The latest head count of the super-rich has revealed that the world has never seen so many ultra-high net worth individuals.
More than 200,000 individuals have garnered a combined wealth of almost £17 trillion, according to Michael Byrne of research group Wealth-X.
The group also explained the numbers of super-rich are growing in the US and Europe, while numbers in Asia and Latin America fell back, mainly as the result of an economic slowdown in China.
Europe seems to have come through the downturn and Eurozone crisis, when the numbers of super-rich fell by almost 2%, but last year they bounced back by almost 9%.
Nevertheless, China added another 3.8% super-rich individuals to the global roster last year.
Without the Chinese, the world’s ultra-high net worth numbers would have hit around 6.9%.
The figures were disclosed at a conference of delegates from more than 100 luxury brands meeting in London to discuss their marketplace.
One indicator that the world’s wealthiest individuals were unaffected by the downturn was the order book for yachts of more than 120 metres in length, which are in the £120 million price bracket.
“The call for these yachts never slowed,” said a spokesman for makers Burgess Yachts. “Our market is also getting younger. The average customer is 58 years old with two children, but we expect this demographic to change as parents distribute more of their wealth to their children earlier in their lives.”
This was echoed by Stephen Forsey, of clock and watch makers Greubel Forsey, who told the delegates that in a decade, the average age of his customers had dropped from 60 years old to 40.
Champagne and caviar
The conference heard that the super-rich population was already aging fast – with more than 75% over 50 years old and almost 20% aged between 40 and 49.
“We expect to see a massive transfer of wealth between the generations during the next decade,” said Byrne.
“The wealthy will get younger and younger and their definition of luxury is likely to challenge brands to change their products and the way they deal with their customers. We estimate around £2.5 trillion will transfer between parents and their children.”
Luxury means different things to different people, said Byrne, one person might want champagne and caviar while another prefers a bacon sandwich and a good cup of coffee.