The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption in the superyacht industry, with restrictions on travel and economic downturn affecting the brokerage and charter markets in particular. Continuing its coverage of the effects of the pandemic on the industry, SuperyachtNews spoke to Camper and Nicholsons CEO Paolo Casani to better understand the impact on the new-build brokerage market.

According to Casani, new-build orders and enquiries ground to a halt during the peak of the crisis. “The new-build market has been affected by the pandemic in the same way that the brokerage and charter markets have,” he explains. “However, in the last couple of months, we have seen new interest from prospective new-build clients enquiring and asking for more information. So, there is definitely a return of interest in new construction.” 

This, Casani believes, is due to the fact that buyers have simply been postponing plans to buy a yacht in light of the pandemic, rather than cancelling them. “This crisis has originated from external factors, which makes it very different to the GFC of 2007/8,” he comments. “We believe that as soon as a solution is found, people will quickly begin to spend money again and there will be an aggressive restart to the industry.”

“At the moment there are some interesting yachts under construction that are available with short delivery times, which is likely a consequence of the pandemic...”

In particular, the 45-65m market segment is seeing the most activity in terms of new-build orders. “At the moment, there are some interesting yachts under construction that are available with short delivery times, which is likely a consequence of the pandemic,” adds Casani. “So, we are hopeful that there will be a number of new-build sales in the next few months.”

As with many companies in many industries, the pandemic has seen Camper and Nicholsons enhance its use of technology and find alternative ways of doing business. “Of course, we miss the one-to-one meetings with clients, but there are lessons that we will bring away from this crisis,” Casani concludes.

“We are utilising video tools to keep in better contact and also give clients the possibility to see a yacht in detail from afar. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed our company towards the use of technology and accelerated its adaptation process. We have also learnt how to manage the company in different ways and this has certainly confirmed our strategy.”

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