply of transoms, and loose sales/re-powers! I just bought 2 new Mercury engines for re-powering.

Who sells the most 2-stroke DFI's? Optimax or E-tec?

I have been wondering about the breakdown of 2-strokes vs 4-strokes these days? I can't imagine that 2-strokes have more than 20% of total market. Yamaha's business is probably at least 90% 4-stroke.

Buckda posted 08-06-2009 04:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Larry -

From which retailer did you purchase those two loose Mercury motors?

Private parties don't count.

Scream and Fly is for the racing community, and while that community certainly qualifies as a subsection of the outboard repower market, I would argue that it is a very small subsection, just like people repowering their Whalers.

I can tell you this - and it is anecodtal - but I just spent two weeks cruising in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Canada's Georgian Bay. In both locations, the number of boats with obvious repowers were far and away accounted for with Yamaha, Suzuki or Evinrude motors, with the heaviest prevalence on Yamaha and Evinrude. There were also some repowers with Honda motors, which I found interesting - their dealer network must be improving up here, reflecting their popularity in other areas.

fourdfish posted 08-06-2009 04:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for fourdfish  Send Email to fourdfish     
I agree with Dave. I have seen a significantly larger number
of E-TEC repowers here in Door County this summer than ever
before. I bet we will see many more to come.
So with Mercury claiming they may close their plant in Wisconsin. What is happening to their market share? I suspect
that they are in fact NOW #2 with Yamaha #1. Since they are
also closing so many boat companies, they are also closing out that market.
Mercury has created a lot of enemies here in Wisconsin.
However,it would seem that BRP is in a good position both financially and public relations.
In the car market Ford is coming out the winner with a number
one position with the Focus sales while the other winners
being Honda and Toyota.
The leaders are changing in this market.
an86carrera posted 08-06-2009 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for an86carrera  Send Email to an86carrera     
So, when people can choose the brand of outboard, they CHOOSE Evinrude.


Buckda posted 08-06-2009 05:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Len -

I don't know if we can go that far - it means that when people choose to repower their existing boat - they choose Evinrude, according to Seahorse's information.

But I'm willing to guess that a significant number of consumers choose to buy a new boat - where their choice of outboard is diluted by existing cobranding relationships.

So I'd limit it a little - for a bit more precision.

seahorse posted 08-06-2009 06:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     

I have been wondering about the breakdown of 2-strokes vs 4-strokes these days? I can't imagine that 2-strokes have more than 20% of total market.

Yamaha's business is probably at least 90% 4-stroke.

The 2 stroke market is 41% right now on new motors sold. That is a pretty good percentage considering that for several years now, pundits kept saying 4-strokes will be about 90% of all motors sold. Optimax, HPDI, and E-TEC proved them wrong

Yamaha is 100% 4-stroke now due to the 2010 EPA emission limit. They never had a 3 start rated 2-stroke. Even the HPDI DFI motors were only 2 star. They are not producing any 2-strokes for the American market any more.

L H G posted 08-06-2009 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Seahorse's number of 41% 2-stroke sales is truely amazing.

I assume that includes still popular conventional 2-strokes still being sold by Yamaha and Mercury. But it also means Optimax and E-tec together are huge sellers. Who would have thunk it?

And it also shows Suzuki and Honda having relative small percentage of marketshare. To listen to them, you'd never know it. With 59% 4-strokes, and 37% of that Yamaha, and with Mercury being fairly large in 4-strokes also, not much could be left for them.

Maybe American 2-stroke technology will survive afterall.
Fine by me. I own seven of them!

jimh posted 08-06-2009 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The shrinking new boat market must be a black cloud on Mercury's sale's horizon. Mercury outboard motors are particularly ill-suited for re-powering of older boats. I explain:

The premier Mercury motor, the VERADO, is too large, too heavy, and needs too much specialized rigging and support to be a strong candidate for re-power.

The second tier Mercury Veradito FOURSTROKE motors are very large and very heavy compared to the motors for which many older boats were designed.

The Mercury OptiMax motor is a viable re-power candidate, but it is still often larger, particularly in the 75 to 115-HP range, than existing motors.

Seconding Dave's observations, in Canada it was quite surprising to see many recent-model Boston Whaler boats with non-Mercury power on their transoms. I did see one newer Boston Whaler with a Verado L6 and one with a Verado L4, but there were several newer models with Yamaha or Honda power on the transom.

As new boat sales decline, and the contraction in the market is substantial, re-power of older boats will become a larger share of new outboard sales.

Perry posted 08-06-2009 11:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
The 2 stroke market is 41% right now on new motors sold.

I was wondering where this figure comes from. Is there a link to a reference we can view?

seahorse posted 08-07-2009 12:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for seahorse  Send Email to seahorse     

The 41% figure was from a statement in June by Roch Lambert of BRP during an interview with a marine industry trade magazine.

AZdave posted 08-07-2009 12:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for AZdave  Send Email to AZdave     
Many of the members of this site must see a statistical sample of motors on transoms. I usually don't, but we were on the south end of Bogue Banks in NC last weekend. There were a lot of relatively new boats pulled up on or near the sand bars for "see and be seen" picnics. These were from many manufacturers, but Carolina Skiff was probably the most common. For this sample Yamaha led over Suzuki by a 3:1 ratio, and they made up at least two thirds of the motors. That means that Honda, Mercury, and Evinrude/Johnson made up only one third collectively. Is that a scientifically diverse sample from multiple regions? No, but I'm not paid to spin numbers either. I think the trend is as clear as a slap in the face.
L H G posted 08-07-2009 01:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
OK, now we are beginning to have enough data to put some figures together. I agree, the 41% 2-stroke share sounds astounding, if we can believe Lambert.

So what do we have, being conservative:

1. Let's assume Mercury is just BARELY ahead of Yamaha's 37% share. Lets give Mercury 38%, which is way off from the 40's numbers they had a few years ago. That means Mercury and Yamaha have at least 75% combined share, leaving 25% to the other 4.

2. Let's give Tohatsu/Nissan only 2% share. That leaves 23%

3. Let's be very conservative and give Suzuki and Honda only 5% each.

4. that leaves 13% share to Evinrude's 2-strokes, which sounds reasonable, although I don't see them on the water in those proportions.

5. SO, with 41% 2-stroke total share, that must mean Mercury and old tech Yamaha's had 28% 2-stroke share. Let's give the old Merc and Yamaha 1 star's and V-max 5% market share, which will end 12/31. That means Optimax has around a 23% market share, which is pretty substantial, and means Mercury's 4-strokes are only another 15%, or Mercury sells more 2-strokes than it does 4-strokes. Find that very hard to believe.

Finally, if my market share guesses are too low on Honda & Suzuki combined, that means Evinrude is selling fewer 2-strokes, and Optimax is selling more of the 41%. OR, the 41% figure is faulty. Anyway you cut it, it appears Mercury Optimax outsells Evinrude E-tec 2 to 1.

Huey01 posted 08-07-2009 03:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Huey01    
Hi, interesting topic and I can only speak for my neck of the woods, but here in Oz BRP have a 34.7% market share of the "clean" engine market (which is all they play in). Our figures get broken down to clean and dirty engines because we can still sell dirty engines here. Considering BRP only "plays" in the clean market and are selling 2010 models as I type, whereas the other 2 main players are having special deals on superceeded stock, BRP are pretty happy here all things considered. Yes Merc and Yamaha would outsell BRP in total units but our biggest seller is 15HPs and considering a carby 2-Stroke is half the price of a 4-Stroke we sell ALOT more dirty engines in that HP class, which BRP do not have an offering in even clean or dirty. I personally wish for the Oz market we still had the Johnson carby 2-Stroke line and that way from 30HP and down, even though the new 25/30HP E-TEC are superior, if BRP could offer a 25HP Carby at $2800 instead of a 25HP E-TEC at twice that they and us would sell more units.

I am having a meeting in a few weeks with BRP about the 2010 models and what programs are going to run so I am sure I will find out what this Q figures are. I know we are doing more and more repowers and this week have rigged a 60HP, 115HP, 175HP E-TECs to older boats.



Perry posted 08-07-2009 03:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
So, because BRP says that the 2 stroke market is 41% right now, we take that as gospel? I'd still like to see proof.
jimh posted 08-07-2009 06:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I guess we take the 41-percent figure with the same faith we take the "number one" and the "37-percent" figures. They all come from their respective companies.
Peter posted 08-07-2009 08:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I think all the Optimaxes that are buried at the outboard graveyard at Lake X are counted. ;)
jimh posted 08-07-2009 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Huey makes a good point about Evinrude's market share: they only compete in the STAR-THREE ULTRA LOW emission market. I suspect that if you gin up some numbers for that market, the Evinrude share is probably higher than the overall market share of outboards in the USA, where we still see high-emission motors being sold.
Huey01 posted 08-11-2009 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Huey01    
Hi Guys, I know this thread was about the US market, but I got some interesting numbers yesterday. Here in Oz some manufacturers are pushing to go clean but it is a dead lock at 3 to 3. In our market,as I mentioned, we can still sell dirty engines and in fact dirty engines make up close to 60% of the market and Merc, Yamaha and Tohatsu are the ones that sell into this market so of course they are the 3 manufacturers that do not want to change things. These guys sell 60-95% of their engines in this dirty market so I can understand their reluctance to go totally clean and when you consider in our market 40% is clean and there are 6 manufacturers selling in that market so there is alot of competetion and for the guys that only make money out of the clean market the volume at least here in Oz is not there and why some are relly pushing the government to change to laws. I personally, like I mentioned in my previous post, can see both sides of the story and I hope here in Oz they regulate the larger HP engines like 40HP and up, but for the user that does only about 20 hours a year, if he is forced to buy an expensive 25HP "clean" engine he or she might go out and spend that money on a new TV or something and we lose them. Yes these clean engine are better and use less fuel, but in realaity a carby 15 or 25HP does not sue that much fuel anyways and it will be a very long time to recoup the extra money in fuel usage alone. Here at present and I know it is the same in the States, the "leisure" dollar is harder to get and boats are a luxury alot can not justify at present and if we make it alot dearer to get that little 13 foot tinny/25HP outboard package then they might be lost to boating all together.

Just my thoughts and I thought some might find it interesting what the other part of the world is doing. I like to hear and read what happens in the US and when I went to the Evinrude factory and Miami a few years ago the boats you guys have over there with triple and even quad V6 outboards are great boats and we do not see triple and more rigs here.



Tollyfamily posted 08-11-2009 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tollyfamily  Send Email to Tollyfamily     
I was surprised to see that most of the new boats at the Seattle Boats Afloat Show last week had Evinrudes (except Whaler).


Moe posted 08-12-2009 07:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
I wish we could still buy "dirty" two-strokes in the under 10 hp class here in the USA. My 1998 4 HP, 2 stroke (no reverse gear) Johnson weighs 27 pounds, about the same as a new 2 HP air-cooled Honda four-stroke. A 3-1/2 HP no reverse gear Tohatsu/Nissan/Mercury four-stroke weighs 42 pounds. The weight makes a difference hung off the back of a small displacement hull sailboat.

For what it's worth, I just bought a new 2-stroke Toro snowblower (both Briggs and Stratton 2-stroke engine and snowblower made in China). It helps me burn up the pre-mix not used in the outboard over the summer. I have a 2-stroke Stihl chainsaw and plan on purchasing a two-stroke Echo string trimmer. The weight savings of a carbureted two-stroke make it worth it.

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