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Making Billions: The Richest People in the World

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The Richest People in the World

In the last year, the wealth controlled by the world’s top 10 billionaires has jumped by over $76B.

Even in the teeth of jittery markets, many of the world’s richest people have seen their wealth surge to new heights as COVID-19 unfolds.

Today’s infographic draws data from Forbes Billionaire’s List and shows a broad cross-section of the world’s billionaires – highlighting their stratospheric wealth in the current economic climate.

Wealth in Astonishing Circumstances

The below table shows the fortunes of the world’s 10 richest people, comparing the numbers from March 5, 2019 to the most recent data from April 22, 2020.

RankNameNet Worth 2020*Net Worth 2019*Change 2019-2020
#1Jeff Bezos$145B$131B+$14.1B
#2Bill Gates$104B$97B+$7.1B
#3Bernard Arnault & Family$92B$76B+$15.5B
#4Warren Buffett$73B$83B-$9.1B
#5Mark Zuckerberg$69B$62B+$6.5B
#6Larry Ellison$66B$63B+$3.4B
#7Steve Ballmer$63B$41B+$21.3B
#8Amancio Ortega$61B$63B-$2.2B
#9Larry Page$58B$51B+$7.6B
#10Jim Walton$57B$45B+$12.0B
Total Change+$76.2B

Source: Forbes – *As of April 22, 2020 **As of March 5, 2019

Gaining the highest across the top 10 is former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who saw his fortune rise over $21 billion since March 2019.

Facing the steepest losses belong to investing luminary Warren Buffett, whose net worth has dropped over $9 billion over the past year. At year-end 2019 Buffett was a 11% shareholder in Delta Airlines. In April, Buffett sold 13 million shares in the airline.

Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune is holding steady. Amazingly, the Facebook founder still remains one of the world’s youngest billionaires (ranking 22nd out of 2,095) despite first joining the billionaire club a dozen years ago.

Newcomers to the List

As a new decade begins, who are among the most newly-minted billionaires?

Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom has climbed in the ranks as online video communication demand soars. Zoom went public in April 2019 at a stunning $9.2 billion IPO valuation. As of April 24, 2020, Zoom was valued at over $44.3 billion.

RankNameNet WorthSource of Wealth
#1Eric Yuan$7.8BZoom
#2Anthony von Mandl$3.9BMark Anthony Brands
#3Larry Xiangdong Chen$3.6BGSX Techedu
#4Dmitry Bukhman$3.1BPlayrix
#5Igor Bukhman$3.1BPlayrix
#6Sun Huaiqing$3.0BGuangdong Marubi Biotechnology
#7Forrest Li$2.4BSea Group
#8Byju Raveendran$1.7BByju's
#9Jitse Groen$1.5BTakeaway.com
#10Qian Ying$1.5BMuyuan Foods

*As of April 22, 2020

Similarly, Netherland’s Jitse Groen has witnessed his food-delivery company Takeaway.com expand extensively. Takeaway.com currently operates in 11 countries across Europe and received regulatory approval to complete a $7.6 billion merger with JustEat in April.

Forrest Li who runs Sea, an online-gaming and e-commerce company, has similarly joined the ranks. Tencent and private equity firm General Atlantic are among its major stakeholders.

The COVID-19 Response

As the global economy contends with a loss of confidence and job losses, some of the world’s richest people are stepping up to the plate.
Billionaires with COVID-19 donations

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is donating roughly 25% of his net worth to COVID-19 in the form of Square stock, valued at $1B.

His donation, which was placed in a donor-advised fund called Start Small LLC, is more than four times higher than any other billionaire. That said, after the pandemic, Dorsey also stated that this money may also go towards girl’s health and education, as well as universal basic income (UBI).

RankNameCOVID-19-Related Donation% of Net Worth
#1Jack Dorsey$1B25.6%
#2Bill & Melinda Gates$255M0.2%
#3Azim Premji$132M2.2%
#4Andrew Forrest$100M+1.2%+
#5Jeff Bezos$100M0.1%
#6Michael Dell$100M0.4%
#7Lynn Schusterman, Stacy Schusterman$70M2.1%
#8Amancio Ortega$68M0.1%
#9Nicky Oppenheimer$54.5M0.7%
#10Johann Rupert$54.5M1.1%

*As of April 15, 2020

Overall, 77 of the world’s billionaires have made public contributions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, just a fraction of the world’s ultra-rich.

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, will the world’s billionaires still accumulate wealth at greater speeds, or will a different picture emerge as unconventional policies around the world become increasingly commonplace?

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COVID-19

How U.S. Consumers are Spending Differently During COVID-19

How has COVID-19 transformed consumer spending trends so far? We look at credit and debit card spending of 5 million U.S. consumers across 18 categories.

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In 2019, nearly 70% of U.S. GDP was driven by personal consumption.

However, in the first quarter of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has initiated a transformation of consumer spending trends as we know them.

Consumer Spending in Charts

By leveraging new data from analytics platform 1010Data, today’s infographic dives into the credit and debit card spending of five million U.S. consumers over the past few months.

Let’s see how their spending habits have evolved over that short timeframe:

How U.S. Consumers are Spending Differently During COVID-19

The above data on consumer spending, which comes from 1010Data and powered by AI platform Exabel, is broken into 18 different categories:

  • General Merchandise & Grocery: Big Box, Pharmacy, Wholesale Club, Grocery
  • Retail: Apparel, Office Supplies, Pet Supplies
  • Restaurant: Casual dining, Fast casual, Fast food, Fine dining
  • Food Delivery: Food delivery, Grocery Delivery, Meal/Snack kit
  • Travel: Airline, Car rental, Cruise, Hotel

It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has consumers cutting back on most of their purchases, but that doesn’t mean that specific categories don’t benefit from changes in consumer habits.

Consumer Spending Changes By Category

The onset of changing consumer behavior can be observed from February 25, 2020, when compared year-over-year (YoY).

As of May 12, 2020, combined spending in all categories dropped by almost 30% YoY. Here’s how that shakes out across the different categories, across two months.

General Merchandise & Grocery

This segment saw a sharp spike in initial spending, as Americans scrambled to stockpile on non-perishable food, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper from Big Box stores like Walmart, or Wholesale Clubs like Costco.

In particular, spending on groceries reached a YoY increase of 97.1% on March 18, 2020. However, these sudden panic-buying urges leveled out by the start of April.

 Feb 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY SpendingOverall Change
Big Box+14.2%-1.5%-15.7%
Grocery+1.0%+9.4%+8.4%
Pharmacy-3.6%-23.8%-20.2%
Wholesale Club+13.0%+2.6%-10.4%

Pharmaceutical purchases dropped the most in this segment, possibly as individuals cut back on their healthcare expenditures during this time. In fact, in an April 2020 McKinsey survey of physicians, 80% reported a decline in patient volumes.

Retail

With less foot traffic in malls and entire stores forced to close, sales of apparel plummeted both in physical locations and over e-commerce platforms.

 Feb 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY SpendingOverall Change
Apparel-5.6%-51.9%-46.3%
Office Supplies-8.9%-2.8%+6.1%
Pet Supplies+2.7%-18.5%-21.2%

Interestingly, sales of office supplies rose as many pivoted to working from home. Many parents also likely required more of these resources to home-school their children.

Restaurant

The food and beverage industry has been hard-hit by COVID-19. While many businesses turned to delivery services to stay afloat, those in fine dining were less able to rely on such a shift, and spiraled by 88.2% by May 5, 2020, year-over-year.

 Feb 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY ChangeOverall Change
Casual Dining-2.7%-64.9%-62.2%
Fast Casual4.2%-29.6%-33.8%
Fast Food2.0%-20.9%-22.9%
Fine Dining-18.6%-88.2%-69.6%

Applebees or Olive Garden exemplify casual dining, while Panera or Chipotle characterize fast casual.

Food Delivery

Meanwhile, many consumers also shifted from eating out to home cooking. As a result, grocery delivery services jumped by over five-fold—with consumers spending a whopping 558.4% more at its April 19, 2020 peak compared to last year.

 Feb. 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY SpendingOverall Change
Food Delivery+18.8%+67.1%+48.3%
Grocery Delivery+23.0%+419.7%+396.7%
Meal/ Snack Kit+7.0%-5.9%-12.9%

Food delivery services are also in high demand, with Doordash seeing the highest growth in U.S. users than any other food delivery app in April.

Travel

While all travel categories experienced an immense decline, cruises suffered the worst blow by far, down by 87.0% in YoY spending since near the start of the pandemic.

 Feb 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY SpendingOverall Change
Airline-7.7%-99.1%-91.4%
Car Rental-6.3%-86.0%-79.7%
Cruise-18.7%-105.7%-87.0%
Hotel-7.0%-85.9%-78.9%

Airlines have also come to a halt, nosediving by 91.4% in a 10-week span. In fact, governments worldwide have pooled together nearly $85 billion in an attempt to bail the industry out.

Hope on the Horizon?

Consumer spending offers a pulse of the economy’s health. These sharp drops in consumer spending fall in line with the steep decline in consumer confidence.

In fact, consumer confidence has eroded even more intensely than the stock market’s performance this quarter, as observed when the Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) is compared to the S&P 500 Index.

Consumer Sentiment Index

Many investors dumped their stocks as the coronavirus hit, but consumers tightened their purse strings even more. Yet, as the chart also shows, both the stock market and consumer sentiment are slowly but surely on the mend since April.

As the stay-at-home curtain cautiously begins to lift in the U.S., there may yet be hope for economic recovery on the horizon.

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Mapped: The World’s Ultra-Rich, by Country

Here’s where the world’s ultra-rich (>$30 million in assets) live, and also how the landscape is projected to change over the coming years.

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Mapped: The World’s Ultra-Rich, by Country

The global number of ultra-high net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) — those with over $30 million in assets — has continued to rise over the years.

Today’s infographic draws data from Knight Frank’s 2020 Wealth Report released in March, and it shows which countries have the highest number of UHNWIs, as well as how that number is projected to change in years to come.

No Ordinary Millionaire

To start, let’s look at where the world’s wealthiest could be found in 2019, which is both the peak of the decade-long bull market and the most recent year of data covered by the report.

RankCountryUltra-High Net Worth Population1-Year Change (%)
#1🇺🇸 United States240,5755.9%
#2🇨🇳 China61,58714.7%
#3🇩🇪 Germany23,0780.8%
#4🇫🇷 France18,7767.9%
#5🇯🇵 Japan17,01317.0%
#6🇬🇧 UK14,3673.6%
#7🇮🇹 Italy10,70120.8%
#8🇨🇦 Canada9,3255.3%
#9🇷🇺 Russia8,9243.9%
#10🇨🇭 Switzerland8,3953.0%
#11🇪🇸 Spain6,475-1.1%
#12🇮🇳 India5,9860.2%
#13🇰🇷 South Korea5,84721.6%
#14🇸🇪 Sweden5,1740.3%
#15🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia5,1000.0%

While the U.S. maintained its foothold, the ultra-rich in South Korea and Italy have grown over 20% each since 2018. An economic model focused on exports, conglomerates, and select manufacturing industries could likely be behind the UHNWI boom in South Korea.

Interestingly, the number of ultra-wealthy in Saudi Arabia increased by only one individual between 2018 and 2019.

Multi-Millionaire Next Door

Taking a closer look, what made up the wealth of this ultra rich population? Knight Frank found that 27% of UHNWI wealth was locked up in property investments:

Property as an InvestmentEquitiesBonds/Fixed IncomeCashPrivate EquityCollectablesGold/Precious MetalsCrypto
27%23%17%11%8%5%3%1%

In terms of more liquid assets, the average UHNWI held 23% of their wealth in equities, 17% in bonds, 11% in cash, and 3% in precious metals. It will be illuminating to see how, or if, this changes in the aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 economic crisis.

The Future Destination Hubs

Fast-forward to 2024, and Knight Frank estimates that the global hotspots of the world’s wealthiest will remain consistent, with some notable winners over the decade.

UHNWI Population Growth (2014-2024)

The greatest difference will be the rising cohort of the ultra-wealthy in China and India, both projected to grow by triple digits between 2014 and 2024. This burgeoning middle class in China is driving domestic consumption and is transforming the consumer landscape.

RankCountryUHNWIs (Projected, 2024)10-Year Change (Projected, %)
#1🇺🇸 U.S.293,13667.0%
#2🇨🇳 China97,082135.8%
#3🇩🇪 Germany26,81945.0%
#4🇫🇷 France22,72829.7%
#5🇯🇵 Japan19,11063.3%
#6🇬🇧 UK18,81836.7%
#7🇮🇹 Italy12,50817.6%
#8🇨🇦 Canada11,92854.8%
#9🇷🇺 Russia11,0194.8%
#10🇮🇳 India10,354238.3%

As the ripple effects of COVID-19 continue to take hold, experts pose differing opinions on how its impacts on the global economy will unfold.

Could the crash hasten the number of ultra-rich as inequality is laid bare, or will wealth be redistributed in response to the unprecedented crisis?

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