The yacht market is soaring amidst unprecedented growth in UHNWIs

The Ultra-High-Net-Worth market is evolving. According to the 2021 Wealth-X Report, there were 670 new billionaires in 2020 and more than 3 million UHNWIs, meaning there are more wealthy people in the world than ever before. With this level of increased spending power, most luxury markets have reaped the benefits. And, as speakers at The Superyacht Forum 2021 explored, the yacht market is one of them. 

Yacht market and UHNW growth

Soaring demand for luxury investments 

As the number of billionaires and UHNWIs has soared, the superyacht industry has reaped the rewards. Most, if not all, yacht brokerage firms reported record sales, as well as increasingly full order books at the world’s top shipyards. 

This positive trend also extends to the luxury yacht charter market, with a record number of first-time charter clients seen in 2021. According to the latest yacht marketing insights from Fraser, a leading global yacht brokerage, new charter clients made up around 40% of the luxury charter market in 2021. 

With the global increase in wealth comes a more diverse UHNW audience seeking luxury investments. According to reports, the average age of new multi-millionaires and billionaires is getting lower. The tech sector accounts for a good deal of that fresh, youthful wealth, and the Forbes 400 list saw plenty of members under 40 this year. Among them are co-founders of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, estimated at respective net worths of $13.8 billion and $15.2 billion at just 31 and 33 years old. The co-founder of Pinterest, Ben Silbermann, is worth $3.3 billion at the age of 39, and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is worth $134 billion at just 37 years old. 

The changing face of the yacht market 

Paulo Casani of yacht brokerage and management firm Camper & Nicholsons addressed this new generation of UHNWIs at The Superyacht Forum 2021. Speaking on the first day of the superyacht conference, Casani urged the yacht market industry to develop new ways to communicate with buyers of yachts and potential buyers of yachts to maintain luxury yacht sales. His message particularly focused on the younger generation now coming to the fore as influential buyers with drastically different wants and needs than the ‘traditional’ yacht client. 

“With over 6,000 yachts in the current fleet [over 30m LOA], with approximately 4,000 of them active and built in the past 25 years, owned by an estimated 2,500 UHNW individuals, the potential to engage a wider network of UHNWIs is unbelievable,” said Martin Redmayne, chairman and editor-in-chief of The Superyacht Group. 

He added: “To engage the new generation and realise this potential, however, we need to communicate in a smarter way, with better and more relevant story telling. It’s no longer about lifestyle images with one bikini-clad model, it’s about authentic and inspiring ideas that talk to their adventurous, purposeful needs and expectations. They are also digital nomads and consume information and build their knowledge with instant, on demand information, this has to be trusted, real and digestible.”

UHNWIs and the yacht market

The 2021 edition of The Superyacht Forum also investigated the future of yachting. As Redmayne stated, the profile of UHNWIs is changing and diversifying. More UHNWIs want to make luxury investments that are in tune with a very different future. When it comes to the yacht market, this means green technology and business practises, highly autonomous vessel capabilities, increasingly innovative onboard technologies and all the tools needed for exploration.

The challenges facing the yacht market are many and varied, but one thing that all the speakers at The Superyacht Forum agreed on was the need for the yachting market to mature when it comes to attracting UHNWIs. It is no longer acceptable for advice to be shared from individuals with little to no expertise, and luxury yacht brands should intelligently ramp-up marketing activities to suit the evolving needs of the UHNW market.

Five tips to target UHNW yachting enthusiasts 

The philosophy of Relevance Yacht has always been about utilising the collective experience of experts to offer the best possible advice and service to clients within the yacht market. With the changing landscape of UHNWIs, here are our team’s five tips for superior marketing to UHNW audiences. 

Audience profiling

The first step to successful luxury advertising to UHNWIs is to know your audience. The luxury marketing experts at Relevance Yacht start each customised marketing strategy by defining the audience. 

Commercial director Niki explained: “We provide a rich data playground enabling our yachting clients to see and understand the digital traits, personality and behaviour of their audience. This in-depth knowledge of your UHNWI audience can then be used to bolster your marketing, creative, SEO, content, influencer/partner and targeting strategy. We create targeting packs that can be used on your paid media and social platforms, which massively amplifies distribution.”

 

Paid advertising

Paid search ads targeting highly relevant keywords focused on specific searches such as “French Riviera yacht charter” or “40m Lurssen superyacht for sale” are a great first start to increase your brand’s visibility to the UHNW market. 

PPC specialist Callum, who works with a wide range of luxury clients to provide impressive advertising results, explained that there’s a lot more luxury companies can do to improve the effectiveness of their digital advertising campaigns. 

“Targeted advertising is the next step in creating effective advertising strategies for the UHNW market,” Callum said. “Create custom intent audiences of users who have visited competitor websites or searched for specific terms on Google, and target them with display ads. This builds brand awareness with new audiences and drives relevant traffic on site. 

Callum added: “During yacht shows, geo-targeted lead generation campaigns on social media networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook are fantastic to encourage sign-ups and visits to yacht brokers at prestigious luxury events.” 

 

SEO 

With more people online than ever before, SEO is an integral aspect of making your brand stand out in an increasingly crowded digital landscape. To successfully target the UHNW market, president and founder Rumble explained that a brand must first understand SEO basics – which is more complex than it may look. 

“To successfully target potential clients, a great keyword combination is ‘yachts for sale/charter + shipyard’,” Rumble said. “So, for example, ‘Heesen yacht for sale. This is because we understand that those in the game for a superyacht are likely to know what they are looking for when it comes to shipyards, models or manufacturers.”  

Here are our other top yachting keywords for effective SEO. In our experience at Relevance, the more specific the search terms, the more likely you are to target a client who knows what they are looking for. 

  • Yacht type words – e.g. sailing yachts, motor yachts, expedition yacht 
  • yacht show keywords – e.g. Monaco Yacht Show 2021, FLIBS 2021, Miami Yacht Show 2022
  • Yacht charter destinations – e.g. luxury yacht charter Mediterranean, yacht hotspots Caribbean 
  • Yacht broker by area – e.g. yacht broker in Fort Lauderdale, yacht broker Monaco 
  • Yacht construction or refit words – e.g. new build yacht, custom superyacht, yacht refit 

Social media 

Fotini is our yachting social media manager and explains that it’s all about relevance when it comes to creating next-level social media content for the UHNW market. 

“When it comes to social media practice for the luxury yacht market, content should show how purchasing that specific yacht will elevate their lives or allow them to experience what it would be like to charter a superyacht,” Fotini explained, adding that “great social media content for this market should also avoid anything too cliche or overstyled. It should feel real – authenticity is key.”

Other tips for creating excellent social media content for UHNWIs includes using high-quality imagery and avoiding stock images at all costs. Images and videos that focus on unique details is also a great way to capture the attention of this target market. Remember that the UHNW sector tends to be drawn towards exclusivity, style and high quality. 

Public Relations

PR is a tried and tested form of luxury advertising to UHNW sectors, including the yacht market, but it takes imagination to shake it up and get results. From a PR point of view, the Relevance Yacht experts brainstorm unique ideas to reach new audiences in the luxury sectors. A digital announcement or press release does not have to follow a traditional format and can be focused on a specific topic to target new market sectors. 

Exclusive press trips are a fantastic method to target a specific magazine and its UHNW readership. The same goes for influencer marketing campaigns. Privileging a handful of selective influencers can promote the yacht to an entirely different UHNW audience.

Speaking of accessing new markets, PR director Muriel reveals that event sponsorship is a beneficial way to reach a more diverse selection of UHNWI clients. 

“We encourage our clients to sponsor specific events so that clients from both parties get to meet and enjoy the luxurious lifestyle they usually wouldn’t think of,” Muriel said. “So, yachting teamed with private jets, supercars or exclusive villas, for example. When it comes to PR, we show our clients as humans and not just corporations, which is important when you’re in the business of multi-million-dollar yachts.”


Looking for more insights on how to successfully market your yachting business to a growing number of UHNWIs? Contact the Relevance Yacht team.