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Luxury Yacht Market: Five Key Trends Influencing the Global Yachting Industry

Published by: Wealth-X
Published on:
The global yachting industry is in a state of transformation, influenced by these five major trends.

The global yachting industry is in a state of transformation, influenced by five major trends: eco-consciousness, interiors inspired by the outdoors, the Internet of Things (IoT), yacht management and adventure travel. Wealth-X looked to the expertise of Raphael Sauleau, CEO of Fraser Yachts (chartering, crew recruitment, sales and management of yachts, superyachts and megayachts) and Michele Gavino, CEO of Baglietto (the historic Italian yacht builder) to dissect these key industry movements.

1. Eco-Consciousness

The luxury yacht market has entered the era of eco-consciousness. According to Gavino, the International Maritime Organization has directed the maritime industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050 from 2008’s levels. As a result, builders and suppliers are working together to find sustainable solutions to reduce consumption at reasonable costs. The cooperation with suppliers is essential, says Gavino. “They have the expertise and the possibility to develop new systems and technology that we can offer to our clients.”

Many HNW and UHNW yacht owners are putting environmental impact first, spurring significant change in yacht building and innovation. New propulsion systems burn less fuel, hybrid yacht batteries motorize yachts for hours of fuelless transportation – even paint is assisting the cause, as new environmentally sustainable epoxies are safe for marine life and help vessels reach the same speeds at lower levels of fuel consumption.

Yacht charterers are also showing concern over environmental impact. Many charterers inquire about crew members’ impact on the sea, recycling initiatives, the use of plastics aboard ships and more.

“All sectors of yachting are involved [in sustainability initiatives], from the paint manufacturer to the engine supplier. Innovative projects are multiplying and are not only capturing the attention of owners but also of equipment manufacturers, and projects with smaller environmental footprints are going one step further. There is still a lot of room for innovation in the luxury yacht market and it is enough to visit dedicated trade shows to find the technologies of tomorrow for hybrid propulsion or energy storage systems. [There is] no doubt that our industry will be one of the leaders soon,” Sauleau explained.

2. Interiors Inspired by the Outdoors

Open spaces, pool decks and 360° views of the sea are popular design items that reflect a rising trend of taking inspiration from the outdoors. According to Sauleau, consumers from the highest tiers of wealth are beginning to look for yachts that offer the feeling of being outdoors while indoors, requiring yachts to have more light, vertical bows that allow for larger interiors and modern exterior lines, and beach clubs.

“One of the new features that all the builders are developing is a new concept of the beach area, not any more closed in a space that was used once as a garage, but definitely open in sort of a sundeck on the water with an enjoyable pool. This solution has been introduced [beginning with] small vessels, but recently I have seen concepts up to 70m or 80m with [this] nice feature,” shared Gavino.

3. The Internet of Things

Advancements in technology enable yacht owners to adopt the same preferences for “smart home” gadgets on their yachts, creating a seamless transition from home to yacht and vice versa. By transferring technological at-home comforts and habits to their yachts, owners can turn their yachts into homes or offices away from home. These advancements create the infrastructure that supports ease of communication and new ways of securing crew and vessel. Sauleau credits the industry’s ample resources for making it possible to “cultivate and sustain innovations that would remain mostly accessible only to firm sectors such as aviation or even defense”, explaining that the most significant areas of growth typically occur within the realms of security and communication.

4. Yacht Management

Yacht management improves efficiency and decreases operational costs through efforts spanning everything from HR management to the implementation of new technology to burn less fuel. Yacht owners are seeking management in greater numbers than ever before due to increased regulations and the rise of ever-larger yachts.

For instance, Fraser Yachts increased its yacht management fleet by nearly fifty percent over the past two years. “[Taking management] concerns off of [the hands of captains, crew members, owners and charterers] allows you to save money for provisioning, for technical supplies and to make sure the crew rotation is optimized,” says Sauleau. “The winning formula is not just to be more efficient financially but to keep your yacht in its best state. Because one day when you’re ready to sell it, [you] need to make sure it’s still in great condition to be sold,” Sauleau shared.

5. Adventure Travel

Changing demographics among HNW and UHNW individuals have ushered in a new and exciting demand for explorer yachts and adventure travel excursions. The next generation of wealthy individuals are requesting exploration yachting to destinations other than the Mediterranean or the Caribbean. “They don’t necessarily want to be in a place where you have a restaurant and a beach in every port,” says Sauleau. “[Instead, they want to] explore new environments [such as] Antarctica, Scandinavia, Australia or Southeast Asia.”

This trend is impacting yacht building with the rise of explorer yachts and crossover yachts (a cross between traditional and explorer), vessels that did not exist five years ago in the luxury yacht market. Explorer yachts have all the fine amenities of traditional models in addition to stronger hulls, less outdoor space, greater storage space (larger garages, more refrigerators, and so on) and other considerations for voyages in remote areas and extreme conditions. Baglietto, for instance, recently presented an impressive Explorer-type project of 43-meter yacht designed by Santa Maria Magnolfi able to host a sportfisherman vessel.

“Exploring the beauty of the world and [the] ocean is the reason for building a boat for many owners and this is why one of the trends in yachting is the Explorer-type yacht. These are yachts that are built to travel around the world with any kind of weather and sea. These yachts are conceived to have [large interiors with room for] many toys,” says Gavino.

From the desire to “engage with the natural world”, be it through bringing the outdoors inside or exploring the planet’s seldom-charted territories, to innovative technology, the dreams and values of HNW and UHNW individuals are spurring rapid change in luxury the luxury yacht market.

For further resources on the lifestyle trends of HNW and UHNW, request a personalized Wealth-X demo.

Credit: Baglietto