The superyacht intelligence market is always interesting to follow, but it does require more professionalism and should not just be a tool to make money. As an example, one of the industry market reports which was published earlier this year was based on inaccurate data. While the analysis and statistics based on their data might have been good, it does not hold any value when the information model and data used does not match with reality. Providing intelligence and statistics on the market based on incomplete or inaccurate data is very dangerous.
For example, if you are saying that over the past six years on average 125 new yachts have been sold, then your data is not accurate. We, SuperYacht Times, report an average of around 158 for the same period and have verified all transactions. A small difference can be justified, but differences of more than 25% are unacceptable. Releasing incorrect statistics will not support the development of our market as companies, investors, professionals and owners, all make decisions based on market information.
It is always easy to criticise, so where does it go wrong and how should it be done?
First of all, the information model and system architecture need to be able to deal with every situation. To create an information model you need to have a deep understanding of the market. It is not enough to write down if a yacht is sold, but categorise the sales and record other factors of the deal such as previous prices, brokers involved, trade-ins, etc. The challenge is to create the information architecture that incorporates all of this and minimising the risk of making mistakes or double entries when recording the data.
Our new market report The State of Yachting 2019, will contain some of our superyacht principles for keeping track of the market. While it is in our interest as a company to do a good job, it is of much greater interest for the superyacht business to have accurate and complete data to analyse.
The second problem is the way in which data is collected. Too often people use a single source and only use the builders and brokers as a source for data. In order to get the full picture, you have to follow yachts and projects, which is more difficult, especially with new-builds. This technique will help to avoid missing out on a lot of projects because shipyards will not tell you everything and there are always some new or unknown yards building yachts.
The final key aspect is people. You need people who know what they are doing and know how the yacht industry works. Also, you will need a dedicated team. To keep a fleet database (30m+) up to date you will probably need two to three good people. With good people, I mean people with a yachting passion that have been doing this, preferably since they were very young, but at least three years. To keep track of refits and the sales market, you will need another two people. So that is a minimum of five people. Including myself and two interns, we now have a team of seven people who are involved with intelligence (Ralph, Aurelien, Malcolm, Justus, Sean and myself). Four of the team have between them over 60 years of experience in this line of work.
If you want to follow the new-build market properly, then the number of people is less important, but it is the experience that matters. New-build is a very difficult market and visiting or contacting the shipyards are the most common sources which will, in general, result in 80 to 90% complete reports. To get the extra 10 to 20% you will need a very good network and a trained team that knows how to exploit all sources.
I am confident to say that our data is the best in the business but we are never satisfied and always keep raising the bar. If you are interested in a demonstration of our intelligence system SuperYacht Times iQ, then please get in touch.
Photo: Charl de Rooy
Text: Merijn de Waard