The year 2021 was one of the strongest in the history of yachting, both in sales and charter. Yacht sales above 24 meters surged, hitting a new record by a substantial margin of over 1150 vessels. The year closed at an impressive +42% versus 2020 and +51% versus 2019, an all-time high that no one could have predicted.
And the successes were felt across the board. Both the used and new build markets performed extremely well, with used superyachts at +40% compared to 2020 and new build yachts at +41%. Within brokerage, demand exceeded supply. Newer, quality vessels sold quickly, yet prices remained firm. In the new build sector worldwide, shipyards are sold out across all size ranges for the next two years - an unprecedented scenario for yachting. Those looking to acquire a superyacht above 45 meters are now faced with 2025-2026 deliveries at the earliest.
Of the total number of yachts sold worldwide, 94% were motor yachts and 6% were sailing yachts. And the 24–40-meter size range retained its popularity, accounting for 76% of sales. Within shipbuilding, the Italian yards remain top of their game - leveraging their Made in Italy appeal - with Sanlorenzo, Benetti and Azimut among the builders with the highest number of units sold across new build and brokerage.
In this robust market, IYC ranks #1 among LYBRA (Leading Yacht Brokers Association” companies in number of yachts sold, and among the top three companies globally. In 2021, we accounted for a total of 90 sales, approximately 10% market share. Highlights include our total sales value of over $600 million in brokerage, four new build yachts sold and a total of $400 million in value from yachts currently under construction. We’re delighted to share that an impressive 63% of yachts sold by IYC fell within our company’s sales listings.
“The year 2021 was a great one for me, starting with the sale of an expedition vessel that is currently undergoing a refit for a Northwest Passage trip,” says IYC sales consultant Roy Sea. “A rising tide floats all boats, and I sold listings in record time, including one purchased with Bitcoin.”
For 2022, expectations run high. The outlook is positive, with last year’s momentum predicted to continue. The global increase in wealth over the past 24 months, coupled with a post-Covid recognition that yachts provide a safe haven, is driving demand. This is made evident by the growth forecast for the worldwide charter fleet, too, which is expected to increase at a rate of 8% following a buoyant performance in 2021. Amid that success, IYC maintained the largest charter fleet worldwide for the third year running, managing more than 115 yachts. The company achieved over 1000 weeks booked on its fleet in 2021, the highest number recorded by any brokerage.
“Mark Elliott and I had the biggest month in years in December 2021, closing six yacht sales, mostly to first-time yacht owners and/or charter clients turning owners,” says IYC charter consultant Carrie Freeman. “Despite Covid, we still prevailed in completing record charter vacations this year as clients turned to more secluded options and social distancing on the water.”
The idyllic land of Greece - where IYC enjoys a strong presence - emerged as the top charter destination in the world in terms of number of weeks booked. It accounted for 24% of total charter reservations, followed by France with 19% and Italy with 17%. And key cruising grounds on both sides of the Atlantic experienced high demand, to a point where qualified charter enquiries exceeded supply.
“The summer months were especially busy in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly Greece,” says IYC charter consultant June Montagne. “And, with The Bahamas being so accessible and streamlined regarding Covid protocols, this area has proven very popular year round.”
In recognition of a stellar 2021, IYC will be announcing the winners from its top three sales and charter consultants at the company’s upcoming 2022 Excellence Awards, held at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. Those in the running to scoop the top spots are Kevin Bonnie, Mark Elliott and Pierre Vezilier representing sales, and Barbara Stork Landeweer, Katya Hall and Carrie Freeman representing charter.
Looking at 2022, the charter season already has many confirmed reservations in the books globally. The possibility to charter yachts with fully vaccinated crews, clients’ appetite to venture further away from home and further anticipated relaxations around travel regulations are all factors expected to drive demand in the upcoming yachting season, especially in the Mediterranean. The successes of the past 12 months look set to continue apace.
“Last year brought us the delight of repeat clients looking for respite on their favorite yacht but also first-time charterers who had always wanted to charter but were waiting for the right time,” says IYC charter consultant Alice Newnham. “It’s safe to say, these ‘bucket listers’ have caught the yachting bug!”