SA still living the high life

Champagne glasses. File photo.
Champagne glasses. File photo.  Image: Gallo Images/iStockphoto

South Africa’s super-rich don’t shy away from luxury brands in supercars, private jets, watches, alcohol or clothing.

The newly released results of a New World Wealth and AfrAsia Bank study show that the country’s luxury brand market stood at a whopping $2.3-billion (about R30-billion) last year.

Although the figures show a slight drop from 2015, South Africa still tops other African countries like Kenya, Nigeria and Angola when it comes to luxury sales.

According to the research, the top-selling luxury car in South Africa last year was Porsche, followed by Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Maserati, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and McLaren.

Porsche cars are also popular in Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Angola, Mauritius and Morocco.

“Luxury SUVs are especially popular with Africa’s super-rich. Reasons include high road clearance, safety aspects and being useful for holidays,” said AfrAsia Bank’s Suneeta Motala.

When it comes to exclusive liquor labels, Africa’s wealthy, including South Africans, are increasingly buying Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Dom Pérignon champagne, Hennessy cognac, Glenmorangie whisky and Moët & Chandon champagne.

Luxury items commonly found in the wardrobes of the rich range from Rolex and Breitling watches, Louis Vuitton and Gucci handbags, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo shoes to Zegna and Hugo Boss suits.

South Africa’s multimillionaires are also flying high when it comes to private jets.

A total of 160 South African millionaires own private jets, while 420 use them.

Ninety Nigerians are private jet owners, and 310 travel in them.

Jeremy Nel, marketing director of luxury marketing group Luxury Brands, said “the ultra-high net worth market” moves in circles where personalised products are tailored for clients’ individual requirements and they “don’t really care for any level of labelling to announce their positioning”.

“Luxury brands tend to differentiate themselves by price, quality, timelessness, rareness or endorsement.”

Nel said these elements resonated with the wealthy, who sought “to align themselves with a specific brand that personifies these attributes”.


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