The Italian boating industry is making a slow, steady recovery after eight years of being in “crisis,” first caused by the 2008 collapse of financial markets, and then exacerbated by austerity measures of the Italian government in 2010-2013. In the last year, the industry seems to have found some stability again, with most companies reporting sales growth of 5% to 10%.
UCINA, Italy’s national trade association, said in a report last September that the Italian industry enjoyed a 10% gain for 2014/2015 (September 1-August 31) for the first time in nearly seven years. UCINA’s numbers, in fact, showed growth across the board. Turnover for Italy’s boatbuilding sector was up by 10% compared to the previous year, while its equipment makers saw collective sales lift by 9%. Engine sales rose 15% for the year.
Sales inside Italy’s domestic market were also up 12%, signaling what many hope will be a domestic turnaround. Even
the yacht leasing sector, which fueled the fast rise of many Italian boatbuilders before 2008, saw 11% growth. The average contract for a leased yacht is now over $1m, up 114% above the previous year.
Despite the double-digit gains, total industry turnover of $2.48bn in 2014/2015 is still less than half of its 2007 high of $6.2bn. Everyone agrees that the Italian boating industry has fundamentally changed, relying on new products and exports for growth. Most large yacht builders export at least 75% of their builds. Market leader Azimut puts its exports at 98% of total production. The same growth plans also apply to the equipment manufacturers who survived the crisis—they either expanded beyond Italy and invested in R&D, or withered.
Note: This is an excerpt of the country report published in the February/March issue of IBI magazine. Subscribers of IBI Plus can download the full report.