In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry should rightly be trying to ascertain how the clients that the market is so reliant upon intend to spend their money in 2020. In order better understand the outlook for various luxury markets and how they relate to the performance of the superyacht sector, Northrop & Johnson surveyed a number of its UHNWI clients.
“We asked our very busy and affluent customers to share their feedback on a broad range of topics, including how COVID-19 is impacting their lifestyle and what they forecast for the foreseeable future,” starts Daniel Ziriakus, president and COO of Northrop & Johnson. “The message is loud and clear, UNHWIS either plan to decrease or avoid activities that would increased risk of exposure, at least until COVID-19 has been mitigated.”
According to the N&J, aside from where it concerned online shopping, private aviation and yachting, over 50 per cent of respondents said that they would be decreasing or completely stopping their usual activities until the threat of COVID-19 has been sufficiently mitigated. Those activities included flying on commercial airlines, dining at restaurants, shopping at centres, department stores and boutiques, attending live events, attending conferences and conventions, and staying at hotels/resorts.
It comes as absolutely no surprise at all that the majority of respondents clearly outlined that they intended to stay away from activities that potentially put themselves or their friends and loved ones at risk of transmitting COVID-19. However, of the respondents that were intending to charter a superyacht in 2020, 54 per cent said that they would wait and see, while 23 per cent said that they definitely still planned to do so. A further 23 per cent said that they definitely would not charter in 2020. Nevertheless, with 77 per cent in the wait and see or definitely category, there are positives to be drawn from these results.
What the data clearly highlights is that the superyacht community needs to work hard to create an overall experience that is perhaps less reliant on complimentary industries than it has been in the past. The med-marine lifestyle, which relies so heavily on the use of ancillary services such as bars, restaurants and high fashion, and which has arguably been the single most popular use of a superyacht since the professional market’s conception, is now untenable for the majority of conscientious UHNWIs. As such, charter brokers and the like need to create itineraries that rely far more heavily on the superyacht’s facilities and indeed the proficiency of its crew.
For a number of years the superyacht industry has waxed lyrical about its seven star service, as well as the many and varied facilities and amenities to be found on board, but this confidence has often been tempered by the knowledge that there are land-based alternatives to help break up any potential monotony. Now the superyacht market has to rely on itself and prove that seven the star service and a life on board is enough to satisfy even the world’s most discerning clients.
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