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SUPERYACHT #12
Spring 2007

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news


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Article by
Tommaso Nastasi


Luxury Superyacht Market Performance
Size, trend and market share

The luxury superyacht market performance has been the object of market analyses for years because its size, trend and market share demonstrated that it differs slightly and sometimes totally from other related sectors.

Getting straight to the heart of the analysis, the latest observation of the international market points out to a growing trend of the luxury market, with a 9% increase compared with last year's data.

In terms of absolute value the United States and Northern Europe are the markets with major international outlet, but there are new emerging markets such as Far Eastern countries with important growth rates.

The luxury superyacht market, including yachts over 80 feet, represents the peak of modern luxury and even though we are talking about an international macroeconomic sector featuring environmental uncertainty, it keeps on growing thus confirming its exclusive dynamic performance as exclusive is the market itself.

For the year 2007, the superyacht order book amounts to 777 units, reflecting a growth of 12.9% compared to 2006. Those who think that these are sporadic data referred to an especially fortunate year are readily disproved: over the last ten years, the luxury superyacht market experienced an average annual growth of 13%, from 241 units in 1997 to 777 units in 2007.

These data clearly and unmistakably show the continued business dynamics and attractiveness of this market niche not only in general but also within the luxury market.

The only business area with a growth rate similar to that of the luxury superyacht market is the luxury accessory market.

Mercato Superyacht

Given the above-mentioned data, we suggest giving a deeper look at the fascinating superyacht market. Figure 1 shows the trend of the superyacht order book over the last five years including the above-mentioned data of 777 ordered units for the year 2007.

The deluxe leisure boating market growth is linked to a greater number/wealth of millionaires on a worldwide scale. For example, Forbes Magazine published a list of 793 billionaires for the year 2007 compared to the 476 billionaires in 2005. This data confirms that the number of extremely rich persons is on the rise.

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In the year 2007 the deluxe superyacht market amounts in terms of length overall to 94.494 feet with a growth of 15.3% as compared with the previous year (see fig. 2). Over the last five years the superyacht order book increased by 63%.

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Motor superyachts are the main business macroeconomic segment nevertheless it is important to analyze the sailing superyacht trend as shown in figure 3 (where both market trends are indicated). Figure 3 also shows that in the year 2007 the motor superyacht order book amounts to 718 units while that of sailing superyachts amounts to 59 units, besides, the motor superyacht market continues to grow while the sailing superyacht market is essentially stable.

Mercato Superyacht

By looking at Figure 4 it is possible to synthesize the percentage variations of the sailing and motor superyacht markets over the last five years.

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Figure 5 shows the order book of motor superyachts classified per hull length ranges and it is clear how over the last ten years the motor superyacht market grew on average by 13.8% a year.

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Figure 6, instead, shows the market variations over these last years.

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The market micro-segment that registered a decrease during 2007 is the 80-89 foot range while the market micro-segment that registered the greatest increase is the 120-149 foot range. Figure 7 shows the breakdown of the motor superyacht market over recent years as per different business micro-segments. In particular, for the year 2007, the order book is subdivided as follows:

80-89: 27%
90-99: 14%
100-119: 20%
120-149: 20%
>150: 19%

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As already mentioned, for the year 2007 the sailing superyacht market amounts to 59 units. Figure 8 shows the trend of the sailing superyacht market classified as per different business micro-segments. The 100-149 foot range registered a decrease - in particular the 100-119 foot range decreased by 23.1% while the 120-149 foot range decreased by 8.3%.

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Figure 9 shows the summed up performance of the sailing superyacht market. The fastest growing segment is the 90-99 foot range with a growth factor of 150% while the custom superyacht segment registered a growth of 25%.

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Figure 10 shows the breakdown of the sailing superyacht market. In particular, for the year 2007 the order book is subdivided as follows:

80-89: 22%
90-99: 17%
100-119: 17%
120-149: 19%
>150: 25 %

The percentage of sailing superyachts above 150 feet is the highest.

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After this overview on motor and sailing superyachts, it is interesting to note the market share of the main industries - countries by looking at figures 11 and 12. The Italian shipbuilding industry, for example, is at the lead with a much greater market share than that of other industries - countries.

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For a correct market share analysis and for a proper definition of the competitive position of a specific industry - country, the market should be analyzed both in terms of units of product as well as in terms of hull length in feet.

The Italian boating industry continues to be the market leader with a market share of 44.7% in terms of units and of 41% in terms of boat length. The American one is the second international industry of superyachts with a market share of 13.3% in terms of units and of 14% in terms of hull length. On the contrary, the Netherlands registered a reduction compared to last year with a market share of 9% in terms of hull length and of 6.9% in terms of units (this data reflects the Dutch shipbuilding industry's preference for mega-superyachts.

The British boating industry registers a smaller market share as regards the number of units (7-7%) and a stable market share as regards hull length (6%). Instead, the German one continues to be the leader as regards custom superyachts, in fact, its market share is 6% for hull length and 2.8% for number of units.

Finally, the French nautical industry registers a market share of 2.2% in terms of units and of 2% in terms of hull length.

The above mentioned figures suggest that the main boating industries, even though they occupy an important market share, are subject to the competition of emerging boating industries which are ever more frequently adopting technological and productive know-how.

It is clear from the collected data that the complex and dynamic superyacht market continues to grow and that the Italian boating industry has the lead.

This is the recent trend, but what does the future have in store? It is obvious that the productive capacity, even though a necessary condition, is certainly not sufficient to compete against those international yards that have become more threatening even from a strategical point of view. This concept is clear to all those yards that have undergone severe crisis, contrarily to those that have been able to interpret the market evolution and have considerably grown.

The "Osservatorio del Mercato Nautico" (Observatory of the Boating Market) of TorVergata University in Rome, with its monitoring activity of the boating market, shows the wide gap between the real market and the potential one. This raises hopes that the superyacht market trend will continue to grow but only for those who will be able to take up the gauntlet and be competitive.

This article is the synthesis of a complete market report with detailed analytical illustrations. The report and further information may be requested directly to Tommaso Nastasi at tommaso.nastasi@marketingnautico.net.