- Superyacht owners are expected to get younger by 10 to 15 years in the next 20 years, reveals research by shipyard Rossinavi and the International University of Monaco.
- Millennial superyacht owners prefer experiences over material possessions, adventure and socializing over luxurious comfort, and chartering over ownership, according to the Monaco Yacht Show press packet.
- Their different preferences may change yachting in terms of design and selling tactics.
Are millennials set to change the superyacht industry?
Of the top 100 billionaires worldwide, 20% are below age 50, and superyacht owners are 10 to 15 years younger than they were 20 years ago, reveals new research by shipyard Rossinavi conducted in partnership with the International University of Monaco. And they’re expected to get even younger – within the next 20 years, the median age of superyacht owners will decrease from the 45 to 55 range to the 35 to 45 range.
But it’s not just the age that’s changing – it’s also the mindset.
This new group of superyacht owners views yachting as “an occasional pastime rather than an enduring passion,” according to the Monaco Yacht Show media packet. As self-made millennials still developing their business interests, they view a yacht as only one component of their fast-moving lifestyle.
Instead of mahogany and cigars, luxurious comfort and large cabins, millennial superyacht owners prioritize adventure, water sports, and exterior space. For them, it's all about having something new and surprising - life experiences take precedence over material possessions.
"They will still want the use of superyachts, but will be less interested in owning the asset," reads the MYS packet. "In fact, they may even see ownership as a restriction."
Johan Pizzardini, communications and media manager for the Monaco Yacht Show, told CNN that chartering is more appealing to millennials who don't want to be confined by superyacht ownership.
"They're more adventurous," he said. "New millennials say 'I want to charter a boat this week and next week I'd like to be somewhere else in the world so I'll have another boat.'"
As the MYS packet puts it: "They might spend a weekend on board in Sardinia, go back to work, and then join the boat the following weekend in Ibiza. It's a different concept from the traditional two-week cruise in the summer."
Millennial superyacht owners are slowly changing yachting
"The way people consume superyachts has changed with the new clients that are entering yachting," Pizzardini told CNN.
This is evident in yacht design. Based on its research, Rossinavi is the first to unveil a new yacht design category - superyachts designed for millennials.
According to the MYS packet, formal dining rooms and salons will be less evident as yacht designers turn to gyms, spas, water sports, and spaces that enable open-air socializing to accommodate millennials' desires.
And those who custom order superyachts are no longer requesting offices onboard, Business Insider previously reported, citing CNN. Instead, they want to be able to relax during their yachting excursions.
With this upcoming wave of superyacht owners preferring to charter, yachting companies will likely have to shift their tactics in order to sell yachts to them. Such re-packaging will involve how they communicate and interact with prospective owners, such as making contact through social media for a more immediate, personal form of communication.
"We are going to see a time when the traditional idea of yacht ownership starts to follow the same path as car-sharing services: more convenient than a traditional taxi, and a real alternative to owning a car," reads the MYS packet.
But it will be more of an evolution rather than a drastic change.
"According to the study, millennials are going to do things differently and the product will have to be re-packaged, but the yachts will not change that much and the ownership concept will not go away anytime soon," the MYS packet stated. "They will want their own product like the rest of us. Things change, but human nature stays the same."