Monaco yachting: Another record year for the books

Following the significant and unprecedented interruption of Covid-19 and a challenging international economy, the global yachting sector not only recovered in 2022, but thrived.

The global yachting sector continued to demonstrate impressive resilience in 2022, despite facing the ongoing fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as new economic challenges. This is particularly true in Europe, where over 60% of the global yachting industry is concentrated in the region, with Monaco remaining a central hub thanks to continued government investment and support.

After a tumultuous 2020, the global yachting industry saw an impressive rebound in 2021, with many wealthy individuals turning to yachting as a way to enjoy socially-distanced vacations. At the same time, post-Covid, there seemed to be a greater appreciation that life is uncertain and there was even greater emphasis placed on spending quality leisure time with loved ones.

The sector was valued at $8.91 billion, according to a recent report of global yacht sales, with the United States, Italy and France leading the market. In 2022, the market saw much of the same, with North America continuing as the fastest-growing market worldwide and Asia Pacific emerging as the next promising regional segment, both in yacht brokerage and new build sales.

According to Monaco-based brokerage firm Northrop & Johnson (N&J), the superyacht industry has approximately doubled in size in recent years  , with many brokerage firms reporting particularly successful results in the years following Covid-19. Many of the most reputable superyacht shipyards have also seen unusually high demand post-pandemic. According to the Global Order Book published by Boat International Media, the number of superyachts under construction in 2022 superseded the previous year, with 1,024 new build orders signed in total in 2022, compared to 821 in 2021—an increase of 24.7%. These shipyards also report double-digit growth and construction backlogs beyond 2026.

N&J, in particular, outperformed the sector growth enormously, having sold over 41% more of its own listings than its nearest competitor and selling almost one yacht every 48 hours in 2021.   In 2022, the company enjoyed its most successful year in history.

“2022 was a landmark year for the global superyacht industry, for yachting in Monaco and for Northrop & Johnson,” said Patrick Coote, Managing Director EU of N&J. “More yacht owners chose to list their yachts for sale with us than any other brokerage company worldwide. Sales, charters yacht management and crew recruitment were all off the charts. We were all expecting a gradual slow-down but demand remained high throughout last year and the buyers just kept on coming,”

In parallel with the strong sales of both new and second-hand luxury yachts, the yacht charter sector also saw impressive results. Thanks to consistent growth in the High Net Worth (HNW) population as well as the post-lockdown revenge travel phenomenon, the demand for superyacht charters has never been higher. Zelda Swindell, Charter Marketing Manager for N&J notes that the global charter fleet is now coming under increased pressure not only from rising demand but also due to superyacht owners who are increasingly reluctant to put their vessels out to charter, preferring to be onboard themselves, thereby creating a supply shortage.

“It’s really a seller’s market at the moment,” Zelda explained. “For owners looking to put their boat out to charter, there are so many opportunities. Charterers are desperately looking for good boats in an increasingly limited market, so it’s certainly an easier sell than usual!”

Monaco’s place in yachting

Having established its position as a significant international yachting hub, the Monegasque government continued to provide significant support to the sector. The last 12 months saw the local industry reach new heights, with over 1,400 yachting-related jobs in the Principality alone and an estimated annual contribution of over €750 million to the local economy.

“Yachting is a key part of Monaco’s commercial activity, not only providing revenue to the State but one of the major employers and a big draw for tourists,” said Ed Dickinson, a Yacht Broker based in the Principality. “I anticipate Monaco’s status as the yachting capital of the world will continue well into the future.”

Looking ahead

As for what the next 12 months will bring, industry insiders and commentators all agree that sustainability will play a key role in shaping the sector.

“New, younger clients are undoubtedly more environmentally-aware. Their requirements, coupled with increasingly-strict legislation, means that the designers, builders and crew are having to adapt to new ways of working, new materials, new designs and new technologies with less of a carbon-footprint and a smaller negative environmental impact,” concluded Patrick Coote.


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Photo source: Northrop & Johnson