Charting A New Course For The Yachting Industry

June 21, 2017

In a previous post called “Keeping the luxury boating industry afloat” we started talking about the luxury boating industry; this post aims to touch on what the future could look like for the industry.

There was a dramatic upward turn in the economy from 2013 and even luxury purchases like super yachts saw a spike that year and the following year too. However, since then there’s been a steady decline in super yacht sales according to data collected by BOAT magazine.

SAILING VS OWNING

Younger members of the ultra-wealthy elite seem to find ownership restrictive, while the older ultra-wealthy are becoming trepidatious about purchases of this magnitude due to how financially demanding it is after the initial purchase. What this means is that although the novelty of owning a yacht has lost its luster, it does not really signal the end for the super yacht industry. In fact, this might be the time for a rebirth. Luxury consumers have become more careful with retail purchases over the past seven years, but if the statistics from Eventbrite’s “Fueling The Experiential Economy” report are anything to go by, the future of yachting lies in experiences and not ownership. As it stands there has been an increase in fractional yacht ownership, but even this method of ownership is somewhat limiting in terms of offerings and experiences. Most importantly, it is ownership, not an experience.

What the yachting industry might want to look into is more collaborative luxury experiences that are not just limited to the traditional charter models. Aside from boat shows in the summer, there also seems to be a lack of luxury brand partnerships offering a contemporary sailing experience that would make consumers open the deepest crevasse of their wallets. A great example of new luxury experiences that speak to a sense of adventure, is one created by Volvo in partnership with technology brand Tablet, called the pop-up “Get Away Lodge”. The duo created an exclusive winter cabin experience that featured a free test drive and unique designer décor. In marketing, we often refer to uncharted territories as “blue water.” Perhaps the time has come for the yachting industry to start exploring their own blue water by offering luxury consumers new, curated experiences. There are a plethora of luxury brands that would jump at the chance to partner up with a luxury boating brand to offer unique marine experiences. This might be the approach that can breathe new life into the luxury boating industry, the success of which won’t solely depend on sales.

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