Feadship has announced the sale of its first superyacht to a client from mainland China. The order is for a 45m superyacht, based on Helix of the same length but with a helicopter deck newly incorporated. It follows Helix’s three-stop tour of Asia this spring and construction is already underway for delivery in 2013.

 “[The sale] follows a highly successful visit by the Feadship Helix to the Hainan Rendez-vous in April, where we welcomed many interested parties on board,” said Francis Vermeer.

“Opening up new markets requires that people can see and feel for themselves the difference between a yacht and a Feadship. We are honoured that one of those visitors has chosen to be a pioneer for his country and place the first exclusive superyacht order for the People’s Republic of China.”

Rendering of the 45m superyacht sold to the client from China

The key point in Vermeer’s observation is not just the fact the yacht was experienced first hand by the client leading to a sale. It is that luxury experiences themselves are selling and they’re selling more than ever, including in Asia, according to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Working with research specialist Ipsos and the International Luxury Business Association, BCG found that:

“Experiential luxury now makes up almost 55 percent of total luxury spending worldwide and, year on year, has grown 50 percent faster than sales of luxury goods. Even in brand-obsessed China, where personal luxury goods serve as a strong badge of status and success, with sales surging 22 percent annually, experiential luxury dominates, growing at 28 percent each year,” said the report.

Feadship at the 2012 Hainan Rendez-Vous

Added to the growth of experiential luxury is what’s fueling it. Businesses constantly have to keep an eye on the future – it’s the focus of TSG’s upcoming Global Superyacht Forum – and the new, younger generation billionaires are looking for experiences over branded items.

“Members of Generation Y—today’s twenty-somethings—tend to define themselves more by what they’ve done and experienced than by what they own. They are drawn to…lavish experiences—helicopter snowboarding in Alaska or a weekend shopping spree in Paris, for example,” found the report.

On board 45m Helix for her Asia tour

Although Feadship’s sale may not yet be the opening of the floodgates into the hugely profitable potential that China represents, it is a very positive sign that experiences, including those on board superyachts, are selling.

The quickness of the sale on the back of Feadship's first tour of Asia is also significant. The dominant thinking in the superyacht market has been that the Chinese superyacht market could reap massive profits but is a slow burner. From speaking to yards exhibiting at Hainan for example (see June’s The Superyacht Report: Engaging the Asian Market), marketeers were positive but were managing their expectations of what direct gains would be seen from the show. For Feadship, and hopefully for more European yards following in its wake, that patience and persistence has paid off perhaps quicker than expected.

Related Links

Feadship Profile | Feadship Website
Luxe Redux: Raising the Bar for selling of Luxuries - report by the Boston Consulting Group

If you like reading our Editors' premium quality journalism on SuperyachtNews.com, you'll love their amazing and insightful opinions and comments in The Superyacht Report. If you’ve never read it, click here to request a sample copy - it's 'A Report Worth Reading'. If you know how good it is, click here to subscribe - it's 'A Report Worth Paying For'.