Wealthy Gulf buyers dominate global superyacht market

imagesThe Gulf region has anchored itself among the most important superyacht markets in the world, with nearly half of wealthy residents in the region looking to acquire the luxury status symbol.

Robert van Tol, operational director of Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss), said: “While traditionally, Western Europe and North America are the major markets for superyachts of 40 metres and above in numbers, due to the many ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) in these regions, the penetration percentage of each area – the number of UHNWIs versus number of superyacht owners – provides a much more interesting insight into the markets.”
“The 2013 SYBAss Economic Report, developed in cooperation with Boston Consulting Group, reveals that the Middle East has the highest ‘propensity to buy’ a superyacht, at 48 percent. This means that nearly half of the UHNWIs in the Middle East are likely to own or buy a superyacht – higher than anywhere else in the world,” he added.

Azzam, the largest yacht in the world, and around a third of the 200 largest yachts in the world are already currently owned by residents and nationals from the Middle East, according to a 2013 market analysis conducted by Boat International.

Proof of the resurgence in the sector is the 2014 ShowBoats International Global Order Book, which reported that 2014 will be the first year since 2009 that there has been an increase in the number of superyacht built.
Recently, the World Ultra Wealth Report, based on findings in the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013, showed that the Middle East’s billionaires – with a combined net worth of $354bn – hold a higher percentage of total wealth than in any other region in the world.

Around 40 percent of the Middle East’s Ultra High Net Worth wealth is held by the region’s 157 billionaires, compared to 28 percent in Europe, 22 percent in North America and 18 percent in Asia, according to the report.

Property consultant Knight Frank predicts that the number of US dollar billionaires in the Middle East will grow by 45 percent over the next decade with the HNWI population (individuals having net assets over 30m) in the region growing by 58 percent in 2022. The report also forecasts that the UAE HNWI population will grow by 53 percent in 2022.

With such growth in wealth in the region, it can only prove positive for those looking to attract customers at the upcoming Dubai International Boat Show 2014, which is aiming to reinforce the UAE’s status as a hub for superyachts. The 22nd edition of the show, organised by Dubai World Trade Centre, runs from March 4 to 8 at Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi.