Italian superyacht market remains buoyant
Figures presented at the 63rd Genoa International Boat Show highlight strong growth across multiple sectors…
In 2022, the Italian boating industry solidified its position as a global leader, witnessing a remarkable 20 per cent increase in turnover, surging to an impressive €7.33 billion, while exports soared to an all-time high of €3.74 billion.
These updated figures were presented at the 63rd Genoa International Boat Show during the Boating Economic Forecast conference. The data was published in the new edition of Nautica in Cifre – LOG, a statistical yearbook produced by the Italian Marine Industry Association’s Research and Market Intelligence Department in partnership with the Edison Foundation and with the patronage of the Italian Ministry for Infrastructures and Transport.
It was stated that “As anticipated this morning during the inaugural conference for our institutional representatives and guests, the estimates made at the beginning of the year by our Research and Market Intelligence Department concerning the trend of the yachting industry in 2022 turned out to have been accurate. The sector even surpassed the €7 billion turnover threshold, a milestone never reached before. The Italian Marine Industry Association can look back with pride on the success achieved by its companies, led by passionate entrepreneurs who are equally proud to belong to an industrial sector that always has its eyes on the future, demonstrating the authority and strength that characterises the industry’s leadership in producing excellence for all the seas of the world.”
Stefano Pagani Isnardi, Head of the Italian Marine Industry Association’s Research and Market Intelligence, noted, “Following the exceptional growth of 2021, which marked the highest increase in turnover ever recorded, the market in 2022 continued to display strength and resilience.”
Despite ongoing global economic and political uncertainties, which may affect the sector’s growth rates in the future, Italian boatbuilding production remained buoyant over the past nautical year. This was especially evident in the superyacht sector, where Italian shipyards accounted for 50 per cent of world orders.
The number of employees in the industry rose to 28,660, confirming the positive employment trend (+8.8 per cent compared to the previous year) that has characterised all sectors of the industry across the board, an effect that has had a positive impact on the entire nautical tourism chain.
The yachting sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP reached over €6.1 billion in 2022, also representing a 20 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The yachting industry’s contribution to GDP in relation to the national GDP also grew, from 2.89 per cent in 2021 to 3.23 per cent in 2022,. It has increased steadily since 2013 and risen sharply over the past two years, highlighting the sector’s higher growth rate relative to the national economy.
Professor Marco Fortis, Director and Vice-President of the Edison Foundation, emphasised that exports remained the sector’s driving force, strengthening year on year. “Italy, the world’s leading exporter of boats and yachts, reached an all-time high of €3.74 billion for the sliding year ending June 2023. In 2022, Italian exports of yachting units accounted for 18.3 per cent of the global figure, and 88 per cent of national shipbuilding production was directed abroad.”
In this expansion phase, the most interesting growth rates in 2022 compared to the previous year were recorded in traditional markets. Among non-EU countries, the USA solidified its position as the main importer of yachting units produced in Italy, with a 57 per cent increase. The United Kingdom moved into second place with a doubling of imports (+108 per cent).
During the last edition of the Cannes Yachting Festival, the world’s three largest superyacht shipyards, Sanlorenzo, Ferretti and Azimut-Benetti, confirmed their backlog until 2026-2027. They also highlighted the first signs of a market slowdown for smaller yachts, which are more tied to financing for purchase and therefore penalised by rising interest rates.
On the other hand, sales of yachts over 24 metres continues at a high level. The normalisation we are witnessing can be seen as positive in a certain sense because it leads to a streamlining of the supply chain, which, with record sales, poses challenges in terms of product availability, pricing and quality.
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