As one of the world’s leading yacht brokerage, charter and superyacht management firms, the industry listens when Fraser talks about yachting trends. And the annual Fraser Market Insights & Indicators 2021 press conference, hosted during the Monaco Yacht Show 2021, demonstrated precisely why they are a brokerage firm worth paying attention to. Fraser’s management team discussed the latest yachting trends and market figures in sales, new build and charter, presenting a positive outlook for the yachting industry.
Despite the challenges faced by all facets of the business over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, superyacht sales are on the rise, the world’s best yacht builders have order books filled until 2024, and first-time charter clients are on the up. Fraser also revealed that their yacht brokers are responsible for a staggering 25% of total yacht sales in 2021.
Fraser is Relevance Yacht’s longest-standing client. Over the past decade, our team of digital marketing experts have helped them grow into a leading force in the yachting world. Here we explore the key takeaways from the Fraser Market Insights & Indicators 2021 press conference at the Monaco Yacht Show 2021.
Yachting trends: more sales than ever before
As of September 1, 2021, Fraser reported a total of 545 24-metre plus yachts sold – double the number of yachts sold during the same period in 2020 and more than double the average number of sales during the same period since 2009. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 24 to 40-metre yacht sector accounts for the majority of worldwide yacht sales – a total of 80%. This sector is also the size range with the most first-time buyers with Fraser noting that 40% of their first-time buyers also opted for a vessel within this size range.
When it comes to the reasons behind this increase in yacht sales, the Fraser conference saw the team detail several factors: namely an increase in worldwide wealth, including a significant increase in the number of high-net-worth-individuals, in tandem with a surge in interest in yachting thanks to the restrictions of the pandemic.
According to the 2021 Wealth-X report, there were 295,450 Ultra-High-Net-Worth individuals in 2020 (those with a net worth of more than US$30 million) – a growth of 1.7% compared to 2019 – while the number of billionaires grew by 13.4% in 2020, surpassing more than 3,000 individuals for the first time ever.
Fraser noted that the rise in interest from first-time yacht buyers has translated into a fast-paced market. In standard years, a fast yacht sale for an owner would be selling after around 8 to 10 months on the market. For a buyer, that figure is usually about 3 or 4 months. Today, that has been reduced to just weeks on either side. In 2021 alone, Fraser noted that the team sold three superyachts before they even came to market – almost unheard of in previous years.
Fraser’s CEO, Raphael Sauleau, spoke candidly regarding Fraser’s recent sale records at the recent Fraser Market Insights & Indicators 2021 conference.
“2020 saw Fraser close, one of our best years ever,” Sauleau said. “And 2021 is now our best year ever over all metrics. This doesn’t even include the sales we close for clients under 24-metres – which accounts for another €28 million in sales. We are very proud of the fact that our brokers deliver #1 or #2 ranking results in every size sector from 24-metres up to 100-metres plus – that is a team of brokers with an average years’ experience of 24.”
A rise in yacht charter is here to stay
Fraser’s director of marketing and business development, Mark Duncan, revealed exciting details about the latest yacht charter trends at the press conference. A total of 2,900 yachts above 24-metres were available on the worldwide charter market as of September 2021. Fraser noted that this is around a 7% decrease to pre-COVID 19 years, with a small percentage of yachts being taken off the charter market due to a range of COVID-related complications.
Fraser’s retail charter team had a very active 2021 – with bookings up 56% in 2020 and around 30% up on previous years. Almost 2,800 charter days had been booked by Fraser charter brokers around the world at the time of the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show.
When it comes to the type of charter requirements clients are looking for, Fraser revealed that more charterers are asking about the green credentials of yachts for charter.
“We continue to work with our fleet and indeed with the industry overall to help owners, captains, and crew initiate actions on board that help contribute to the more sustainable operation of the charter yacht and indeed the charter itself,” Duncan explained.
Fraser currently represents 84 superyachts for charter, though Duncan stated that this number would likely rise as more new yacht owners opt to make their vessel available for charter.
“It has been interesting this year and last year to see the increase in the number of potential buyers who have been asking about the charter potential of yachts that they are looking at,” Duncan said. “All the conversations that our teams have been having recently seem to indicate that there may well be a slight influx in 2022 or 2023 in yachts becoming available for charter for the first time. And it is very true to say that certainly, for now, the demand is very much there.”
New build yachts filling up order books
With a surge in interest in the market and a substantial amount of new wealth globally, demand for new build yacht projects has scarcely been higher, Fraser’s services director, Harald Van Exem, revealed at the press conference. As a result, Fraser’s project management team delivered 30 new build projects in addition to several extensive refit projects in 2021, with another nine new build yachts and two substantial refit projects currently underway in yards around the world ranging from 80-metres to 100-metres plus.
The issue facing prospective new build clients today, Fraser reported, is one of availability. Many shipyards are now reporting full order books for the next four years. Given that most new build superyacht projects require a build time of more than three years, an enthusiastic new owner may have to face unprecedented waiting times. One solution to this could be a rise in refit and conversion projects, significantly reducing lead times and, in most cases, final costs.
Another solution to the new build slot shortage sees more owners turning to support vessels.
“In terms of ownership, support vessels have over the last few years also contributed to seeing owners use their yachts longer before moving up the scale,” Van Exem said.
He added: “We now see support vessels carrying very large tenders and a large variety of toys including submarines. Support vessels can also be very efficient to carry additional support staff and store provisions and fuel. Damen, a yard we work with a lot, including on the exceptional LA DATCHA explorer yacht, has sold over 15 support vessels in recent years.”
Yachting trends: a sustainable outlook
The environment is more important than ever, and the yachting industry is getting serious about sustainable operations for future cruising.
In terms of points of consideration for any owner considering a new build or large refit project, Fraser detailed several new regulations coming into play shortly to restrict emissions at sea. With an increasing number of sustainable options, conversations regarding green propulsion systems, eco-friendly technology and yacht design are increasingly important.
Fraser noted that hybrid propulsion solutions are gaining more ground with owners, highlighting that in addition to ecological benefits, hybrid propulsion systems also offer the added benefit of significantly lower noise levels and vibrations.
The rise in interest in sustainable yachting extends much further than the type of propulsion chosen, however. Yacht clients are increasingly looking to shipyards, suppliers and brokerage firms to ensure the companies themselves are taking real action to reduce their environmental footprints.
Relevance Yacht is dedicated to helping companies in the yachting industry succeed in their marketing and growth goals. If you would like to learn more about our 360-degree digital marketing services, then contact our team today.