Marketing to High Net Worth and Ultra High Net Worth audiences

Our recent article on luxury audiences helped to define five key wealth segments and the nuances and behaviours of these categories: Affluent, Wealth, HNWI, UHNWI, and Billionaires.

This understanding helps to identify what’s important to these audiences and hence the most effective way to build lucrative marketing programmes, from creative and visual identity through to media channels and targeting.

In this article, we delve deeper into two particular wealth segments that our clients and communities are keen to understand better: HNWI and UHNWI.

High Net Worth vs. Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: What’s the difference?

Disposable income

A High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) will typically have a disposable income between $1m -$30m, whereas the disposable income of an Ultra High Net Worth Individual (UHNWI) typically sits between $30m-$100m. These figures exclude primary home and pensions, but do include other assets, such as second homes, stocks, cars, art etc.

Source of wealth

A HNWI will typically work in tech or finance, with this weighting getting higher the wealthier people become. Whereas the tier below, ‘Wealthy’, includes professional sectors such as media, medical, and law, for example.

This group is predominantly self-made business owners (60%), as opposed to inherited wealth.

Within the UHNWI segment, we see a slight increase, with 70% self-made business owners, yet still within the tech or finance industry.


87% of HNWI are male, vs. 90% of UHNWI, but as we see wealth rise globally, women are beginning to take up a larger percentage. Indeed, while it may be male dominated in earning the wealth, women typically have an even hand in spending it.


According to the Henley Global Citizens Report 2023 we can break down the top ten cities for HNWI and UHNWI as follows:

New York City, USA - 340k New York City, USA
Tokyo, Japan - 290k Tokyo, Japan
San Francisco, USA - 270k Hong Kong, China
London, UK - 270k San Francisco, USA
Singapore, Singapore - 240k London, UK
Los Angeles, USA Singapore, Singapore
Chicago, USA Los Angeles, USA
Houston, USA Chicago, USA
Beijing, China Shanghai, China
Shanghai, China Beijing, China

Marketing to HNW audiences

Utilising this deeper understanding of HNWI and UHNWI, we can then tailor our digital marketing activity much more effectively.

If we take a closer look at the top ten locations of HNWIs we can see that seven of these cities use English as their primary language. Expand this to look at the Middle East and India, which also have a large propensity of HNWIs, all with English as the pre-eminent language of business.

This allows us to tie down marketing programmes that are tight on geolocation of high value property postcodes in these cities, ensuring that our marketing spend is effective while keeping the complexity simple by rolling out in a single language first.

Understanding the location of HNW audiences also allows us to build in our knowledge of local nuances in the market to tap into these personas in a much more authentic way. This might include cultural, creative, linguistic, and behavioural differences.

We can also dig into this further. For example, in the US there is a general acceptance of philanthropy from HNWI. In the UK, we have a peerage system that rewards people who have done well in their careers. In the US, they open a hospital, a wing to a university, or setup their own charitable foundation.

But as we move around the world this changes. We know that cultural influences change the way people want to be viewed by society and therefore the projects they undertake.

Understanding the UHNW audience

Both wealth categories in this article are vast, so it would be inaccurate to take a broad brush approach.

For example, an individual with a wealth of £30m will have very different opportunities to someone with £100m. They can both travel by private jet, but it’s only when you reach the upper end of UHNW that you can afford to buy your own plane. And even in this category, this would likely be a small private jet such as a gulfstream G8 as opposed to some of the airbuses that billionaires buy.

Who influences HNW or UHNW?

Often investment decisions at this level aren’t actioned by the individual themselves but by the support network around them, particularly their family office. They will understand the right level of investment as well as what is appropriate given their wealth status and overall long-term plans for their portfolio.

But this also gives us opportunities as marketers to find new routes into the needs of these wealthy individuals, not by marketing to them directly, but through their offices.

Overall, we know there there are around 1,500 family offices globally, with this type of setup reserved for the very wealthy. HNWs will have private banks and wealth managers for certain, but UHNWs and billionaires will use this vehicle to deal with their financial needs.

That said, there is an interesting split between men and women in the UHNW segment. According to the Wealth X report, we can see the interest change between the genders.

Men are drawn to cars, jets, and yachts, while women have a greater focus on second homes, art and collectables; watches and jewellery.

While it might be predominantly men who have earned the money, they are certainly supported by their families in spending it. Indeed, when Jeff Bezos divorced to the tune of $160 billion, his ex-wife became a billionaire in her own right.

The lesson? Not to overlook the needs of the wider family, as they either have direct access to large funds or have influence over the wealth investments.

Marketing to an UHNW audience

We do know that one of the major differences between HNW and UHNW is the desire for greater anonymity. UHNW individuals often hold large amounts of influence in everyday life, from running large tech companies that reshape our societies thought to politics and how new legislation is developed or indeed how political parties and institutions are funded.

Therefore, in their personal lives they typically choose to step away from the limelight while adopting quiet luxury that protects their personas as well as the security of their families.

With this need comes access to some of the highest price tag items available: luxury yachts, planes, and islands, which offer them prestige alongside the opportunity to switch off and secure themselves away from normal life.

At Giant Leap we’re heavily invested in researching and understanding wealth segments to help inform the way we develop our digital programmes in order to tailor our approach to drive the right behaviours from our wealth segments.

While this article looks broadly at the differences between HNW and UHNW, there is still plenty of nuance within this to explore. If you would like to know more, please get in touch.

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