At this time of year, it’s always deemed appropriate to look back over the peaks and troughs of the last 12 months as a means of assessing the here and now. And at The Superyacht Group we’re in full analysis mode, as we put the finishing touches to The Superyacht Intelligence Annual Report 2016, the latest edition of our annual new build market review.

So how good a place does the superyacht industry find itself in as 2015 merges into 2016? Well, firstly, it depends on which element of the industry one is reviewing. No doubt, if you’re a charter broker or a refitter, you probably feel the industry is in a pretty good place.

Yet, if you’re a mid-level builder or a sales broker, the outlook probably seems a little less clear. Second-hand sales have been the victim of a pronounced slowdown, and if word on the dock is to be believed, a large disparity remains between asking prices and sales prices.

It’s hardly surprising then, that despite being slightly up on 2014, new orders are still quite modest this year. With owners unable to sell their existing vessel for the price they’d expect, holding on to it and reinvigorating it via refit is the prudent option.

Owners are opting to give their vessels a new lease of life via refit, as the owner of Waterford has.

Likewise, new market entrants and those who are looking to upgrade their yachting experience without incurring the expenditure of a new build, are turning to charters, with the market having enjoyed another strong year, if the brokers are to be believed.

A strong charter market is vital to a healthy new client supply chain, and if competition among vessels drives the quality of the average charter vessel up, this will raise the expectations of the clientele accordingly, which can only be a good thing.

However, with the exception of the new build market, which is very forthcoming in it sharing of data, much of the evidence we have for market performance is anecdotal; when it comes to refit, charter or sales, we rely on the feedback of the salespeople. It would be far more mutually beneficial if the industry and the media were able to share data so that the industry had a proper point of reference for these important market forces. Maybe that should be our new year’s resolution…

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