Billionaires Report 2020

The seventh edition of the Billionaires insights report “Riding the storm” provides in-depth insights into billionaires around the world, and the shape of their wealth in turbulent times. In a year of dramatic upheaval, the fortunes of billionaires are polarizing. A cohort of disruptors and innovators are pulling ahead of the pack and growing their wealth.

The seventh edition of the Billionaires insights report “Riding the storm” provides in-depth insights into billionaires around the world, and the shape of their wealth in turbulent times.

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2020: “Riding the storm”

Riding the storm

Market turbulence accelerates
diverging fortunes

Market turbulence accelerates diverging fortunes

Wealth reaches new heights

Total billionaire wealth reached USD 10.2 trillion at the end of July 2020, touching a new high after the year’s V-shaped rebound in asset prices. This level surpasses the previous peak of USD 8.9 trillion, reached at the end of 2017. There are now 2,189 billionaires, up from 2,158 in 2017.

Wealth reaches new heights

Billionaire wealth’s long-term growth in USD trn

Polarizing fortunes

Fortunes are polarizing as business innovators and disruptors deploy technology to be among the leaders of today’s economic revolution. During 2018, 2019 and the first volatile months of 2020, entrepreneurs in the tech, healthcare and industrials sectors pulled ahead. The COVID-19 storm accelerated the divergence.

Polarizing fortunes

Billionaire wealth development split by industry

(Industry standardized annual growth, cut-off date 31 July 2020)

Innovators on the rise

Scientists, computer programmers and engineers are revolutionizing industries at a pace never seen before. Their sphere of activity is spreading from the tech and healthcare sectors to disrupt many parts of the economy. As they apply emerging technologies to drive change, some of them are becoming billionaires.

Innovators on the rise

Innovators and disruptors outperform (in USD)

Philanthropy and sustainability pioneers

A small group of billionaires is pioneering innovation in philanthropy, while pursuing sustainability goals across their corporate and investment activities. Increasingly, they’re setting a benchmark for others by bringing their originality to philanthropy and introducing new objectives to the companies they’re associated with, as well as their investments.

Philanthropy and sustainability pioneers

Top five billionaire controlled companies ranked by sustainability performance

Record-breaking donations

To tackle the pandemic, billionaires have given more than ever before in a space of a few months. Some 209 billionaires have publicly committed a total of USD 7.2 billion, whether in financial donations, manufactured goods and equipment, or other commitments.

Record-breaking donations

209 billionaires donated USD 7.2 bn

(Analysis period March to June 2020)

Next generation of rebuilders

When the storm passes, a new generation of billionaire innovators looks set to play a critical role in repairing the damage. Using the growing repertoire of emerging technologies, tomorrow’s innovators will digitize, refresh and revolutionize the economy. Whether intentionally or not, this has the potential to help bridge financial, social and environmental deficits.

Next generation of rebuilders

Big data: development of created exabytes data per day

In 2012, 7 exabytes were created a day in the entire digital universe. For 2025 the World Economic Forum forecasts 463 exabytes of data created every day.