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Sales of massive luxury superyachts spiked in 2021 compared to 2019, an industry publication revealed on Monday. The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic crisis have seen an incredible transfer of wealth into the coffers of the world’s richest people.
The Superyacht Group reported on Monday that sales of luxury vessels longer than 30 meters (98 feet) increased by 8% between January and October of 2021 as compared to the same period in 2019.
That translates to more than 200 new boats hitting the water in 2021, as compared to 165 in 2019. On top of that, another 330 have been ordered to be ready before the end of next year.
‘Some have seen that their ultra-rich friends who own yachts had a nice time during the pandemic, while they had to lock themselves at home,’ Pepe Garcia, chairman of Spanish shipyards MB92, the world’s leading superyacht refit firm, told Reuters. ‘I think this phenomenon is going to last for a few years.’
Brokers Fraser Yachts told Reuters that ‘2021 is significantly outperforming any of the last 12 years.’
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Owning such a vessel, which can cost up to $500 million, is a mark of the world’s richest humans, placing you among the ranks of Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, and David Geffen, the lattermost of whom drew no shortage of resentment by the world proletariat after announcing at the start of the pandemic that he was ‘self-isolating’ on his superyacht Rising Sun in the Grenadines, a Caribbean island chain.
Helping drive the massive purchases has been a huge upward transfer of wealth since March 2020, when the spread of COVID-19 became a global pandemic, bringing mass social lockdowns and demand for a host of new goods ranging from electronics to facilitate distance working, learning and socializing, to delivery services like DoorDash, to medical safety items like masks, swabs and gowns, and the most notorious investment project: COVID-19 vaccines.
By April of 2021, the world’s billionaires and politicians and media barons had collectively increased their wealth by $5 trillion, with 493 new billionaires on Forbes’ annual list. According to Oxfam, nine of them came just from vaccine research profits.
However, Italian yacht builder Azimut Benetti told Reuters that its US clients driving the demand, which has soared past €1.2 billion.
Wall Street created 56 new American billionaires in the first nine months of the pandemic, and by August of 2021, the Institute for Policy Studies think tank reported that US billionaires had seen their wealth increase collectively by 62% since the start of the pandemic – an increase of $1.8 trillion.
At the same time, at the bottom of the social pecking order, as many as 15 million Americans were behind on rent at the end of July, when Democrats allowed the eviction moratorium to expire, collectively owing between $20 and $73 billion, depending on various estimates. By the end of September, 1.4 million Americans said they expect to be evicted in the next two months, with another 2.3 million saying it was ‘somewhat likely’ they would soon lose their homes.
While the federal government set aside $46 billion to aid in bailing out landlords on behalf of struggling tenants, those funds have struggled to get paid out amid burdensome bureaucracy and other issues.
Other pandemic-era aid programs have been allowed to expire as well, including a boosted federal unemployment benefit that disappeared amid a Delta-variant-induced economic turndown.
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