Italian buyers are back, according to both the latest UCINA figures and anecdotal evidence garnered by IBI from the recent Cannes and Genoa boat shows.

Having pretty much flatlined since the beginning of the financial crisis back in 2008/09, there are growing signs that the domestic market in Italy is on the rebound. According to UCINA’s latest industry stats, revealed yesterday at the Genoa boat show, turnover for the total Italian industry hit €3.44bn in 2016, up from €2.9bn the year before and a low of €2.43bn in 2013.

At the height of the market in 2007, the Italian boating sector was worth €6.2bn.

Critically the domestic market appears to be resurgent. Italian production for the domestic market was valued at €0.68bn in 2016, a rise of 24.1% on the year before. For the first time since the crisis domestic gains are outpacing the growth in exports that had provided a vital lifeline to the industry since 2009. Exports also grew from 2015-2016 by a robust 15.9% to €2.18bn – compared to €1.6bn in 2010. In terms of the boatbuilding sector, exports constituted 85% of overall turnover in 2016.

However, the value of domestic-built boats destined for the local market has been on the increase too ­– accounting for €222.8m last year, up 61% on the €137.7m in 2015. In 2014 the domestic market accounted for just €86m worth of local production.

According to the latest survey, based on questionnaires supplied to Italian marine industry companies in 2016, turnover for the Italian boatbuilding sector, including refit and repair, amounted to €2.17bn, of which €1.95bn was down to new-builds, up 21.8% on 2015.

The figures are supported by anecdotal evidence following canvassing by IBI of the major Italian builders at both Cannes and Genoa boat shows. Azimut Yachts, Ferretti Group, Sanlorenzo and Monte Carlo Yachts all confirmed to IBI a marked increase in the numbers of Italian buyers. “Those Italians that were around were looking at our 65 and 70 models three years ago,” marketing and communications manager Federico Peruccio, told IBI in Genoa yesterday. “At Cannes last week they were back in bigger numbers and looking at bigger models – the 86, 80 and 76,” he confirmed.

Marco Valle, managing director at Azimut Yachts, said the builder had seen a 40% increase in Italian buyers at Cannes compared to the previous year. Ferretti Group CEO Alberto Galassi also confirmed in Cannes that Italian buyers were returning at the top end of its portfolio.

“The boating industry in Italy has been able to benefit from the moderate recovery of the Italian economy and seized the opportunities offered by the growth in exports,” read the UCINA report. “Compared to 2015, both domestic and foreign turnover in the sector has increased considerably.”