Within the unprecedented situation within which we find ourselves, for many this is a time for reflection; to step back and assess their true position in the market at this extraordinary juncture. To do so, it is important to have all the facts and identify how the market has performed in the first quarter across the new build and brokerage sectors.

For some, the new decade got off to a strong start before the unexpected onset of COVID-19 placed a large proportion of the industry on hold. According to The Superyacht Agency, 30 yachts have been launched across the globe in the first three months of the year, predominantly in Europe, where 90 per cent of this year’s launches have taken place. But, we have also seen launches in Taiwan, China, UAE and the United States, where 225.8m of superyacht entered the water.

There have been 30 yachts launched across the globe in the first three months of the year, predominantly in Europe, where 90 per cent of this year’s launches have taken place. But, we have also seen launches in Taiwan, China, UAE and the United States, which collectively saw 225.8m of superyacht enter the water.

It has also been the usual suspects holding their position at the top of the new build activity rankings, as Sanlorenzo recorded five launches in the first quarter, followed by Benetti with four, and Feadship with three. Together these three shipyards have accounted for 40 per cent of the years launches thus far, and resulted in the Netherlands and Italy showing the highest launch figures for the year, both with 11.

There have been however, just four deliveries made so far this year, according to The Superyacht Agency, which of the scheduled 244 superyacht due in 2020 – a number which is likely to see significant changes and revisions as a result of the persistent coronavirus – isn’t a very high number at this stage in the year. But, as many shipyards have reiterated over the last few days, that the priority is of course to protect the health and welfare of employees and will conduct business strictly under government guidelines.

Heesen, for example, stated that it has "implemented a continuous thorough clean cycle of our offices, sheds and yachts under construction to help minimise the spread of the virus.

“At times such as these, it is vitally important that collectively, we work together to flatten the curve of Covid-19 and to enable social and economic recovery as soon as possible,” Heesen’s statement continues. “We all need to find new ways of doing business and adapt to this new situation.” Within these exceptional times of concern, guidelines are changing on a daily basis, and so shipyards are having to act accordingly."

But new build of course, isn’t the only sector of the superyacht industry that has been affected. The brokerage sector is one that has already seen a profound affect as a direct result of COVID-19, but it would seem that prior to the onset of the virus, some brokerage houses have reported a string start to the year.

According to The Superyacht Agency, 45 yachts over 30 have been recorded as sold on the brokerage market in Q1, amounting to €927million of sales for the year so far. In comparison to 2019 figures, 2020 Q1 performance has been considerably higher in both units and value, with the exception of March figures which fell short of the 2019 figures but just two units, yet was still five units higher than the February 2020 sales figures.


This strong start to the year for some brokerage houses is one that would have been met with gratitude in this very uncertain economic climate. Edmiston for example, recorded six superyacht sales in the first quarter of 2020, on top of the 29 vessels the corporation sold last year.

But we remain confident that the storm will pass; the superyacht industry may well look different by the time it does, but we all remain in this as one. Among the calamity to the superyacht industry, and many other industries there has been a stream of positivity and reassuring messages across the industry as a great reminder that we will work to flatten the curve. So while we reflect, and perhaps use this time to reflect, we may come back a stronger, more efficient and resilient industry, as many others will.

For some there is now an opportunity to rethink your entire strategy and engage with your clients directly via primary research projects. The curation of market data spanning a quarter of a century, means that The Superyacht Agency team has market information relating to every sector of the industry at its disposal. Therefore, enquiries that go far beyond the fleet itself can be catered for, which is why we help a diverse range of companies across the superyacht industry.

To find out more about The Superyacht Agency’s intelligence offering, please click here.


Image: Tom Van Oossanen for Amels

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