Millennials Superyacht Owners Are Changing Yachting
A recent study by the International University of Monaco infers that the median age of superyacht owners has decreased by about ten years in the last twenty. A similar pattern is expected over the next twenty years, with the bulk of superyacht owners being between 35-45 years of age at the end of it.
Besides that, there has been a staggering increase in the demand for motor yachts over the last few years, with sales reaching a 13-year-high in 2020, as per the data from the US National Marine Manufacturers Association.
While the social distancing norms have indeed turned the new generation’s attention toward the sea, a gradual shift has been noticed since even before the pandemic hit. It is a safe, peaceful, and easily accessible alternative compared to land-based recreational choices.
Many aspects of the yachting industry, however, have changed significantly. The former and the upcoming generations do not share the same priorities. The impact is so substantial that many yacht manufacturers have come up with a new design category for millennials and GenZ. This new category takes into account their mindset, expectations and leanings.
Understanding this shift in the industry offers valuable insights and helps shipyards better cater to their clientele.
Current trends in superyachts for the new generation
Research and development
The next generation is deeply interested in the research and development of superyachts to make them more advanced. They want to see developments that are on par with the automobile and aviation industry. Yacht designers are constantly researching new hull shapes and technologies that enable easy moorage, shallow water cruising, and fuel savings due to reduced water resistance.
The upcoming generation is far more adventurous when it comes to exploring the world through yachts. They do not want to be restricted to popular destinations. They want to explore the world and see what their craft is truly capable of. Ocean-going hulls and engines, increased fuel efficiency, advanced water filtration and mineralization plants, solar panels, and multifunctional equipment are ideas that are currently being worked upon in the industry to accommodate such a lifestyle. The new generation yachts can also house many toys that enable the new generation to enjoy every terrain. They have dedicated spaces for helicopters, snowmobiles, jet skis, and even submarines.
Having grown up in the cradle of technology, the new generation knows how to harness its true power. As a result, millennials and GenZ expect superyachts to be more than a pleasant sight. They want services similar to, if not better than, what they have access to on land. With the advent of technology, superyachts today have advanced safety, navigation, automation, connectivity, and entertainment systems.
Reliable internet, in particular, has been a pain point for years. But with new companies taking on this challenge, many superyachts can now stream high-quality content even from remote parts of the world. Besides this, many smartphone apps such as Boatyard, Navionics and My Radar have improved the yachting experience even for beginners.
From ownership to chartering
A significant shift in buyer behavior has been observed in the ownership of yachts. The next generation is not as inclined towards ownership. They prefer co-ownership and even charters to offset some of the responsibilities of superyacht owners. According to Grandview Research, the yacht charter marketplace saw a significant increase in demand for superyachts charters throughout 2020 and into the current year.
With an increasing number of millennials preferring yacht charter vacations to full ownership, yacht sales and management companies have had to come up with new co-ownership plans and add charter management capabilities.
Sustainability is one of the most critical factors that affect the buying decisions of the new generation. A study by Forbes informs that as much as 50 percent of millennials and 54 percent of Generation Z are willing to pay extra for sustainable products. Most new gen superyacht owners are concerned about their carbon footprint and will pay a premium superyacht price for sustainable alternatives.
When considering which yacht to purchase, they are increasingly demanding electric or hybrid propulsion over those powered by fossil fuels. Kite sails, a carbon-free energy source that enables propulsion through wind energy, also see consistent improvements. Lithium batteries that derive power from the sun are another example of technology that allows millennials to reduce their eco-footprint significantly. Similarly, they prefer sustainable materials for the fabrics and interior design of the yachts.
Another trend in the sustainable yachts space is the ubiquity of upcycled products. Upcycling is the practice of converting old, waste or unwanted byproducts into new products that are of a higher quality. Superyachts builders increasingly favor such reclaimed products as a part of their green initiative to attract the new generation.
Summing it up
As we can gather from the above trends, the new generation has an entirely different attitude to superyachts when compared to GenX and beyond. While the previous generations used yachts more as a status symbol, the new generation does not. This generation cares more about how they are made and what they can do with them. They want products that leave a minimal footprint while doing as much as possible. With GenZ entering the yachting space soon, these trends are expected only to get stronger. It is clear that the emphasis will be on creating environment-friendly superyachts.