Oct 30, 2019

Superyacht Execs Give Insight on Yacht Industry Trends

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Two Execs Offer Insights on Yacht Industry Trends & Growth

In a series of recent interviews, two of yachting’s top executives talked in-depth about the state of the industry and what they expect of the industry’s future. They provided insights on various topics including yacht industry trends, what customers are currently gravitating toward, and how the superyacht market will look like in the years to come. These are just some of the highlights we were able to glean from Burgess Director Tim Wiltshire and Azimut Benetti Group Vice President Giovanna Vitelli.

Yachting Industry Growth

According to Wiltshire, the market for yachts is currently in very good health. After suffering through what he calls a “three-year hiatus”1 after the global financial crisis in 2007, there has been an upward trend in sales since 2013. Nervousness over international trade and geopolitical tensions might stall growth slightly going into the future, but the industry, he argues, is far better prepared today than it was before.

Now the head of the world’s largest luxury yacht manufacturer, Vitelli notes that the National Marine Manufacturers Association forecasted a yachting industry growth of 4 percent from 2007 to 2018. She points out that the Asimut Benetti Group grew 12 percent. She credits the company reinvesting in themselves and innovation during the financial crisis for this success.

“The crisis of 2009 was an opportunity for us. We gained market share. A lot of competitors disappeared, and we reinvested in the company and had no financial debts. We were the only ones launching new products, and that helped a lot. Instead of selling to the Chinese or going public or putting our company in the hands of private equity that will try to take value out of the company, we stayed family-owned.” – Giovanna Vitelli, Vice President of Azimut Benetti Group 2

Customer Trends to Look Out For

When it comes to yacht industry trends, Wiltshire points out that explorer-style yachts continue to be popular. Yacht owners want vessels that can safely cruise more exclusive destinations and hard-to-reach locales. This trend encompasses efficient yacht design, robust styling, and practical built-in features. He also highlighted the trend away from classic, ornate styling and toward an airier elegance and comfortable lifestyle.

According to Vitelli, the very concept of luxury is going through a “process of change.” On one hand, bigger sizes are being embraced with the growing popularity of “Giga yachts,” or yachts at over 300 feet. However, in general, the excess and over-the-top opulence of the past is being rejected for more sophisticated and refined contemporary design.

“I believe the yachting industry is going through the same process: We see requests for yachts with all the features that are typical of a “luxury good”—uniqueness, emotion, aesthetic relevance, excellent quality, avant-garde technology and, finally, tradition, which is what makes a “luxury good” equal to an art masterpiece.” – Giovanna Vitelli, Vice President of Azimut Benetti Group 3


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  1. Danielle Culter, Robb Report – Why This Superyacht Exec Believes the Marine Industry Is in ‘Very Good Health’
  2. Jackie Cooperman, Worth – The Woman Leading a Super Yacht Empire
  3. Danielle Culter, Robb Report – Azimut-Benetti’s Giovanna Vitelli on the Future of Yachting
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