After walking around the Miami Boat Show this week, I had the opportunity to speak with several excited future owners, as well as representatives from many of the shipyards in the 40-foot to 100-foot range. While none of this will come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the trends in yacht sales, there were mixed emotions from everyone as inventory shortages continue and demand remains incredibly strong. As you can imagine, even the most popular yacht brands have not been spared from equipment troubles, material shortages, and shipping delays.
(Keep scrolling down to get to the most popular boat brands by number of sold boats.)
The love and passion for boating that has grown this amazing recreation continues to thrive, while the need for relaxation is more important than ever before. What better way to unwind than on your own personal yacht, enjoying the sun and ocean with your favorite guests! I listened to one couple's plans to take on the Great Loop and had brought with them a list of bridge heights, along with requirements they wanted in a boat for their adventure. They planned on spending over a year on the Loop, taking their time along the way to enjoy each stop. Another gentleman perused over a 58-foot motor yacht with future plans of putting it into a yacht charter program in the Bahamas during season and off the New England Coast in the Summer.
The boating dreams and aspirations were generally the same as previous boat shows, but the sales climate was noticeably different. In some new boat displays, 'SOLD' signs could be seen on every single model on display.
Manufacturers, yacht dealers, and boaters alike all complained about the lack of available inventory - both new and used - with many wait times for new builds 18 months out or more. Fueled by shortages in materials and microchips, along with the incredible uptick in boat sales in the U.S., the current climate is one of quick decisions and fast action. Buyers using a professional yacht broker are more likely to be successful in finding the perfect boat as they can not only watch the market for what becomes available, but they also have knowledge of boats not yet currently advertised.
And for sellers, if there ever were a perfect time to sell your yacht quickly and for potentially over-asking price, it's right now!
Consider these facts for a moment:
- Total U.S. pre-owned sales increased 10% from 2019 to 2021 while the total value increased 57%
- Sales in the 46' to 55' category grew 34%, while the 56' to 79' category grew 38%
- Yacht Sales for the 80'+ category grew 61%
- United Yacht Sales also saw growth of 29% in 2021, after increasing sales by 31% in 2020.
- The average boat value, across both power and sail, has increased 40% since pre-pandemic conditions.
A 10% increase in sales is a tremendous surge for an industry that sees nearly $40 billion in sales each year. According to a 2021 market index report from Boats Group, cruising yachts were the most popular type of yacht searched for on the brokerage market. Coming in second place were center-console boats, followed by motor yachts.
"It makes sense that cruisers are the most popular searched for boat," said Captain Jeff Palmer, UYS co-President. "Not only are there more cruising-style boat builders, but the versatility of this design keeps them relevant. People love to go on trips, whether it's to the islands or up the coastline, and the comfortable accommodations they provide are important to the owners." Our team can assist you in determining how much you should spend on a yacht.
While not a representation of every single boat sold in the marketplace, the below list outlines what boat brands were the most purchased on the brokerage market in 2021 in the United States. If you're looking to sell your boat, whether it's on this list or not, give our main office a call at 1-772-463-3131 to be connected to an expert on the current market.
Here are the most popular boat brands in 2021*
1. Sea Ray Boats
2. Boston Whaler
4. Regal Boats
5. Carver Yachts
*Criteria: U.S. sales only, pre-owned only. Data: Soldboats.com
(Seen below: An excellent example of a pre-owned Sea Ray yacht that is currently listed with United Yacht Sales.)
The brands listed above really come as no surprise as there were simply many more of these vessels built in the 90's and 2000's that continually become available for sale on the brokerage market each year. If we move the criteria to 50-feet and up, the top 5 brands change drastically.
Here are the most popular yacht brands over 50-feet:
1. Sea Ray
2. Hatteras Yachts
3. Viking Yachts
4. Azimut Yachts
5. Prestige Yachts
I would also like to note that Carver Yachts and Ocean Alexander would have been included if we excluded the sportfishing brands. Although Hatteras and Viking both build motor yachts, the bulk of their sales continue to be in the fishing category.
Here are the top sportfishing yacht brands in 2021: (production builders)
1. Viking Yachts
2. Hatteras Yachts
3. Tiara Yachts
5. Bertram Yachts
There are simply more cruising boat builders than sportfishing boats, making it important to break this category out by itself. Even drilling down further would require separating pre-owned custom sportfishing boats out from the production boats since so few of them are built each year.
(Seen below: This Merritt Yachts 58' is an exciting example of a custom sportfish listed with United Yacht Sales.)
The second most sought after category, center-console boats, always seems to be a dominant segment of the industry thanks to their relative affordability when compared to much larger yachts. The ease of handling and maintenance, normally due to having outboard engines, makes this a popular choice for many boat owners.
Here are the most popular center-console brands on the pre-owned market:
1. Boston Whaler
Please note that many boats in this category are sold 'For Sale By Owner' so exact numbers can be hard to quantify. This data represents pre-owned center-consoles sold through brokers and noted in soldboats.com. Both Contender Boats and were close behind Intrepid in terms of number of boats sold.
(Seen below: This Boston Whaler 38 Realm is a great example of a higher-end center-console on the brokerage market.)
No matter what type or brand of boat you own, whether it's considered popular or not, the United Yacht Sales will team will provide the right market analysis for you, a clear plan of action on how to sell it, will follow up with every inquiry promptly, keep you informed on its progress, and continue providing assistance through closing. United Yacht Sales has over 250 yacht brokers worldwide with one of the top support teams in the industry. Our network of boat buyers and sellers is the largest there is and we will put it to work for you whether selling your current boat or on the search for a new one. To get started with UYS, call our main office at 1-772-463-3131 or fill out our What's My Boat Worth form to get a quick pricing analysis.