On average, yacht owners are 10 to 15 years younger than the average buyer 2 decades ago. 20% of the world’s top 100 billionaires are under 50, causing a boom of youthful buyers in the yacht and super-yacht market. This trend is only set to speed up, as according to Business Insider, the median age of the yacht owner is forecast to decrease from 45-55 to 35-45 over the next 20 years.

Below we explore some of the ways this youthful boom is shaping and changing the yacht industry.

A Change of Style

Younger buyers tend to approach yachting as a more experiential holiday than the older demographic, placing a priority on adventurous locations and exciting water sports, over the traditional luxury and comfort favoured by the older generation.

Formal dining rooms and salons are making way for gyms, spas and open-air social spaces ready for the ideal Instagram post. On-board offices are also decreasing, as millennials seek a more immersive holiday experience, where they can switch off their phone and unwind.

Calls for More Conscious Yachting

To appeal to a more eco-conscious younger generation, the yacht industry needs to focus on sustainability. Hybrid propulsion is becoming increasingly popular, but more will need to be done to attract millennial buyers keen to reduce their carbon footprint. New innovative measures like waste-heat recovery, battery banks and more will be pushed to the fore as young buyers look for greener ways to sail.

Breaking Tradition

Millennials don’t only look to use their yachts differently, they’re looking to buy their yachts differently. Many prospective buyers are getting in touch with yacht sellers via social media or Whatsapp as opposed to traditional calls or emails. For the buyer it’s a much more immediate and personal form of connection – for the seller it’s a chance to get to know the client’s preferences before contact is made.

Younger buyers are also looking more into charter, or shared purchase options, so they can take a more flexible approach to how and when they sail. Many millennials adopt a more hop-on,hop-off approach to their yacht, opting to spend a weekend aboard in one location, then head back to work and re-join the yacht elsewhere for another adventure a few days later. Although many in the industry believe this trend is not built to last, as the concept of ownership has too much appeal.

While an influx of new blood will always make waves in any industry, it will be interesting to see how the ongoing influence of the millennial yacht owners will shape the industry in the years moving forward. While some trends, like shared ownership, may be fleeting, others, like sustainable sailing, are likely to shape the industry for years to come.