This month, SuperYacht Times is interviewing a range of industry leaders in the brokerage sector to find out their views on the 2018 superyacht market. Today we hear from Julia Stewart, who is Director of Imperial Yachts. Imperial Yachts began 2018 by announcing the sale of the 67.15-metre Damen Sea Axe support vessel 6711 Geo (ex: 6711) in January. In addition, 2018 also saw Imperial Yachts acting as operational managers for the much-anticipated 136-metre Lürssen superyacht Project Shu. Hot on the heels of this exciting year, Stewart reveals her insights about the superyacht market and her predictions for 2019.In 2017, 284 30+ metre used yachts were sold. Similarly, in 2018, around 280 (to be confirmed) used yachts were sold. How does your sentiment of the market compare? Do you see that the market is stable or growing?
From our perspective, the market is undoubtedly growing: the vessels are getting bigger and bigger, and the data solely showing vessels under construction prove this fact. 2018 was an important year for our industry and a step into its next decade: the demand is growing, as is the size of the yachts to be delivered from 2019 and beyond. We do believe that we are witnessing an important evolution which will durably and positively change the face of yachting.Photo: Imperial YachtsHave you seen a shift in clients in the past year? For example, in nationality, age, gender or occupation - or any other observations you have noticed.
It looks obvious that the clientele arriving in the superyacht industry since the last five to ten years is younger, not only in age but in mentality: they are looking for new experiences, new boundaries to cross and they are more focused on ecologic aspects. Exploration is a theme that always comes in every superyacht discussion at any industry event but it’s the truth: through our charter activities, we have noticed this change in mentality and we must recognize that crew is delighted to train harder and to explore new territories. Having Lili (a 55-metre Amels) exploring new regions other than the Mediterranean or the Caribbean over the last two years confirms to us the yachting industry is taking a more interesting direction.
In addition to this, this eco-friendly behaviour is taking a bigger space year after year in the superyacht industry. It’s an important change of mentality and a more responsible behaviour: all of the main shipyards have understood this change and they listen more carefully to the desires of this new clientele: the “green” revolution is on its way even in our industry!Photo: Imperial YachtsWhat is your view on the pricing of yachts? Are there fewer reductions in price or are yachts sold closer to their asking prices?
Each yacht is different, so each sale has its proper story. To our point of view, and according to our recent sales track record, the price isn’t the main aspect to consider in a yacht sale: efficient management and crystal-clear processes are the keys to getting the maximum income on your listing. We can’t summarize a yacht sale only to its final selling price.
Photo: Guillaume PlissonDo you see a particular market that is very popular right now? For example, yachts of a certain size, certain builder or age?
With our wide knowledge of the industry thanks to the numerous superyachts projects we have supervised, we can clearly see a real interest for explorer yachts and support vessels nowadays. When we supervised the construction and delivery of the Fast Support Vessel 6711 in 2014, we felt that the interest for wild destinations was increasing but the last years have confirmed this trend. There is no question why shipyards like Damen have real success with their SeaXplorer range: the mentality is changing, the time for exploration is now, and shipyards which are ready to transform their mentality will lead this trend.
Photo: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht TimesWhat are your expectations and predictions for the superyacht market in 2019? What are you looking forward to?
With an impressive number of 100m+ vessels expected to be delivered, it would not be a surprise that some of them enter the charter market in the nearest future. We believe that from 2019 the dynamic of the charter will change thanks to this new parameter, becoming more luxurious than ever.
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SuperYacht Times - The State of Yachting 2019
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