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How is The Yacht Market Doing in 2021?

June 17, 2021



Q1 Market Report | Yacht Sales Analysis

The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted industries worldwide, and the yachting sector was no exception. Like many other businesses, yachting companies went from predicting a busy and exciting year to planning survival strategies. 

Thankfully, the gloom did not last long. Today, as the world steadily recovers, the yachting sector’s present and future are bright, to say the least. According to recent industry reports, the global yacht market is set for what could be its strongest year ever. Comparing 2020 to 2021 so far reveals a massive leap in boat and yacht sales. 


All Yachts Sold Worldwide In Q1 From 2008-2021

How did the pandemic affect yachting?

While the pandemic had an immediate negative impact on the yacht market, it set the stage for a breathtaking performance down the road. With borders closed and galas canceled, it did not take long for yachting to emerge as the best option for some private, socially distanced leisure. Moreover, working from home made people more flexible to enjoy their free time as they please. In 2020, the number of first-time yacht buyers rose for the first time in more than ten years, up 10% from 2019.

COVID-19 also shone new light on explorer yachts, some of which can do up to 9,000 nautical miles without refueling. Potential yacht club members realized they could enjoy life on the water for long periods without having to mix with others. 

Meanwhile, although lockdowns choked the money streams of the general public, the stock market experienced a great 2020, and the ultra-wealthy got even richer. According to Forbes, U.S. billionaires got about $1.2 trillion richer during the pandemic. This trend contributed to a rise in demand for superyachts, which has continued well into 2021. This year, superyacht sales are up over 46% compared to last year. 


Average Units Sold: 83
Average Annual Growth: 13.19%
2020-2021 Growth: 46.15%

In a statement, Denison Yachting president Bob Denison expressed his excitement at the industry’s remarkable recovery. 

“Our industry is still riding the great wave of 2020. Our Q1 numbers set new records for us organizationally across all revenue categories. The first quarter of 2021 has been strong due to continued demand from 2020. Yachting’s competitive industries, such as skiing and higher-end vacation experiences like cruises, are still being affected by extended lockdowns, which have created a special opportunity for our industry.” 

Bob Denison.

The ballooning U.S. yacht market

According to a National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) report, U.S. boat sales are at a 13-year high, thanks mainly to a heightened increase in safe outdoor leisure activities in the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions.

In Q1 2021, yacht dealers sold over three times more boats in the Southeast and Gulf Coast than the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. These numbers are not surprising since these regions offer some of the most on-demand boating destinations in the country. Florida alone boasts more than 8,400 miles of shoreline and 30,000 inland lakes. The third most populated state makes up 25-30% of all U.S. boat sales.


This year, Florida experienced its best first quarter in over a decade, with a leap of 1,008 more boats sold in Q1 2021 than Q1 2020. Like all other yachting hotspots, the Sunshine State is still riding the pandemic wave. In 2020, Florida implemented less restrictive lockdown measures than the rest of the country. As a result, people flocked south to get outdoors and enjoy popular (and safe) activities like snorkeling, diving, kayaking, fishing, boating, and yachting. For yacht brokers in the state, it was virtually business as usual.



Boat sales are expected to stay at historic levels in the top three U.S. boating regions through the year and beyond. Many boat dealers are still fulfilling order backlogs from 2020, yet more Americans are uncovering the benefits of being outside and on the water. As the market continues growing, the pressure is now on retailers to ramp up production and streamline supply sooner rather than later. 

A Promising Future for Yachting

Why Florida? The sunshine state experienced less restrictive lockdown measures than the rest of the country. Snorkeling, diving, kayaking, fishing, boating, and yachting are popular (and safe) Florida activities — people flocked south to get outdoors and enjoy the water. For yacht brokers, it was business as usual in the sunshine state.

2020 was one of the market’s best years in yacht sales, charters booked, and marketing goals, and going by recent numbers, 2021 will be even better. The industry sells a first-quarter average of 83 superyachts, with an annual growth rate of about 13%. In 2021, sales exceeded 130 superyachts, surpassing 2018, 2019, and 2020, respectively. With this trend, this year will likely be our best ever! As a company, we are excited to lead the way in global superyacht sales. 

Ride the wave with us — Denison has plenty of featured yachts for sale. Let us know what you are interested in, and we’ll find the best option to get you on the water. 

Contact a Denison yacht broker today


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