How Younger Superyacht Owners are Changing the Industry

Lists of the UK’s youngest billionaires have always been full of people in their 40s or above, but newer reports reveal that in today’s tech-driven world, the more tech-savvy younger generation is beginning to catch up. Indeed, more young millennial millionaires are emerging in the UK and are quickly catching up to their older billionaire counterparts. HMRC data provided to Salisbury House Wealth reveals that the number of people under 30 who are earning more than £1 million per year has risen by an impressive 33%. This is largely due to the rise of successful startups in tech and social media.

That’s why it’s no surprise that millennials are slowly taking over the superyacht industry as well. Business Insider reports that superyacht owners are now 10 to 15 years younger than they were 20 years ago. Studies also reveal that the next 20 years will see the median age of superyacht owners decrease from the 45 to 55 age range to the 35 to 45 range. This new generation of superyacht owners is bringing something new to the industry.

It used to be that owners mainly invested in things like lavish indoor decor and trimmings when buying superyachts. The yachts would feature grand cabins, dining rooms, salons, and sometimes even offices.

But last year’s Monaco Yacht Show proved that the trends are changing.

The Monaco Yacht Show is a prestigious event for billionaires with yachts and is widely recognised as the biggest event of the year among yacht owners. Attracting clients from around the world, the event opens its doors to those looking to charter, build, or buy a superyacht. That’s why any trends featured in the show are likely to spread among yachting communities all over the world. And in 2018, it was found that younger owners tend to value innovation, sports, and adventure. In addition, the millennial billionaires of today seem to be against the idea of actually owning a yacht. Instead, they prefer chartering yachts. To them, yachting is simply a pastime.

That’s why yacht designers have turned to more gyms, spas, water sports, and open spaces for socialising. The demand for explorer yachts, or those capable of sailing long distances, was also found to be high among the younger market. Because of these trends, superyacht parties are now livelier than ever. To understand more about this, do read up on wilsonhalligan’s tips for the perfect superyacht party.

What’s more, there’s also a rise in environmentally-friendly technology — reflecting the values and beliefs of younger demographics. At 2017’s show, for instance, the Porsche GTT 115 was unveiled. The 35-metre hybrid yacht is able to use two energy sources, as it is equipped with diesel and electric propulsion systems.

This phenomenon fits into how the millennial generation is changing the hospitality sector as a whole. In fact, the sharing economy and experience economy were both cited by Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne’s Jean-Philippe Weisskopf and Philippe Masset as key hospitality trends that industry professionals must keep in mind. Today’s consumers are now more comfortable in using shared services like Airbnb and Uber, and are keen on personalised experiences and environmentally-friendly initiatives, no matter how rich they are.

This helps explain why the face of superyachting is changing dramatically. And in order for companies and crews to not only stay relevant but also thrive in the years to come, they must understand and adapt to market shifts. No longer will tried-and-tested tactics achieve desired results, as we’ve seen in so many businesses that relied on them and paid the price. The BBC’s SJ Velasquez explains that businesses that have joined the long list of industries, millennials have allegedly “killed” are simply those that failed to adapt. This is where extensive research in demographic and audience insights comes in. Ayima’s Jessica Neale points out the key importance of gaining audience insight, as well as understanding what the market currently enjoys and related to the most, as these will inform all the decisions a brand or business should make. From a yacht’s design and marketing, down to custom experiences and services, all these components of superyachts must be rooted in understanding customer trends and their own personal tastes. This is instead of expecting your target market to adhere to traditional practices. In turn, this will give businesses a competitive edge over others in capturing this new and exciting market of superyacht enthusiasts. No matter what the future holds for superyachts, rest assured that only the ones who can adapt and listen to what consumers want, will be able to tap into this new group of billionaire customers.

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Exclusively written for by April Ford