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Marketing to the super rich; a guide to the world’s two richest audiences

While it’s easy to group the world’s wealthiest audiences into one group, they can be broken down into distinct individual audiences; billionaires, Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals, Very-High-Net-Worth Individuals, and High-Net-Worth-Individuals.

Each of these affluent consumer groups has unique behaviours and interests and therefore requires tailored marketing campaigns.

Marketing to the super rich such as billionaires and UHNWIs poses unique challenges. Their small numbers, especially within the wealthiest audiences, such as the world’s billionaires, can easily throw a marketer off course, with segments often falling below the threshold for statistically viable insights.

To successfully market to super rich audiences, marketers must genuinely understand the world’s top wealth tiers and how these individual groups will view the same products, services, and brands differently. These insights can then be translated into a marketing strategy, channel and content plan, to reach the right audiences at the right time and place.

Relevance is a digital marketing agency that specialises in marketing to the super rich developing digital marketing campaigns that reach and resonate with the world’s wealthiest audiences. Here we explore the world’s top two richest audiences.

Marketing to the super rich; the world’s two wealthiest audiences

How to market to the wealthy: Billionaires 

Billionaires are the world’s richest audience. The 2021 World Wealth Report states that there are 3,204 of these elite individuals and that collectively they own US$10 trillion. 

According to Forbes’s Real-Time Billionaires List, as of writing, topping the billionaire list is Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest individual with an estimated wealth of $221.1 billion, Jeff Bezos with $163.3 billion, Bernard Arnault & family with $147.7 billion, Bill Gates with an estimated $128.8 billion, and Warren Buffet with $116.7 billion.

While those in the billionaire audience are all incredibly wealthy, there is still a vast wealth disparity. David Xueling Li currently ranks at the bottom of Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaire List with an estimated wealth of around $1 billion.

The cities with the most billionaires, according to the Wealth-X Billionaire Census, are New York, Hong Kong, and San Francisco. Around 30% of the world’s billionaires live in North America, with a similar number (27.6%) living in Europe. Interestingly, American billionaires are wealthier than their European counterparts – point in case is the fact that 8 out of the top 10 wealthiest billionaires are from the U.S. 

Marketers should note that while American and European billionaires currently dominate the world’s richest list, the number of Asian billionaires is growing rapidly, so this emerging market should not be ignored when marketing to the super rich.

The world’s billionaires are currently dominated by men – nearly 90%, according to the Wealth-X Billionaire Census. According to the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is the world’s wealthiest female billionaire, with an estimated wealth of just over $73 billion at the time of writing, followed by Alice Walton, with an estimated wealth of $65 billion.

The key to reaching this highly elite audience is crafting content that resonates with billionaires. According to the 2020 Wealth-X report, philanthropy is one of the most important billionaire interests, with nearly every billionaire having established a charitable foundation. The top causes are social services, healthcare, arts and culture, and education. Philanthropy is followed by sport, aviation, politics, real estate, and education.

When marketing to the super rich, luxury marketers must also target billionaires’ entourages, trusted confidants who simplify the business of living and protect them from inevitable intrusion. A billionaire’s entourage typically includes trusted advisors, executive assistants, family offices, personal shoppers, and security guards. These are often the decision-makers, and while marketing to these individuals may seem daunting, they are not impenetrable. 

How to market to the wealthy: Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals

Below billionaires are UHWNIs. These are defined as individuals with a net worth of more than $30 million, but less than a billion. This is a much larger audience segment than billionaires – around 100 times larger, according to the Wealth-X 2021 Ultra-Wealth Handbook – with an average wealth of around $52 million and an average age of 64.

Cities with the most ultra-high-net-worth individuals include those such as New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, Geneva, Zurich, Basel, and San Jose. According to Wealth-X, 44.3% of UHNWIs have their primary business in the U.S. and China, showing the importance of these two markets.

This affluent demographic is growing, with new emerging markets providing exciting opportunities for premium brands wishing to market to wealthy consumers. 

One growing segment that luxury brands must not ignore when marketing to the super rich is the number of UHNW women. In 2016, UHNW women made up just 6.5% of this wealthy cohort. But by 2020, they made up 10.2%, according to the Wealth-X 2021 Ultra Wealth Report. Therefore, a central component of a luxury brand’s marketing campaign should be aimed at this growing contingent. You can learn more about marketing to UHNW women here.

UHNWIs boast similar interests as billionaires, with philanthropy topping the list. Interestingly, American UHNWIs lead the way on giving by some 25% compared to other UHNW nationalities. Other interests include sport, real estate, and outdoor pursuits. Public speaking is also an interest of this cohort. 

Just like billionaires, UHWNIs will likely have an entourage – albeit a smaller one – of trusted individuals, who should also form part of a luxury marketers marketing to millionaires campaign. 

Check out our article for inspiring luxury marketing trends to help you reach UHNWIs.  

If you are a luxury brand seeking advice on marketing to the super rich, then contact Relevance’s team of luxury marketing specialists. 

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