Julius Baer publishes Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2024

SINGAPORE / HONG KONG SAR –
Media OutReach Newswire – 25 June 2024 – According to the fifth edition of the Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report, although cities continue to get more expensive in 2024, affluent individuals around the world are still willing to spend on and invest in their lifestyles, families, and futures.

In 2024, price rises have slowed to 4% on average in US dollar terms, compared to 6% in 2023. Prices this year grew faster for goods than services, with goods up 5% on average and services up 4%, both in US dollar terms. Although cities continue to become more expensive, there has been a normalisation of inflation rates over the past 12 months.

Global Lifestyle Index findings

The city ranking is based on the Julius Baer Lifestyle Index which analyses the cost of a basket of goods and services representative of ‘living well’ in 25 cities around the world. This year, many of the biggest jumps up and down the index were a result of currency fluctuations – index prices are converted to USD to allow for global comparison, and the strength of currencies such as the Swiss franc and, conversely, the poor performance of currencies such as the Japanese yen are clearly seen in the performance of these cities in USD terms.

Despite a price increase of goods and services, HNWIs are still willing to spend, and not just spend, but spend more, notably on hospitality (hotels and high-end meals) and fashion and accessories.
The greatest price increases this year are for premium consumer items such as fashion and jewellery (the highest increase at 9.6%), where pricing has been rising steeply for several years. This comes on the back of several years of increased raw material, energy, and staffing costs. The only significant drop this year on a global level in USD terms came in the bicycle category (­-6.4%), with small drops for whisky (-1.0%) and business class flights (-1.7%).

Spotlight on APAC: Three cities in the top ten globally

APAC is home to the two most expensive cities in the index – Singapore and Hong Kong. Shanghai remains part of the top ten despite dropping to 4th from 2nd last year, and Hong Kong was the only riser in APAC this year, from 3rd to 2nd. Falling prices in some cities – Tokyo in particular (23rd, down from 15th) – mean the region is no longer the most expensive. Bangkok and Jakarta also dropped from 11th to 17th and 12th to 14th respectively.

Singapore (Ranked #1 Globally): Singapore, at number one, remains the world’s most expensive city. It is also the most expensive place to own a car. The city continues to attract the ultra-wealthy by maintaining its reputation for political and economic stability alongside a pro-business environment. This stability is evidenced by close to no change in the average price of luxury goods year-on-year (-0.46% in local currency terms and +0.8% in USD terms), with inflation levels holding steady at 4.8% across 2023.

Hong Kong (Ranked #2 Globally): Hong Kong is up one place at number two and remains the second most expensive cities globally for property prices. It is the most expensive place to engage a lawyer.

Shanghai (Ranked #4 Globally): The city that previously held the second spot, Shanghai is now ranked fourth. The change in position could be range from challenges in the real estate market to softening consumer confidence. Nonetheless, it is the most expensive city to have a degustation dinner.

Japan (Ranked #23 Globally): Comparing costs in Tokyo and Mexico City in the local currency, prices have barely changed – it is the conversion to US dollar that is largely responsible for the size of the swings. The dollar is strong overall, and some of this will be down to global instability because it is a safe-haven currency. Globetrotters looking for a luxury bargain might consider Tokyo.



Mark Matthews,
Head of Research APAC at Julius Baer, commented: “Asia is making significant strides in its development journey, demonstrating the potential of innovation and collaboration. The technological advancements of China and India, along with the robust economies of Southeast Asia, contribute to the region’s resilience and growth. Singapore, located in this dynamic environment, is leading the digital transformation. Its digital economy is expanding at a CAGR of 13%, reinforcing its role as a key innovation hub in Asia.”

Christian Gattiker, Head of Research, Julius Baer, commented: “This year’s report shows that currencies matter a lot. Take Tokyo as an example. This used to be the posterchild of an ultra-expensive city in the 1990s. However, the steady decline of the yen has shown how this can change. As trivial as it seems, we tend to forget that the costs of living look completely different in the eyes of a stranger – especially if that person thinks in US dollars or Swiss francs instead of the local currency. Currency and context matter.”

APAC Lifestyle Survey findings

Now in its third year, the Julius Baer Lifestyle Survey polls wealthy individuals around the world to better understand their priorities, finances, and consumption patterns. It supports the Index findings with qualitative analysis of the personal habits and sentiments of HNWIs. HNWIs want to indulge themselves in a way that recalls the post-war rebounds of the 20th century. HNWIs in APAC and the Middle East led the growth and will continue to do so in the future.

Spending in APAC this past year was focused on hospitality and healthcare, highlighting how this lifestyle boom is not restricted to simply purchasing experiences and goods.
In APAC, an extraordinary 74% said they had spent more on five-star hotels, while 71% said they had spent more on fine dining. In terms of health, APAC was either first or second in terms of increase in every health sub-category, and HNWIs in the region said their discretionary health expenses had risen over the past year. This is likely to be down to healthcare and wellness being seen as a ‘new luxury’ to a greater degree in APAC, with 63% saying they are concerned about their health and wellbeing, the highest level of all regions in the survey.

APAC residents also paid more for jewellery and private school compared to last year (both up 10%), although it costs less to buy a top-tier bicycle (-13%) or rent a hotel suite (-11%). The most extreme price fall in APAC was the 14% drop in the cost of business class flights, however, this appears to be a correction to the sky-high fares in 2022 and early 2023. On average, prices in APAC increased 1%.

Supported by their own financial expertise and increased asset values,
HNWIs from APAC have increased the risk level of their investments. 70% of HNWIs reported increased assets in the past 12 months, and they are once again looking to build on their recent increases, with levels of investment up across the board, and highest in APAC and the Middle East.

While personal enjoyment remains a key pursuit, sustainability plays a greater role in investment strategies in 2024 for almost all APAC HNWIs, with the majority having reviewed their portfolio to understand the ESG impact of their investments. However, sustainability still only plays a minor role in actual purchasing habits.

HNWIs, who still want to indulge themselves, are also seeking to empower themselves by prioritising health, aesthetics, and the acquisition of cutting-edge technology. With demand still outpacing ethics, the challenge will be to encourage HNWIs to fully integrate sustainability into their life and investment decisions, in all markets.

To download the Julius Baer Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2024, please visit:

www.juliusbaer.com/GWLR

Hashtag: #JuliusBaer

The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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