Our survey says…
NOTE: The below originally appeared as the editorial in our March 24 Superyacht Investor Insight newsletter. To find out more, and sign up for free, please fill out the form to the right.
Being thrown in at the deep end is a pretty laboured metaphor for your first encounter with the superyacht industry, but that’s what it felt like rocking up on my first day as senior editor at Superyacht Investor London 2016.
Launching into the first day in the job at the Superyacht Investor London conference with the knowledge that I would have to start making new contacts, interview the key figures in the industry and attempt to tackle a steep learning curve, I admit, I approached with some trepidation.
Just like many other industries though, there was reluctance to predict the “bounce back” factor for the superyacht sector. Let’s face it, no one wants their sales targets increased due to relentless chirpy optimism. Returning to the economic nirvana of the years that proceeded the economic turmoil of 2008 is still a key issue across businesses and, unsurprisingly, this was reflected in our electronic polls at the conference.
When asked how optimistic the attendees were about their business in 2016, in this age of austerity the results were actually surprisingly positive. More than half the room (52%) said they were “fairly optimistic” about the future of the superyacht sector in 2016, while 44% pegged themselves as “very optimistic”. Only a tiny percentage (4%) said they were “fairly pessimistic” and at the dour end of the scale absolutely no one registered their prediction as “very pessimistic”.
In a later vote, when asked if the industry would return to the days of champagne and caviar, the majority of the audience expressed caution. A total of 54% said that the boom times of 2005 to 2008 were a “one off”, while 38% said that “one day” those times would return. Encouragingly, 8% of the room said that in 20 years the cycle of fiscal good times would become a “normal occurrence” – believe me, I’ve seen worse results.
Even when voting on the thorny issue of banks and their understanding of the superyacht sector the mood was positive. More than half of delegates (53%) said that banks understand yachts, while an overwhelming 88% said that finance arrangers do.
It’s the privilege of the somewhat (currently) naïve to see the promise in each industry. Like all predictions these results are simply a barometer of what we can expect. They may happen and they may not. However, I do know one thing, if you don’t like the way the superyacht market is going then it’s up to you to change it, but take it from the new kid in town, it looks like interesting times are yet to come.