Billionaires Face Supply Snags For Yachts, Private Jets, And Other Luxury Goods

Image Credit: iStock, Alexe Marcel

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Gas prices are up. Store shelves are a little more sparse. And your Thanksgiving turkey is probably a little more expensive than usual. But let’s talk about the kitchen table issues that really matter. That is, if your kitchen table is a one-of-a-kind import handcrafted by a world-class Italian designer.

Everyone’s feeling the inflation crunch these days, including the ultra-rich. Everything from private jets to superyachts is in short supply, and billionaires are getting slammed by price hikes. (And if you can’t hear our sympathy sobs, it’s only because they’re being drowned out by the world’s smallest violin).

Rich Times

Crypto booms, SPAC deals, and new IPOs have minted dozens of new billionaires in the past year. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, during the first 10 months of 2021, the world’s 500 richest people added $1.2 trillion to their wealth. And a new report by Credit Suisse found the ultra-high net worth cohort increased by 24% in 2020 — the biggest increase since 2003.

The influx of new money is causing record demand and extraordinary costs for what used to be (slightly more) exclusive goods and services:

  • With 323,000 flights, October marked the busiest month on record for private planes, according to aviation consultancy Argus International. Meanwhile, top private jet company NetJet has suspended sales of its hourly rate jet cards — and has a waitlist of over 1,500 names.
  • Superyacht sales have spiked 60% through mid-October, good for 523 vessels, according to SuperYacht Times. (Yes, we understand the irony that local news is dying and SuperYacht Times stays afloat).

Art Attack: Big-ticket items aren’t limited to planes, yachts, and automobiles. In a recent two-week sale series in New York, the world’s top auction houses sold over $2.3 billion worth of art. One $676 million sale at Sotheby’s topped the auction house’s 277-year-old record books, while Christie’s sold more $25 million pieces in two weeks than it did in all of 2020.