The boating market in the year of Covid: Italy remains world leader in super yachts

Confindustria Nautica has published the new edition of Monitor, the mid-year statistical report, with updates on the pleasure boating industry

12 March 2021 | by Redazione
Confindustria Nautica has presented the data for the 2020 year

How did the boating market go in the year of Covid? Is Italy still the leader in the manufacture of super yachts? The answers to these questions and more can be found in the third edition of the Monitor, the statistical report published by the Research Department of Confindustria Nautica, in partnership with Fondazione Edison and Assilea and the sponsorship of the Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport, as part of the series “La nautica in cifre [Boating in Numbers]”



The survey, carried out by the Research Department based on a significant sample of associated businesses, confirmed the qualitative data that emerged at the end of the boating season, with an evident dichotomy between the industrial component and the tourist boating component.

The distribution of the responses for the pleasure boating sector appears balanced with 44% of the sample showing a rise in turnover and 41% showing a reduction. For the merchandise segments, for accessories and engines, there are more conservative results: although the reduction in turnover seems similar to that of shipbuilding, stability is at 35%, eroding a share of the rise in turnover.

This data determines a possible closure of 2020 for the boating industry on par with global turnover of the previous year, around 4.8 billion euros.


Instead, analysing the satellite activities around boating tourism, the results are problematic due to the effects the pandemic had on international travel, with the evident lack of extra-European clients in the Mediterranean.

For ports and service, approximately 57% of the sample show a drop in turnover, but in the boat charter segment 82% of business have shown a drop, with two businesses out of three reporting a reduction in turnover of over 20%.


Moving on to the forecast for the current boating year, businesses in the boating industry seem to be showing a more positive outlook compared to 2020. For the pleasure boating sector over two out of three member companies are showing a growth compared to the previous year, with only 7% of the sample showing a possible reduction.

For the accessories/engines segment 41% of respondents noted a rise and 49% noted levels were stable. Regarding activities of boating tourism there is a more positive result compared to 2020: 44% growth and 50% stability for marinas and services, 50% growth and 26% stability for the charter sector. The data, in particular for the charter, are in comparison to the worst season in 20 years. An outlook of growth cannot, therefore, correspond to pre-Covid levels.


Italy once again confirms that for 2021 it remains the leader at a world level in the super yacht sector, meaning vessels above 24 metres. The  Global Order Book, published by Boat International,  places the Italian industry in top place for orders of vessels over 24 metres, with 407 yachts under construction out of a total of 821 globally.

For Italy, this means the largest number of orders recorded in the GOB since 2009. The Italian share represents a little under half of the orders worldwide, reaching 49.6% of the total, with a rise of 9 units compared to  2020, corresponding to a growth of 0.3%. Turkey and the Netherlands follow with, respectively, 76 and 74 orders.


Regarding boat leasing, in 2020 the volume of number of contracts signed began to grow, reaching an overall contractual value of 593.7 million euros, 15.9% more compared to 2019. This sub-sector of the pleasure boating industry continues to cover the predominant share in overall boat leasing, equivalent to 96%, recording a rise in both numbers and value.

The publication of the new edition of Monitor – notes Saverio Cecchi, chairman of Confindustria Nautica – is an important moment for the market. Indeed, Monitor offers a punctual overview of the health status of the Italian boating market, presenting a detailed photograph of the situation mid-way through the boating year. We consider it to be a fundamental value to support entrepreneurs in the industry, allowing them to work with the full knowledge of data and trends, even more so in a period as complex as the one we are living in.

In honour of the publication of Monitor, a new release of the web portal, was published, from where all reports, dating from the last 20 years,  of the La Nautica in Cifre series can be downloaded.


Giuseppe Orrù

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