The latest edition of ‘slating superyacht stats’
‘The average superyacht only spends 10% of its time underway’ doesn’t mean anything …
In the grand scheme of things, there is literally only a very small handful of ocean-going luxury superyachts in the world. In the echo chamber of this industry it can become easy to find an interesting statistic or percentage and completely exaggerate it to the point where it becomes a ‘rule of thumb’ or topic of debate for the next yacht-spotter podcast. The one that really grinds my gears is ‘the average superyacht spends 90 per cent of its time in a marina or at anchor’. On the surface it sounds bad, but in reality it doesn’t tell us anything at all about the myriad of UHNWI’s and how they use their superyachts.
Apply the same statistic to the automotive industry, according to a survey conducted by Privilege Car Insurance the average person spends 293 hours a year in their car out of a possible 8760 - that's 3.3 per cent. So technically, you could argue that the average superyacht is used three times more than the average car is. This completely rubbishes the notion that ‘Superyachts are always dormant’. I doubt the makers of Lamborghinis and Aston Martins are looking at that statistic and thinking they need to design cars that sit in car parks and garages ‘because that's where it spends most of its time’.
The problem with these statistics is that it tarnishes the entire client base with the same brush. Yes there are 90 metre plus superyachts out there that spend the same six weeks every year anchored off the same spot in Formentera, but there are also plenty of 50 metre charter vessels which are constantly hauling ass around the equator every season. But the fact of the matter is that both of those yachts could swap lifestyles at the drop of a hat with one swift brokerage deal. So superyachts need to be able to do both.
I feel like the industry likes to idolise this image of superyacht owners being incredibly adventurous nomads who absolutely love yachting and using their vessel to the absolute true potential. And so we get frustrated when the ‘90 per cent dormant’ comes out. But let's be honest, there is a large part of the client base who are only in it to have that little superyacht model in their office to look impressive for business meetings along with their Rolex yacht-master. Equally there are plenty of owners who really do love their yachting, who have perhaps enjoyed an early retirement and are using their superyacht to see as much of the world as possible.
I just think we need to take these statistics with a pinch of salt and not let them dictate discourse in a way that will change the product or service. As we have seen with our analysis of the ‘quintessential young owner’ we can’t be too quick to jump to conclusions. There are so many different ways to use a superyacht and so many different reasons to buy a superyacht. They might not be desirable, but at the end of the day the fact that some of these superyachts even exist is outrageous and baffling on its own, so we don’t need to get caught up with minor data sets surrounding owner usage if it doesn’t really matter.
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