OPINION: ‘The rich are very different from you and me’. But what about superyachts?


The billionaires club will have 800 more members by 2023. But how many will invest in superyachts remains unclear.

“The rich are very different from you and me,” American novelist Scott Fitzgerald is reputed to have told fellow writer Ernest Hemingway: probably in a 1920s Parisian bar. “Yes. They’ve got more money,” quipped Hemingway, slugging another measure of whisky and soda. So, what’s that got to do with superyachts? Quite a bit, if we look at the growing number of billionaires and how they handle money.

Worldwide, there are about 1,700 billionaires, according to the Superyacht Finance Forum, staged in Monte Carlo, the day before the opening of the Monaco Yacht Show. The US topped the table with 382 billionaires at the end of last year. China had 305, while Germany claimed 113.

Moreover, by 2023 the Billionaires Club will have 800 more members, predicts the Boston Consulting Group. This will be driven by growth in Asia Pacific Region, North America and Western Europe. More than 40% of the new billionaires will come from China, predicts the group.

New billionaires from China

But the growth of ultra high net worth (UHNWI) individuals will not directly translate into swelling order books for superyacht shipyards or luxury yacht brokers. In some cultures, it is not acceptable for individuals to buy yachts and be seen with them.

Also, there’s evidence that the superyacht sector may increasingly use blockchain technology to facilitate contractual arrangements. Blockchain may even replace contracts of all sorts, as the technology could make it much easier for businesses buying, selling or servicing yachts, without the need for data being distributed in the cloud.

Touring superyachts

Meanwhile, I must confess to a bizarre and thoroughly inappropriate sense of proprietorship when touring superyachts I have written about for Superyacht Investor, such as Samurai and Bintador.

Since millionaire status – let alone billionaire status – seems set to elude me, perhaps it’s time to seek a talking cure? Can anyone recommend a good psychotherapist?

What would Sigmund Freud have made of my superyacht fixation?