How COVID-19 Changed the Yachting Industry

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in the spring of 2020, experts in the yachting industry were fearful. It was almost certain that the pandemic would lead to a global economic downturn. And worries abounded that the sector would probably get hit as severely as it did during the Great Recession, after the 2008 crash. Fortunately, for those of us in the leisure boat market, those fears were unfounded. Instead, something entirely unexpected happened.

How COVID-19 Changed the Yachting Industry

The Pandemic Yacht Boom

For the first few weeks of the pandemic, yacht sales dried up almost entirely as people held onto their money, bracing for the coming recession. Then, as air travel collapsed, and when countries closed their borders, things began to change. People realized that travel abroad was impossible; and those with money to spend began to look at other options. Owning a yacht seemed to be the perfect option, as well as being an excellent choice to travel to almost anywhere in the world It has become an ideal way to isolate and avoid contracting COVID.

Boat industry growth escalated quickly, and the prices of boats grew with it. It was also becoming apparent that some business sectors (such as home delivery shopping and online entertainment) were bringing in record profits, and large numbers of people suddenly had more money to spend.

By the end of 2020, nearly 320,000 new vessels were sold in the United States alone, a 13% increase from the previous year. Adding in used yachts, over 1.3 million vessels were sold in the U.S. boat market alone, with 415,000 Americans becoming first-time yacht owners.

Boat Shortages

Of course, the popularity of boating during the pandemic had its downside too. The number of yachts available, new or used, could not keep up with the demand. The pandemic added other problems too. Supply chain networks were stretched, leading to shortages in fiberglass, resin, and stainless steel. Retaining enough skilled labor became an issue.

Those purchasing new yachts were left waiting for weeks or even months, so they turned to the used boat market. This, in turn, led to an increase in the market value of new boats, to the point that people who bought their vessels before the pandemic were being offered higher prices for their used boats than they paid for them when new!

Boating Industry Trends in 2022

Although the travel restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic have now been almost universally lifted, boat industry sales remain strong. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, the pandemic created vast numbers of wealthy people. According to Forbes, nearly 500 billionaires were created during the first year of the pandemic.

Secondly, yachts are not just being used to travel anymore. In fact, some of them rarely leave the marina. Instead, their owners are using them as “party boats,” a place to bring their friends to have a meal, a few drinks, and enjoy the sea air. This particular trend is leading to a growing number of people becoming boat owners who would have previously not considered it.

So, what does the future hold? Yacht industry experts are not concerned (despite threats of a deepening recession on the horizon). They expect the global yacht market to continue growing from $10.8 billion in 2021 to an estimated $15.15 billion in 2026.

Buying or Selling a Yacht?

Florida Yachts International is here to meet all of your needs if you’re in the market for buying, selling, or chartering a boat. Our team of expert yacht consultants has their fingers on the pulse of the leisure boat market and can find the best deal, whatever you’re looking for.

We can help you with the knowledge and experience on what to look for when buying a boat, how to find the market value of a boat, and any other questions you may have about the yacht industry. Browse our worldwide inventory of new and used yachts for sale. Call us today at 305-239-4978 or contact us online to chat with one of our friendly experts.

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