Filter your search
Search for yachts, articles, offices,
team and more...

New build trends and market dynamics
15th September 2023
Following a period of heightened demand and shifting owner requirements, the new build market is evolving rapidly. Camper & Nicholsons Head of New Build Division, Daniela Duck, shares her unique insight and experience with the industry’s most innovative shipyards to discuss the latest innovations and trends she has witnessed, while outlining what prospective clients need to know about this exciting sector.

CONTACT OUR TEAM Facebook Linkedin Twitter Email Whatsapp
C&N News

New build trends and market dynamics

For Daniela Duck, head of Camper & Nicholsons new build division, a key role is to follow all the latest innovations and trends for yachts under construction so that our clients don’t miss a trick. This means constant travel around the world to visit leading shipyards and conduct behind-the-scenes tours.

Innovations and trends

At the approximately 180 shipyards that Daniela has access to, including every top tier manufacturer, aft swim platforms with fully opening sides are one of the most prevalent features of the moment. “Direct contact with the sea is a key trend,” she explains. Some yards are taking it further by crafting huge aft areas on the lower deck – with sofas, bars and the sea on three sides – which they have christened ‘ocean lounges’. They are light years away from a simple rear swim platform.

Full height windows on the top deck are also becoming the norm. “This trend is nothing new, but many floor-to-ceiling windows slide open to create an al fresco feeling,” describes Daniela. In cooler climates, when installed on an explorer or crossover model, the windows can form a winter garden with fabulous sea views.

Technological developments have opened the door to different types of yachts. “In 2023, there has been huge interest in catamarans, which historically would not feature in the superyacht league,” attests Daniela. Big name manufacturers have introduced 35m to 45m multihulls. These offer beguiling amounts of hydrodynamic efficiency and space compared to monohulls. Their shallow draught means they can anchor enviously close to the shore. “Catamarans once struggled to find a place in port,” adds Daniela. Now guests, provisions and the limited amount of fuel needed to propel them can be transported directly to the catamaran, ensuring they seldom need to dock again.

Catamarans can also boast impressive environmental credentials. “Quite simply, catamarans have an extensive surface area available for solar panels,” says Daniela. One model from a yard in Italy allows the yacht to cross the Atlantic in electric mode for 80% of the voyage. That said, most yachts that Daniela and her team can contract for delivery through 2024, 2025 and 2026 pack enough battery power to fuel a nightly hotel load, keeping the ship operational without starting the generators – what manufacturers call ‘silent night’. 

“One Italian shipyard has built a package that combines AI power management with the infotainment and lighting systems,” continues Daniela. This in turn dictates the battery levels, making the charging process ruthlessly economical. “Every shipyard is competing and spending on R&D to find sustainable and activity-led features.”

Shipyard capacity

Through 2021 and 2022, unprecedented numbers of new build yachts were ordered, with 120 and 186 luxury yacht projects signed off in respective years. “Now 2023 and 2024 are the years for deliveries,” says Daniela. There are, however, a few delays. “No matter where the shipyard is located, or how top tier the builder is, they have all suffered due to the conflict in Ukraine and ongoing supply chain shortages,” she adds. “But a huge number of new builds purchased during 2021 will be launched in the last two quarters of 2023, depending on the specification or if they are semi-custom.”

This has created a gap in the coming market. As Daniela succinctly explains: “2023 has been a relatively good year for new build sales, but we have seen a small decline due to physical limitations. The builders are simply running out of building slots.” As new boats launch from drydock to sea trials, the choice for owners is hotting up again. “This is an advantage for new buyers because the extremely limited inventory we had in 2022 is being more populated.” This year Camper & Nicholsons signed several major new build contracts at premier shipyards, which will remain anonymous until launch.

Size matters

The most popular shipyards, series, and models depend greatly on a prospective owner's requirements, factoring in length, budget, range, cruising location and primary usage. Daniela believes that most sales will remain in the 30m-to-40m and 40m-to-50m core segment, accounting for two-thirds of the whole new-build fleet. If ordered this autumn, most could be in the water in time for the 2025 Monaco Yacht Show.

Daniela confirms that the 50m-plus segment has become particularly sought after. Technological advances in materials and naval architecture have allowed designers to push the envelope in terms of space and scope. “Today, a four-deck yacht in the 45m to 55m category might feature four spacious ensuite cabins on the lower deck,” she explains. “Plus, a VIP on the main deck, then a master cabin on the upper deck with a private terrace. There are so many architectural variations.”

There are also regulatory advantages to building within this size range. “If your yacht is up to 52m, or even 55m in rare cases, you can still manage to be under 499 GT,” advises Daniela. Going over 500 GT means builders have to adhere to different construction rules regarding flag, class and safety obligations, which results in higher building costs.

While there’s nothing that cannot be fitted on a 50m yacht, including six cabins and a helipad, the 60m-to-80m range promises sensational amounts of space. The 80m-to-100m range greater still. “This segment has not dropped in interest,” claims Daniela. Indeed, the opportunities have become greater. “Traditionally mainly Dutch and German builders dominated this market but in recent years Turkish and Italian builders have produced brilliant models at this length.” While prices are keener from Mediterranean builders, Daniela attests that the quality levels between Turkey, Italy and northern Europe are becoming closer and closer.

The new build process

So how does a customer decide? Most often the first proposals are pitched by highly experienced Camper & Nicholsons brokers, who maintain direct contact with their clients. Last year yielded a different approach. “An inexperienced new buyer from Switzerland contacted us directly through our website,” recalls Daniela. “He was looking for professional assistance to figure out which new build could be right for him.” Her team competed in a tender package against two other agencies and were selected to provide pre-contract advice.

Daniela and her technical surveyor shuttled between the eventual chosen Italian shipyard and the buyer’s Swiss headquarters. “Clients are welcome to check the progress of their new build yacht but the frequency with which they visit varies greatly,” says Daniela, who spent 15 years in management positions at Perini Navi. Most choose to visit the shipyard at least every six months. A few have more time to become actively involved and visit monthly. Others might depend completely on Camper & Nicholsons to send monthly reports backed up by videographic footage.

Daniela and her team can be relied upon to find the ideal new build yacht to suit any requirements, at any moment. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to start the enquiry process. In fact, the upcoming Monaco Yacht Show provides the perfect opportunity to survey some of the latest new builds launched.

Promoted Yachts for Sale