Disrupting and innovative industries are reshaping the economy and performing stronger than ever before. Billionaires, as a result, are focusing on innovation for returns.

This is according to the 2020 Billionaire Insights report from Swiss bank UBS and PwC.

With regards to adopting disruptive business models and innovation, most tech (94%) and healthcare (71%) billionaires were already among them.

Within the industrial sector, 54% of billionaires were innovators and disruptors, while consumer and retail had 41%.

Josef Stadler, head of the global family office unit at UBS Global Wealth Management, said: “This is a key moment in economic history. Scientists, computer programmers and engineers are revolutionising industries at a pace never seen before and they are having a profound impact on the whole of the global economy.

“From AI to 3D printing, from nanotechnology to biotechnology, scientists and serial entrepreneurs are only just beginning to apply and develop radically new products and services that have the potential to reshape the global economy and create tens, or even hundreds of thousands of new jobs as the world rebuilds after COVID-19.”

Billionaires and innovation performance

In 2018, 2019, and the first seven months of 2020, the billionaires identified as disruptors or using innovation grew their wealth by 17% to $5.3trn.

However, traditional billionaires only grew their wealth by 6% to $3.7trn.

The report also found the 1,542 billionaires analysed were responsible for the employment of over 27.7 million people worldwide.

Furthermore, they were giving more than in any time in history as around 209 billionaires publicly donated a total of $7.2bn between March and June 2020 to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic had a strong effect on billionaires as their wealth fell 6.6% in a matter of weeks in March and April 2020.

Marcel Tschanz, head of banking advisory, PwC Switzerland, said: “2020 is exceptional in many ways. To gain a more in-depth understanding of billionaires’ preoccupations and expectations during these extraordinary times, PwC Partners globally were asked for the first time, to echo their billionaires’ clients’ voices.

“Interestingly, billionaires seemed to have taken the pandemic as a stimulus to reconsider where they stand, what their values are and to re-think their own and their family’s future. Many have acknowledged the fragility of their achievements and are now laying more focus on securing long-term stability, sustainability and eventually leaving a legacy – for their families, their enterprises and society as a whole.”