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A closer look into Knight Frank’s 2022 Wealth Report

Oshin Ahlawat

Objects of Desire, Frank Knight's Wealth Report

The 2022 Knight Frank Wealth Report publishes its annual insights and perspective on global wealth, prime property and investment - in particular investing interests of Ultra High Net Worth Investors (UHNWIs). This year’s report explores the impact of the pandemic on wealth creation, and uncovers our forecast for property markets around the world in 2022 and beyond.

We had a look into the report and summarized the most interesting key points for our Konvi community:

In general, the Knight Frank 2022 research shows that last year’s global economic rebound supercharged wealth creation. Worldwide, the number of UHNWIs rose 9.3% over the year, creating an additional 52,000 very wealthy people compared with the 2.4% growth in the 2021 report. What is interesting to note is the fact that the unprecedented growth in younger, self-made UHNWIs (21% of the total) is predicted to drive new investment themes and innovation in the coming year.

According to the Knight Frank Attitudes Survey, 83% of their respondents are expecting their client’s wealth to grow even more this year. The survey predicts a further 28.3% rise in global UNHWI’s by 2026.

Assets of Desire on Luxury Investment Index

The luxury collectible sector saw record-breaking sales volumes at the major global auction houses, according to the 2022 report. The Luxury Investment Index was led by fine wine and watches, both rising an impressive 16% through the year. Digital innovation helped to widen the pool of collectors, with the NFT boom encouraging a rise in new younger market entrants.

Alternative assets are therefore a widely used investment strategy by wealthy investors among which passion investment and “assets of desire” make up a key part of a resilient financial portfolio based on Knight Frank’s report.

Let’s have a look at the 1 year and 10 year performance of some of the top performing objects of desire in the Luxury Investment Index, which highlights once again the long-term investment nature of these asset classes:

  1. Luxury Watch Investments

While luxury watch investments display a +16% return on a 1 year basis based on data from Q4 2021, they have shown a +108% return over a 10 year period. It is a promising rise from last year’s report that recorded only +5% and +89% increase respectively in both categories.

Among the 12 watches to break the CHF 1 million mark, the one that stood out was a 64-year-old Omega Speedmaster, nicknamed the Tropical Broad Arrow. This rare item eclipsed all previous records, selling just over CHF 3.15 million at the autumnal Geneva sale at the premier auction houses.

The average returns are particularly interesting in comparison to the strong performance of WatchFund, Konvi’s partner for watch investments, as they are able to generate a 20% average historical return for their clients on a 5 year basis.

  1. Fine Wine Investments

Moreover, fine wine and whiskey display impressive investment performance: with fine wine investment displaying +16% return over 1 year and +137% return over a 10 year period. Champagne (+31%) and Burgundy (+25%) performed particularly well in 2021, while Bordeaux lagged behind with a still strong +10% return in 2021 in comparison.

The report observes a new wave of investment money entering the wine market, some of it led by macro factors, such as inflation worries – with wine being seen as a hedge – but also due to more localised factors such as supply shortages due to weather conditions, particularly frost, and supply chain issues.

  1. Whiskey Investments

2022 has noted a positive increase in whiskey’s 1 year return statistics. It jumped from -4% from last year’s report about 2020 to +9% this year. Investing in whiskey is a global phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down. Over a 10 year investment period, whiskey is one of the best performing alternative assets or objects of desire with the estimation of +428% returns.

For example: At Distillers’ "One of One” auction held by the Worshipful Company of Distillers, the most expensive whiskey that was sold for just over £1 million was Glenfiddich’s The 1950s Collection – four bottles of rare spirit, all distilled in the 1950s.

Handbags, which were last year’s best performing asset with +17% annual returns,have doubled down to +7% in the 2022 report. Despite the fall, a Hermès Black Togo Birkin 35 still managed to achieve well over its guide price when it made £119,000 at Bonhams’ July Designer Handbags and Fashion sale.

Download the full Knight Frank’ annual Wealth Report on the impact of Covid-19 on Luxury Investments here.

For more information on alternative investments in rare watches, fine wine or whiskey speak to a member of our expert team via

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