Luxury Gifts That Billionaires Are Giving This Christmas

  • For the world’s wealthiest people, Christmas can look a little different.
  • The most sought-after gifts for the billionaire set can cost five figures — or more.
  • Here’s what the ultrarich have on their wishlists this year.

Money, a sweater, perfume, and a smartphone are among the most desired gifts in the US this Christmas, a recent Statista survey found. But unless that check under the tree is for $10,000 — the amount Warren Buffett used to give each member of his family — most of those won’t cut it when it comes to the gifts of the ultrarich.

“The most amazing thing about billionaires is that there tends to be no budget,” said Nicole Pollard Bayme, the founder of luxury styling firm Lalaluxe, which provides bespoke gift sourcing for clients. That “allows us to have unlimited imagination,” she added. For these shopping services, she charges a starting price of $600 an hour, plus a percentage of the cost of the items purchased.

Alongside Pollard Bayme, Business Insider also spoke to Winston Chesterfield, the founder of Barton, a consulting firm focused on luxury and the wealthy, and Elisabeth Brown, a client manager at travel and lifestyle concierge company Knightsbridge Circle.

They gave us their insights about what the richest people give and get for the holidays. The answers varied from the eye-popping — a $5 million villa — to the ear-pleasing — a Steinway in a stocking (well, not literally).

Here’s a look at the presents that the .001% are giving and receiving this year — and just remember, it’s probably best not to compare those socks you got from your mother-in-law with any of the items on this list.

Pianos: Multiple wealth experts said there’s been a newfound interest in giving pianos, and not just your average upright or electric keyboard.

Grand pianos — which can run to tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, Brown said — are a great gift for someone who actually plays, of course, but are also appreciated as a part of one’s decor.

“Our members appreciate the finer things in life, including good craftsmanship,” Brown said, “and a piano oftentimes can be a focal point of a room.”

Chesterfield added that a piano doubles as a party trick, with the wealthy hiring professionals

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How Luxury Department Store Harrods Built A Booming Restaurant Business

Dining is not the first thing that comes to mind when consumers think of Harrods—despite its retail Food Halls being internationally famous. As one of the world’s top destinations for luxury, showcasing over 3,000 brands, the department store in Knightsbridge, London maintains a high-fashion image based on exclusivity and tailored service.

Even the retailer’s website is shy about the 26-strong restaurant and bar offer—you have to hunt around at the bottom to find the details. Yet eating and drinking in-store has blossomed to the extent that towards the end of last year it was trading 44% higher than it was pre-Covid, and transaction values were also 47% up on 2019. More widely, Harrods turned a profit again in the last financial year for which figures are available.

The latest addition to the roster of dining venues—which features fêted names like Jason Atherton, Vineet Bhatia, Tom Kerridge, Angelo Musa, Gordon Ramsay, and Em Sherif—arrived at the end of 2022. Studio Frantzén, brought another Michelin-starred chef to the store, this time from Sweden.

Björn Frantzén’s à la carte restaurant, with a signature Asian-influenced take on Nordic cuisine, is literally the pinnacle of Harrod’s dining experiences because it is found at the very top of the department store’s building on two floors, plus an outdoor terrace. The latter is claimed to be the only rooftop terrace in Knightsbridge and Mayfair, two of London’s most desirable districts. As well as being a choice for foodies, the 150-seat Studio Frantzén is open late and has a buzzy vibe with two bars, one of which offers sweeping views.

Data-led gains

So what is the attraction of having so many eating and drinking spots in the store? I had the chance to catch up with Harrods’ director of restaurants and kitchens, Ashley Saxton, to find out how food and beverage (F&B) is fast becoming a revenue driver and a cornerstone of the business.

“Our research has found that when customers engage with our restaurants they also engage more often with the store. They spend twice as long in the building and spend twice as much money,” he said.

That insight alone has given Saxton quite a bit of freedom

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