Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the pervading question has always been, ‘what are the clients thinking?’ There were concerns in the first weeks of lockdown that the global economic downturn would trigger a series of project cancellations and a general movement of clients away from the yachting market. However, those working at the coalface, whether it be at a shipyard or brokerage house, maintained throughout lockdown the appetite for yachting remained resolute, and that the market was more resilient than many gave it credit for. In order to give substance to these anecdotal murmurings, SuperyachtNews is asking key stakeholders to provide real-time updates on client sentiment.
Typically, people will tell you that in times of economic uncertainty the yacht is the first thing to go. Such was the assumption when the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear. However, unlike previous financial crises, the pandemic came with a set of physical and geographical restrictions. As such, if left many in the unique position where they were able to take stock and evaluate what is truly important to them. To those outside the industry, it would seem silly to suggest that certain individuals consider superyachts ‘important’, but to many UHNWIs, superyachts represent freedom, family and fun, three key elements of life that all are able to relate to in these trying times.
It has also been suggested in recent years that the appetite for ownership is waning in favour of on-demand experiential models. However, the first round of buyer sentiment results from this ongoing project clearly shows the desire for private ownership remains strong.
We have analysed our first sentiment index (July 2020) and of the respondents, 32 per cent claimed that they had clients who intended to commission a project. While 32 per cent may seem underwhelming, that more clients intended to commission a project rather than sell is a positive reflection of current UHNWI attitudes towards spending. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 34 per cent of respondents indicated their clients would be investing in a project that falls within the 40-50m sector, whether that be commissioning a new project, refitting an existing yacht or purchasing a second-hand vessel on the brokerage market.
What is perhaps most telling is that 92 per cent of respondents believe that it is currently a buyers’ market. Clearly, those that have been more fortunate throughout the pandemic feel that there are deals to be had, whether that be bargaining with a shipyard or finding second-hand vessels with attractive discounts. When one considers the buyers’ market in conjunction with the desire to engage with the yachting market in general, this represents a sign of encouragement for us all, based on feedback across the industry during the first full month of activity.
SuperyachtNews’ buyer sentiment analysis is an ongoing project that will be regularly updated to track how client attitudes towards engaging with the superyacht market evolve throughout the crisis. So, please continue to submit your sentiment towards the market’s performance, throughout August, via this short survey.
Buyer sentiment index 2020
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