As we celebrate the success of Monaco Yacht Show 2021 we interview our sales broker to gain insight and deep-rooted knowledge into the state of the current brokerage market and how the last year has been.
What are some of the most significant vessels and/or projects that have elevated Imperial in terms of recognition?
Imperial has delivered many large projects that have impacted the yachting industry. Everyone, whether in the yachting industry or not, is aware of Imperial’s meticulous approach. This world recognition means we have done something very special. These projects showcase Imperial’s savoir-faire of building superyachts of this complexity. Only a handful of companies can build projects like the ones we have. This is just the peak of the iceberg, and more is to come!
How has COVID changed the business of sales?
We have learnt to adjust and adapt to current times. With the team’s creative imagination, we have become less traditional with how we are selling yachts. The first transition was from physical to virtual tours. Clients are sitting in front of their TVs enjoying virtual tours of a boat from the other side of the world. We have experienced boats being sold where the client never stepped foot on the boat. The other thing is that clients are much more informed now. During the first lockdown, people were deep on the web, reading articles and becoming more knowledgeable about the market. Therefore, clients have precise and detailed questions when they meet their brokers.
There is also a huge increase in sales, everything that could be sold is sold. After the lockdown, people have realised they want to experience different adventures and new regions. It sparked a new interest in activities and explorations. This demand has created a surge in requests for sales and charters. Shipyards are struggling to maintain inventory and manufacturers are expanding production capacity to meet demand.
What are the biggest opportunities for growth in the superyacht sector in the coming years?
There was a big appeal for 50 to 60-metre vessels however shipyards were lacking available build slots and materials. These requests have not been fulfilled yet, so a good opportunity for newcomers and first-time buyers will come when Owners start selling this category of yachts.
In addition, explorer superyachts are still gaining popularity as people want to explore off-the-beaten-track destinations and exciting itineraries. It could be the result of COVID that people are looking for new places and a longer range. Shipyards have benefitted from this trend such as Damen with their SeaXplorers.
How has the yacht market changed from pre-crisis to now?
It was the market of the buyer at the beginning of COVID and now there is a scarcity of yachts available due to the high demand. The brokerage market is at a standstill as it had a huge rush at the very beginning of the year. Many people are looking to buy yachts but are struggling to find them. First-time buyers are also entering the market in large numbers. The effects of the lockdown have left a positive impact on the superyacht industry that will last for years to come.
Each market reacts and adapts differently, but all have been impacted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Do you see any differences between Europe and other markets at the moment?
Europe is considered a yachting mecca and only several other regions can compete, for example, the Maldives and the Caribbean. Europe has fewer travel restrictions for clients coming from all over the world compared to the States or Asia. Therefore, the South of France, Italy, Greece and Turkey are the most popular destinations this summer.
What have you observed about the market recently and what do you see happening in the long term?
This year’s Global Order Book illustrates a healthy industry with superyacht projects in build or ordered. My prediction is that there will be growth in the market again because people will be selling what they previously bought or upgrading their purchase to a bigger yacht. This will bring new energy into the market.
Do you agree that brokers have a responsibility to help grow the market and invite more non-yachting people into our industry?
It is a broker’s job to find new people for the yachting industry so that it grows. New people with new interests propel the market to innovate.