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Industry trends: 2021 sees record-breaking yacht sales

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Yacht sales are booming as more wealthy individuals discover the benefits of owning a yacht. A luxury yacht not only offers one of the stylish and most luxurious ways to enjoy a getaway but also offers a safe, private, and self-sufficient sanctuary at sea. Of course, with more flexibility to work from home (or a yacht), an increasing number of people are turning to yachts to enjoy extended periods at sea.

Global yacht sales have more than doubled over the past year, outperforming the previous year by more than 140 percent.

According to global yacht brokerage Fraser, in the first half of 2021, 376 yachts (+24 metres) were sold, compared to 176 in 2020. The best comparison year for the last decade was in 2018, when a total of 259 yachts were sold. This record-breaking figure represents a 129 percent increase on the 12-year average for yacht sales.

Of course, 2021 is not over yet, with yacht sales continuing to surge at unprecedented rates.

“The numbers in our industry have really been quite spectacular in the last year,” Mark Duncan, director of marketing and business development at Fraser, said in an interview with Superyacht News Business Editor Rory Jackson.

“With everything that has happened to all of us over the last 18 months with the Covid pandemic, one of those things that it has managed to do is something that we as an industry haven’t really managed to do over the last 10 years. That is getting yachting and boating on the radar of a huge new market of people, which up until then never really considered yachting or boating, and if they did, they thought it was something too complicated to get involved in.”

Duncan added: “I think there are a number of factors that have all come together in the last year or so that will mean in my mind that yachting and boating will not go back to where it was, but it will carry on progressing.”

The changing face of yacht sales

Despite a global pandemic and business contractions across a range of industries, the yachting sector has weathered the storm, coming out stronger than ever.

Yacht brokers had to quickly pivot, relying on flawless marketing across digital channels, video conferencing and virtual tours. As coronavirus restrictions eased and people were once again able to travel, yacht sales surged.

While existing yacht owners opted to upgrade to larger vessels that offered additional space, the pandemic saw an increasing number of first-time buyers entering the market, indicating that the surge in yacht sales has staying power.

“[Before Covid] we had lots of people who put off buying a yacht,” Duncan explains. “In the last year, 20-30 percent who bought yachts were people who openly shared with our yacht brokers, “we got to that point if not now, then when”?”

Duncan adds that the surge in yacht sales, especially with first-time buyers, was driven partly by the fact that people sought safe and private spaces to enjoy time with family and friends once again.

“Getting back to nature, spending quality time with family, young kids, understanding what our world is all about is high on a lot of people’s radars, and we see that based on the enquiries we get for charters and for sale.”

Why sell a yacht now?

With yacht sales now booming, now is the ideal time to sell a yacht.

Many yachts are selling within days of being listed for sale and often at offers above the asking price, ensuring sellers the very best price.

As yacht sales continue to surge, shipbuilders are expanding their production to meet increasing demand. However, new yachts have longer delivery times, which is why brokerage yachts, with their shorter lead times, are particularly sought-after.

Working with an experienced yacht broker can help ensure a quick and flawless sale. The best yacht brokers have a global audience of qualified buyers and can manage all aspects of the yacht sale, including viewings, negotiations, and contract agreements.

With the yachting industry booming, whether you are a buyer or seller, there can be no question that the industry is entering a new and exciting era.