Superyacht annual report: how do you expect the market to perform?

The following report is a succinct summary of the superyacht new build market’s activity in 2016. How do you expect the market to perform between now and 2020? Do you think the number of vessels being delivered is likely to increase, decrease or remain consistent? We'd like to know, you can leave your comment at the end of this article.

Contrary to the sensationalist proclamations of a superyacht market collapse or renaissance, according to data published in The Superyacht Annual Report 2017: New Build, the industry is in the midst of a post-market-adjustment era of consistency.

With 139 superyachts delivered in 2016, it was a negligible year-on-year market downturn. This figure was three deliveries fewer than 2015, and 14 and 15 deliveries fewer than 2014 and 2013 respectively, equating to a 9.7% fall in industry output over four years.

But while this may look, at first glance, to be something of a downturn, with 16 deliveries made since then, and 222 superyachts scheduled for delivery in 2017, it is more likely the market dynamic for the year ahead will be one of consistency.

The global order book of yachts currently in build in all shipyards across the world does make for remarkably positive reading. However, one should be wary of basing their appraisal of the superyacht market on the order book, which is almost always unerringly positive, and distorted by speculative orders and mothballed projects that rarely come to fruition. In 2015, for example, there were 249 superyachts scheduled for delivery in 2016, but in reality, the actual figure was 139 deliveries, a 44.2% shortfall.



For this reason, it is far more practical to base the market’s performance on industry output, which has remained broadly consistent since 2013. Even so, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic. The total order book numbers 516 vessels – 109 greater than five years ago and the fifth consecutive year of growth.

While the minimum entrance criteria for a superyacht is an overall length of 30m or more, it is the top end of this luxury market, or the ‘niche within a niche’, that is bolstering the market as a whole.

The production and semi-custom motoryacht sector, broadly between 30m and 45m, has exhibited a 20% fall in annual output over the last five years. It is the custom, most expensive end of the market that is enjoying success.

The size of the 80m+ motoryacht market grew by 36.3% between 2012 and 2016 and there are currently 42 motor- and sailing yachts in build. Furthermore, there are a staggering 17 superyachts of more than 100m in build, which, when delivered, will bolster this upper echelon of the market by 39.5%.

2016 was also the year that the mean average of a superyacht (based on the delivered fleet) surpassed the historic 50m mark, while the 100th largest yacht measured 82m. This is all the more impressive when one considers that, in 1986, the 100th largest superyacht measured 44m – a length that would rank around 1,300th today.

In terms of geographical activity, Italy remains the most prolific territory for superyacht construction with 298 deliveries since 2012 and 60 yachts delivered nationwide in 2016. The more custom-focused Dutch market enjoyed 20 deliveries, exactly in line with its five-year average, while Germany, which is home to Lürssen (which has delivered 59 superyachts to date, at a staggering cumulative 4,760.3m), continues to produce the world’s largest yacht; in 2016, the aforementioned yard delivered the world’s largest ever yacht based on volume, 156m Dilbar (15,917 GT). Of the major yacht-building nations, it is only Turkey that has seen its combined output slow significantly, with only six deliveries in 2016 across the country, compared to a 15.5-delivery five-year average.

During the boom period of 2006-2010, an average of 235.6 new superyachts were delivered per annum, and this created a misconception among the public consciousness that the superyacht industry was infallible. Yet, in reality this period should be seen as an anomaly, punctuating the market dynamic that remains remarkably consistent, if not spectacular.

About The Superyacht Intelligence Agency

More detailed information is available on request. For all editorial and data enquiries, please contact Editorial Director William Mathieson.

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