With the 2019 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show right around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to delve into the various yacht industry trends owners and industry professionals can look forward to in the coming year. In a series of interviews by Robb Report and Worth Magazine, Azimut Benetti Group Vice President Giovanna Vitelli and Burgess Director Tim Wiltshire provided some unique insights into the industry.
Not only did they highlight changing customer desires, but they also discussed what their respective superyacht businesses have done to stay relevant and successful. Here are just some of the gold nuggets of information our marine diesel engine dealers and diesel specialists were able to glean from two of the top executives in the yachting industry.
Customer Trends – What Do Yacht Owners Want?
After being on the board since her 20s, Vitelli now leads the world’s largest luxury yacht manufacturer – the Azimut Benetti Group. According to her, the very concept of luxury is changing in the eyes of yacht owners. While bigger and bigger yachts are being made and sold (Vitelli points to the growing demand for over 300-foot “giga yachts” their manufacturer must supply), the excessive design and over-the-top opulence that has characterized the yachting lifestyle for decades is being rejected.
In its place is an embrace of lightness, sophisticated and refined contemporary design, and even practicality. Explorer-style yachts continue their upward momentum in popularity. This yacht industry trend is showing up in the robust styling of yacht exteriors as well as current yacht interior design. Owners no longer want ornate and cluttered styling. They want airy spaces and comfortable elegance, that’s both classic and modern.
“The yachting industry had a big boom in the 1980s and 1990s, and yachts were very opulent, with a lot of rich materials like glossy ebony and onyx. Interior designers in yachting had no fresh ideas, but habits are changing. I’d never sit inside a formal dining room on a boat anymore.” – Giovanna Vitelli, Vice President at Azimut Benetti Group 1
A Look Into The Future – Yachting Industry Growth
Vitelli credits her company reinvesting in itself and innovations in interior design as the reason the Azimut Benetti Group not only survived the global financial crisis but came out of it stronger. During that difficult time, the yachting industry was hit hard. A lot of businesses, even ones considered giants, went out of business. However, the market for yachts survived and according to Burgess’ Wiltshire the yachting industry growth will not stop anytime soon.
“[The market is] actually in very good health. Following a three-year hiatus after the global financial crisis, the market has been on an upward trend since about 2013. That said, there are headwinds on the horizon generated by nervousness over trade and geopolitical situations. However, the industry is arguably more prepared and more professional than it was in 2007, and there isn’t nearly the same leverage of assets that we had before the crisis.” – Tim Wiltshire, Director at Burgess 2
- Jackie Cooperman, Worth – The Woman Leading a Super Yacht Empire
- Danielle Culter, Robb Report – Why This Superyacht Exec Believes the Marine Industry Is in ‘Very Good Health’