May 8, 2021

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Business Class ticket rates actually rose in 2020 despite grounded flights: Julius Baer

The flights have remained grounded, but the ones that flew were asking more for their Business seats. (Image used for illustrative purposes.)
Image Credit: Supplied

If you’re wealthy, Asia-Pacific is the most expensive place to live in, with Shanghai overtaking Hong Kong as the priciest city in the world.

Those are some of the key findings from a Julius Baer Group Ltd. report about luxury lifestyles, which stated that part of the reason for the region’s success was its swift recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. By contrast, the Americas is the most affordable because of the slump in the US and Canadian dollars and sharp devaluations of Latin American currencies.

The COVID-19 crisis that left hordes of people without jobs has also enriched the wealthy. Those from the tech industry have done particularly well as lockdowns helped accelerate a switch to online for everything from learning to shopping and socializing. The 500 richest people on Earth added a combined $1.8 trillion to their fortunes last year, with Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk and Inc.’s Jeff Bezos gaining the most, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Pricey Business class

While the collapse in tourism led to a 9.3 per cent plunge in the price of hotel suites, business-class plane tickets became 11 per cent more expensive, the biggest jump among luxury categories as airlines had to make up for a scarcity of sales, Julius Baer said. The cost of fancy shoes for women slumped the most, dropping 12 per cent.

Overall, though, the cost of living a luxury lifestyle around the world increased by only about 1 per cent, with the rich increasingly turning to conscious choices that may result in fairer prices for producers, according to the report.

Julius Baer’s Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report analyzed the price inflation of 20 luxury items indicative of the lifestyle of high networth individuals in 25 cities across regions. To adapt to the changing world, the 2021 edition replaced categories including personal trainers, wedding banquets, botox and pianos with bikes, treadmills, health insurance and a technology package.


Drop in rates of hotel suites in 2020