Opening the 2013 Global Superyacht Forum Wealth-X CEO, Mykolas Rambus examined the geographical territories that he predicts will drive superyacht industry growth in 2014. Rambus said that, despite widespread conjecture highlighting the shift of UHNW wealth from West to East, the [re]emergent hub for ultra-wealth was the Middle East.

In 2013 the region saw the most growth “[b]oth in quantity as well as the wealth of those ultra-high net-worth individuals”, Rambus explained. “Latin America was down; the only region to be down”, he continued. But” the big story, perhaps, was that North America led Asia in a lot of the wealth growth metrics.”

However, the medium- to long-term outlook remains a shift of UHNW wealth towards Asia. UHNWIs, said Rambus, will amass an additional $8.5 trillion over the next five years, and by 2024, “Asia becomes a centre of gravity for ultra-high net-worth individuals … that’s by wealth and, by 2032, by quantity of individuals. This will shift to Asia as opposed to North America.”

But both the Middle East and Asia remain conundrums for superyacht builders and brokers. Richard Lambert, who is director of Princess Yachts’ M Class range of superyachts, feels the Middle Eastern market to be relatively insular above the 30m range. Whilst the pleasure boat market is a heterogeneous arena he says, breaking into the production, semi-custom, entry-level superyacht market is a challenge that will continue into 2014. In Asia too, says Lambert, the battle will continue to be for hearts and minds – to convince the continent’s ultra-wealthy that yachting is a Western status symbol worth adopting. Again this will be a battle fought in the 30-40m field.

One of the most established brokerage houses at this size range is OceanStyle by Burgess. The smaller superyacht specialist expects the established markets – America and Europe – to continue to be the strong performers. OceanStyle US sales broker, Keith Maling, said: “We predict the Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show in February and the Palm Beach Boat Show in March will encourage the positive momentum we experienced throughout the last quarters of 2013. We expect the North American market to show further signs of recovery, as real estate prices continue to rise and consumer confidence increases.”

But there is also a feeling at OceanStyle that new pockets of wealth should not be ignored. According to John St Hill, a Monaco-based broker for OceanStyle, “Clients are showing more enthusiasm across the board and we are enjoying the increased sales Stateside. Demand in emerging markets, such as Mexico, Brazil and Asia, will undoubtedly continue to rise and create a steadily rising market throughout the year ahead.”

The 2014 Superyacht Intelligence Annual Report will feature comprehensive analysis of the world's superyacht ownership demographic, as well as the 2013 World Wealth Report, written by business editor, Don Hoyt Gorman.To receive your copy please click here.

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