No matter which sector of the superyacht industry you work in, you will be relishing the opportunity to down tools, take stock over the festive period and look forward to a more positive year ahead.
We have all lived and worked through a catastrophe not of our own making, and only the most bullish individuals could claim they have not found this year to be the most challenging in our industry’s history.
While economic crashes can, arguably, be managed, a global pandemic gives little warning and even less scope for strategic planning in its wake. It is a testament therefore that, despite fairly torrid operating conditions, the superyacht industry enters 2021 with much reason to be positive.
Indeed, before the West had fully acknowledged or understood the gravity of what was happening in China, the market seemed one of resplendence. In February, a month before the lockdown rules spread across Europe, the brokerage market had recorded its single most prolific February in a decade, with €295m of sales.
However, by April, and with the world fully in the grips of a pandemic, the impact on yachting was evident. The precocious February figures had made way for just six second-hand sales globally in April, €250m down YoY.
Despite much fanfare, and formulaic journalism based on anecdotes and hyperbole that suggested superyachts had become part of a mass exodus of the wealthy to the world’s oceans, activity in the Mediterranean in April 2020 was down 15.0% on the previous three-year average.
But as previously mentioned, our industry is nothing if not resilient, and although there is still much work to do in our collective path to stability and prosperity, the numbers have begun to show signs of improvement.
By August, there were signs of recovery and a return of confidence; Mediterranean superyacht activity for example, was just 10.2% down YoY.
There also remains a significant backlog of inventory, both in the new-build order book and the refit market, that will require work, and serves as a stimulus for the industry as a whole.
The number of shipyards with a project due for delivery within five years has risen YoY, pointing to a more active and competitive market. Although Europe has tightened its stranglehold on construction, with 60% of all vessels in build, in European yards, rising to 68% between 40m and 60m.
And a particularly profound statistic to conclude this piece of reflection, and one perhaps for all of us to take stock of, as it encompasses the trickle-down economics we’re all beholden to; at the time of writing, the cumulative value of the superyacht fleet due for delivery in the next five years is €14.3 billion. Cause for optimism indeed!
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