April 8, 2020

How the wealthy are reacting to the coronavirus pandemic

A look at the behaviours and concerns of millionaires in the UK, US and China

Author:
Torie Bold, EVP
8% of millionaires in the UK plan to use personal transport such as private jets and yachts more while the lockdown and uncertainty continues.

As well as going out less and working from home, many are changing financial, investment and business strategies


Using Savanta’s MillionaireVue omnibus we asked more than 1,500 high net worth individuals across the three core wealth markets how they’re responding to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Three quarters (75%) of those surveyed in the UK, 69% in the US and 73% in China cited COVID-19 as a primary concern (ahead of a financial crisis).

 

While more than a quarter of those interviewed did not mention it as a source of worry, this is likely to change the longer various government-ordered lockdowns, travel restrictions and business closures continue.

In some regards, behaviour among high net worth individuals has changed in much the same ways as the general population. Eight in ten millionaires in the US are going out less, versus 62% in the UK and 69% in China; just over half of those in all countries are now working from home.

When it comes to changing behaviours in terms of private travel, these are rather different from the general public: 8% of millionaires in the UK, 12% in the US and 21% in China plan to use personal transport such as private jets and yachts more while the lockdown and uncertainty continues.

In terms of financial adjustments, under a quarter of millionaires (defined as those with £1m/$1m+ in investable assets) in the UK and US have changed their personal finance/investment strategy in response to the outbreak. This rises to 37% in China, while business strategies have been changed by 23% of people in the UK, 17% in the US and 34% in China.

An individual snapshot of the three markets:

UK

The study reveals notable differences by age in the UK.  Those aged 55+ are more likely to have:

  • Avoided large gatherings (85% vs 63% under 55)
  • Gone out less (87% vs 54% under 55)
  • Avoided international travel (68% vs 50% under 55)

Whereas those aged under 55 are more likely to have:

  • Changed business/company strategy (27% vs 11% aged 55+)
  • Increased (or plan to) usage of private travel (e.g. private jet/yacht) (11% compared with 0% aged 55+)

US

COVID-19 is even more of a concern among those who are pessimistic about the global economy and their own finances in the US. There are also notable differences by age with those aged 55+ more likely to have avoided large gatherings (91% vs 69% under 55) while those aged under 55 more likely to have:

  • Changed their personal investment/financial strategy (28% vs 17% aged 55+)
  • Changed their business/company strategy (27% vs 7%)
  • Increased (or plan to increase) usage of private travel (e.g. private jet/yacht) (23% vs 2%)

In terms of gender differences, men are more likely to have changed their personal investment/financial strategy (28% vs 16%) and be working from home (56% vs 44% females). On the flip side, women are more likely to have self-isolated (52% vs 39% of men).

China

COVID-19 is of particular concern to those in Tier 1 cities (79% vs 66% of those in Tier 2 cities).

Counterintuitively, the pandemic is more of a concern for younger Chinese HNWIs – those aged under 55 (75% vs 66% aged 55+). Specifically, those under 55 are more likely to be avoiding larger gatherings and have changed their personal investment/financial strategy.

What’s more, those aged under 35 are more likely to be going out less and be working from home more.

We can also see notable gender differences in China. Women are more likely to be working from home and to have changed their travel plans.

In terms of region, those millionaires who live in Tier 1 cities are more likely to:

  • Have changed personal investment/financial strategy (43% vs 23% in Tier 2 cities)
  • Have changed business/company strategy (39% vs 26% in Tier 2 cities)

Data is from 16th – 29th March. Get in touch to ask your own questions and access and understand the world’s wealthiest individuals across three of the world’s main wealth markets – UK, United States and China.


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