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What are SA’s millionaires spending their money on?

A total private wealth of $651 billion was held by well-to-do people in 2021, but what are the affluent South Africans spending their money on. Picture: Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP

A total private wealth of $651 billion was held by well-to-do people in 2021, but what are the affluent South Africans spending their money on. Picture: Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP

Published May 18, 2022

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The lifestyle of the rich and wealthy is deemed to be luxurious with many of them having the finances to buy anything from airplanes to islands.

In 2021, South Africa was home to 39 300 HNWI (high-net-worth individuals) - people with a wealth of $1 million (R15.97m) or more.

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This is according to the 2022 Africa Wealth Report, published by Henley & Partners in partnership with New World Wealth.

Total private wealth of $651 billion (R1.3 trillion) was held by well-to-do people in 2021, but what the rich South Africans spending their money on?

Let’s take a look...

Luxury art

The wealthy in South Africa hold around $520m (R8.3bn) worth of fine art as of December 2021, making South Africa the 18th largest fine art market in the world.

According to the report, South African artist Irma Stern is currently the most valuable artist in the country, and her paintings can cost up to R50m on a piece. The average price of each painting is around R6m.

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Luxury classic cars

Affluent South Africans also have a penchant for luxury classic cars. Luxury brands that are popular for our wealthy people include:

  • Ferrari
  • McLaren
  • Ford
  • Mercedes
  • Aston Martin
  • Porsche

The McLaren F1, worth around $20m (R319m), is the most expensive car held by South African HNWIs.

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Top-end watches

Popular luxury watches for South African HNWI collectors include brands like Patek Philippe, Breguet, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet.

The prices of the watches range from $20 000 (R319 000) to over $1 million. These watch brands were not readily available in South Africa until about ten years ago, and HNWIs would have to travel overseas to purchase the watches or order them through retailers.

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Now, these luxury watch brands can be purchased at local jewellery and watch stores.

But what makes these watches so expensive? According to the report, the precision, expertise, and time taken to make each watch make them valuable.

Luxury brands

The South African luxury market is the largest on the African continent, with the sector generating a revenue of around $2bn (R32bn) a year.

Although most of the revenue is generated by foreign brands, local South African brands supply the luxury sector.

For the report, many top local luxury brands were reviewed for 2022, and were chosen based on their reputation for quality and popularity with HNWIs. Winemakers and top-end beverage producers were not included in the ratings.

According to the report, the top choices for 2022 are:

  • Singita (safari lodges)
  • &Beyond (safari lodges)
  • Strauss & Co. (fine art auctioneers)
  • Robertson and Caine (boat builders)
  • Shilton Reels (fishing reels)
  • Rain Natural Skincare (body and skincare products)

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