The Covid-19 Pandemic has changed things and will change the way yachts are used | Source: Shout

The Big Business of Superyachts: How the Yacht Industry Boomed in 2021

It’s fair to say 2021 has been a robust year for the mega-rich. So, much so that according to Forbes, the 2,600-plus billionaires around the globe increased their wealth by an eye-watering A$2.25 trillion this year alone – that’s A$19.1 trillion combined.

Bernard d’Alessandri, secretary-general of the yacht club in Monaco, says the pandemic has severely disrupted the Mediterranean charter business this season — superyachts can cost as much as A$1m a week to rent — but sales are holding up because the very wealthy can still afford to buy and are increasingly searching for “a place of refuge” in uncertain times.

Long gone are the days where the ultra-rich would be stuck working long hours behind the desk. With the Covid-19 pandemic manifesting the idea that you really can work from anywhere, these billionaires are buying up big and securing their investment decisions in superyachts.

“The crisis will change things. Yachts will be used differently,” he said, predicting they would become more practical and less of a “show-off” purchase. “You can use yachts as offices and the whole family can be there,” d’Alessandri said.

And while the objective of yachts has shifted – from a flashy-purchase to a place of residence – so too have the figures associated with the sector. According to the Facts and Factors Market Research Report, the yacht industry was reportedly worth A$11.45 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach A$15.5 billion by 2026.

It’s no wonder the superyacht industry is doing handsomely. The global authority in superyachts, Boat Internationa said;

More than 40 kilometres of superyachts will be built, launched and delivered between now and 2026

Boat International

This year there’s been a huge surge in superyacht interest with Boat International’s 2022 Global Order Book recording an impressive 1,024 projects in build or on order for next year – that’s a 24.7 per cent increase on last year’s 821 number.

Azzam yacht
The worlds longest superyacht, the Azzam is 180 meters reportedly owned by Abu Dhabi royal family | Source: Yacht Harbour

Superyacht broker Will Christie told the Guardian “the market’s never been busier” citing the safety of being on a yacht during the pandemic and the ease of being able to work remotely as two major factors.

A lot of people say they appreciate the safety of being on a yacht during the pandemic. But it’s also because whereas in previous eras the people with enough money were too busy in the office to justify the purchase, these days they can work from anywhere.

Will Christie Superyacht Broker

Boat International’s Global Order Book indicates the largest sector of growth is in the sub-45-metre range and the semi-custom market.

In 2021, the number of vessel manufacturers under 30 meters also increased. A total of 424 new projects were brought forward in the pipeline with an increase of 30.5 per cent compared to the previous year (2020).

The 30 to 45-meter range of mega-yachts also saw a rise – with 28 per cent and the largest size bracket, the 45 meters and over, projects surging above 10 per cent.

The Dilbar
The Dilbar is the world’s 6th longest superyacht, worth nearly A$1 billion | Source: Lürssen

Breaking the numbers down further, the Global Order Book records the biggest movements are in the expedition yachts, sport fishers and sailing yachts categories. Eight-five vessels are currently recorded as in-build or on order in the expedition category, a 33 per cent rise on last year, showing a keen interest in tougher, longer-range vessels.

The biggest surge lives with the sport fishers recording a 133 per cent growth on 26 projects either on order or in-build. Rounding out the high-performing trio are the sailing yachts with the 2022 Global Order Book showing the category has its best numbers since 2018 recording 70 projects – up 18.6 per cent on last year.

Coinciding with the superyacht surge, the industry is also experiencing a shift in what customers want onboard with glamorous pools, luxury submersibles and helipads a regular request on the biggest superyachts. Remote working facilities such as conference rooms and offices are also a now-common request as the wealthy look to handle their business on the open sea.

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