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Britain's superyacht sector posts fourth consecutive year of growth

by Annabel Wildey on 26 Sep 2016 26 September 2016

Global demand helps industry revenue grow +11.5%

New figures released today show that the UK superyacht industry is buoyant and growing, despite the uncertainty and financial volatility surrounding the EU referendum.

British products, services and expertise continue to be in high demand from international markets, cementing the UK as a hub for the superyacht industry.

The figures come as businesses head to Monaco Yacht Show this week to showcase the best of British. Major exhibitors include international superyacht service providers, Burgess Yachts, who will be exhibiting the largest superyacht at the Show - the 90m Athena, and Princess Yachts, who will be showcasing their 30M and 40M motor yachts.

Key findings from the research include:

  • In 2015/16, industry revenue grew +11.5%, to £605 million – the fourth consecutive year of growth

  • In 2015/16, the sector contributed £273 million in GVA to UK GDP (+6.1%)

  • Full time employment in the sector has risen +4.5% to 4,125

  • The sector has recorded its highest levels of business confidence, with 75% of companies positive about the next 12 months. With the majority of members reporting high levels of confidence post-referendum, this is in stark contrast to the sharp falls in business optimism recorded in August among British SMEs in non-marine industries

  • Productivity levels are rising with 72% of respondents reporting an increase in business activity, compared to 61% in the last survey

Growth areas creating more jobs

The global superyacht boatbuilding and refit sectors, as well as aftermarket and service businesses, have grown rapidly since the recession. This has had knock-on benefits for UK jobs:

  • 50% of UK superyacht manufacturers are reporting an increase in staff numbers

  • One in five supply chain businesses, such as specialist galley fitters and interior designers, are reporting an increase in their workforce

Analysis – international markets, changing consumer demands and Brexit

Peter Brown, of international superyacht services provider Burgess, and Chairman of Superyacht UK said:

"The superyacht sector continues to outperform the rest of the marine industry and the domestic economy. From yacht design and new build, to legal services, we have the breadth of expertise to act as a hub for the global superyacht industry. Another year of impressive growth can be put down to businesses taking advantage of this hub status, strong market fundamentals and the growing global demand for British products and services."

Speaking about the impact of Brexit, Peter added:

"With market dynamics strong, the superyacht sector is expected to continue to post positive revenue growth over the next 12 months. The decision to leave the EU is likely to dampen this growth, but the sector is showing confidence going into the end of the year. This is because we have less exposure to domestic economic risk and a depreciation in sterling has strengthened the purchasing power of our overseas buyers."

Richard Selby, International Development Manager for Superyacht UK and British Marine said:

"Recent years have seen greater demand for yacht sales from international markets, including Asia and the US. This has led British builders to shift their focus to bespoke yacht builds. We are seeing this particularly with Sunseeker, which is now the number two shipyard in the world, and Princess, which has stood out as a leading global brand over the last few years. Both builders now regularly compete with rivals in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany."

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