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The Knight Frank Wealth Report 2021 summarizes luxury asset performance during Covid-19

Lena Sonnen
11.1.2022

Knight Frank Wealth Report Konvi

The 2021 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). In line with recent events based on the global Covid-19 pandemic, the report also highlights the impact on luxury and alternative investments in 2020. We had a look into the report and summarized the most interesting key points for our Konvi community:

In general, the Knight Frank research shows that global wealth has remained quite stable across 2019 and 2020 with a 2.4% growth in UHNWI globally, mainly driven by Asia and Australasia. Yet, those individuals whose wealth increased in 2020 had benefited from well-diversified financial portfolios with a long-term investment focus, which allows them to offset any losses with growth in other assets, according to the Knight Frank Attitudes Survey. 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.

Among these “objects of desire” are rare luxury watches, fine wine, whiskey and handbags. These alternative physical and collectible assets have proven to be great investments over decades, while the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted and shifted the industry towards more online sales. Nevertheless, if we compare the return of the stock market and the alternative luxury market, it becomes clear that the latter one was impacted very little. Let’s have a look at the 1 year and 10 year performance of some of the top performing objects of desire which highlights once again the long-term investment nature of these asset classes:

Evidence suggests that these objects of desire demonstrate strong returns in the long term even in the middle of a global pandemic. While luxury watch investments display a +5% return on a 1 year basis based on data from Q4 2020, they have shown a +89% return over a 10 year period according to the Knight Frank Luxury investments index. In 2020 a Rolex Daytona Ref 6263 sold for example for 5.5 Milion USD. 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 1 year basis.

Moreover, fine wine and whiskey display impressive investment performance: with fine wine investment displaying +13% return over 1 year and +127% return over a 10 year period. The strong growth wine markets experienced in 2020 and recently is also strongly driven by global warming and climate change, as this affects wine scarcity because certain grapes will be even harder to grow. Moreover, investing in whiskey is a global phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down. However, whiskey investments are even longer term investments than other objects of desire. This gets obvious when looking at the 1 year returns of Knight Frank’s Luxury Index for whiskey: -4%. This is often driven by high storage costs involved with whiskey investments. Yet, in contrast over a 10 year investment period, whiskey is one of the best performing alternative assets or objects of desire with +478%. For example, a Yamazaki 55-year-old Japanese whisky sold for almost 800.000 USD in August 2020.

Handbags are again the best performing alternative asset for a one year period with +17% return. The Hermès Himalaya Niloticus CrocodileRetourné Kelly 25 handbag sold at a Christie’s auction for nearly half a million US Dollars in November 2020. An established online auction presence as well as the appetite for luxury pick-me-ups during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in Asia where many bag collectors are based, helped the asset class retain pole position.

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 support@konvi.app.

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