While we often like to think of North America as the native market for outboard motors, in truth, outboards are much more popular in foreign countries. Sales of outboard motors in North America account for around 35% of the annual world outboard motor sales, or about 300,000 of the 850,000 units produced. The markets where outboard motors are the most popular include European nations where pleasure boating is a common pastime, and developing nations where outboard motors are used for work including fishing, transportation, and diving. In Europe, most of the outboards used for pleasure boating are attached to inflatable watercraft and have just a fraction of the horsepower of the average outboard sold in North America. In developing nations, it’s important for outboards to be reliable and low cost, which includes upkeep costs like fuel, marine engine oil, and occasional maintenance.
While there are a number of popular outboard motor brands, Yamaha, Mercury, and Evinrude tend to stand out with the highest numbers in customer satisfaction, sales, and units produced on an annual basis.