Billionaire trends in 2018 and yacht sales


The last year was characterised by political and economic uncertainty, but we saw the number of billionaires continuing to grow – as did superyacht sales.

Vincent White from Wealth-X, an intelligence and market research company focusing on the ultra-wealthy, has noticed a few correlations and discrepancies surrounding trends of the ultra-wealthy and the superyacht market.

In his presentation at the Superyacht Investor London 2018 conference today, he noted that the regions with the highest growth in numbers of billionaires have the smallest interest in boating. The US and Asia are topping the list of highest growth in billionaires, but Oceania is the region with the largest interest in boating.

Superyachts are luxury assets and, according to White, are likely to reflect the value the new wave of Chinese billionaires places on conspicuous consumption. It is for this reason that White recommends that we do not rule out China as a market, we could be seeing an attitude shift coming.

China is a small market but interest in yachting is picking up. Right now, most Chinese buyers are buying yachts for business use, not to show off their wealth. But if this view on yachts were to change, the potential for the market to increase could be vast.

Long-term socioeconomic changes may slow the rate of growth in the number of the world’s UHNW individuals as attitudes to equality toughen – this could drive conspicuous consumption down. We are also seeing potential customers move from ownership to chartering or fractional ownership which will also affect superyacht sales numbers.

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