Yachting in a new generation
Stefano de Vivo, Chief Commercial Officer, Ferretti Group, on the latest technologies in sustainable yachting and marketing to a new generation of owners…
Stefano de Vivo
Last year, the Italian boating industry broke records with its highest-ever turnover of €7.33bn and exports surpassing €3bn. We sat down with Stefano de Vivo, Chief Commercial Officer of Ferretti Group, to delve into the company's latest technological strides, the opportunities presented by the younger average age of yacht owners, and strategies to market superyachts to a new generation.
“American customers, benefiting from the strong dollar, are notably active in the market,” de Vivo tells SuperyachtNews. “We're seeing positive signs from all over Europe and even other continents where growth has been impressive, mostly in double figures. However, the Russian market has nearly vanished, barring the segment for yachts over 80m.”
With recent studies showing that only 1% of the world's millionaires own a yacht, de Vivo believes it's prime time to strategize on boosting this number. “In recent years, we've heavily invested in yacht promotion and expanded our sales network by positioning sales managers in key markets,” he shares.
Another significant shift is the generational change among owners. The average age has notably dropped, with almost 60% of the contracts in 2022 signed by those aged between 48 and 57. “On-board technology is increasingly attractive, drawing in a younger clientele,” de Vivo adds.
Owners are also showing increased interest in onboard stability, especially for yachts between 20m to 70m. “With innovative stabilisation systems, the onboard experience now feels as stable as being on land, which has only broadened the market,” de Vivo remarks.
“It's not just the engine performance that's capturing owners' attention now. They're well-aware that on-board engines are efficient and safe. What intrigues them more is the added value, like privacy. The yacht has transitioned from merely a status symbol to an immersive experience,” he continues.
Discussing materials, de Vivo mentions the continued dominance of composite materials in Ferretti's fleet. Despite innovations in other fields, this constant remains owing to its suitability for mass production, durability, lightness, and cost-effectiveness.
“We're also exploring aluminium, as seen in models like the Riva 54m and the Custom Line 50. Aluminium permits larger volumes than fibreglass. For instance, on the Custom Line 50, we innovatively eliminated steps to the owner's cabin on the upper deck,” de Vivo elucidates. He also stresses the importance of insulating materials between the hull and interior, not just for soundproofing, but for more efficient air conditioning, given its significant energy consumption on board.
Custom Line Navetta 50
Highlighting propulsion, de Vivo concludes by outlining Ferretti's ventures into hybrid-electric technologies and looks ahead to its more sustainability-focused energy solutions.
While they have already incorporated fuel-electric technology with a lithium battery pack in the River El-Iseo model, de Vivo maintains that the Ferretti Group always prioritises adopting class-certified solutions.
“We are developing a foiler, but we won’t talk about it until it is certified. As far as propulsion technology is concerned, it changes depending on the size of the yacht and we are developing different solutions for each size. On the 90ft INFYNITO, for example, solar panels generate electricity to recharge lithium battery packs. This not only enhances the onboard experience but also significantly reduces environmental impact, he says.
The Ferretti Group's Super Yacht Yard, in collaboration with Weichai Power Science & Technology Division and Rina Services Spa, is also pioneering an innovative fuel-cell system for a CRN superyacht. Utilising PEM Fuel Cells powered by hydrogen derived from green methanol, these eco-friendly power sources promise extended performance, allowing yachts to sustain hotel mode operations without diesel generators and offer hours of zero-emission cruising.
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