Beloved Billionaires

From blasting into orbit, to owning football clubs, over the past decade we’ve seen the rise of the public facing billionaire.
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Once a rare phenomenon, confined to a boardroom or a big leather chair, in 2021 billionaire businesspeople are more in the public eye than ever before - they’re even hosting Saturday Night Live. The boom in billionaires might not just be because of the rise of social media and well-thought-out PR, there are in fact more billionaires than ever before, with Forbes estimating more than 2,500 billionaires in the world as of September 2021.

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So, with business moguls becoming household names and celebrities in their own right, has set out to find the most searched, most loved and most popular of the world’s top 1%.

The Beloved Billionaires study, analysed annual search volume data and social media sentiment across a range of the world’s richest business moguls to create our Beloved Billionaire 100, analysing data from over 2 billion searches and over 50,000 social media posts, to crown the most loved moguls.

Beloved Billionaires

Billion Dollar Baby

Topping the list as the world's most popular billionaire businessman was Elon Musk, the eccentric tech genius behind Tesla, SpaceX and PayPal.

According to our research, Musk was the most searched for billionaire in the world over the past 12 months, also placing third in our sentiment analysis with 35% of social media mentions about ‘Papa Elon’ being overtly positive – making him the overall winner.

Rounding out the top five for most popular billionaires were Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett, and author and philanthropist Mackenzie Scott who placed one spot higher than ex-husband Jeff Bezos, the brains behind Amazon and space exploration company Blue Origin. 

Social media tycoons Mark Zuckerberg (7) and Jack Dorsey (10) also cracked the top 10, with the former amassing an impressive 14 million searches but also achieving one of the lowest sentiment scores of just 13%. Just missing out on a top 10 spot were Snapchat founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, placing 12th and 18th on the list respectively.

In a surprise twist wrestling rivals Vince McMahon (8) and Tony Khan (6) both feature in the top 10 most popular billionaires, despite being the ‘least wealthy’ people in the top 100.  

Overall, 60% of the top 10 most popular billionaires were tech moguls, with the remaining spots split between investment and pro-wrestling tycoons.

The Beloved Billionaire 100

Updated 14 October 2021
Beloved Billionaire RankingNet WorthFamous ForPopularity ScoreWorldwide SearchSocial Sentiment (Positive %)
1. Elon Musk$201.7 BTesla, Spacex10064,677,93035%
2. Bill Gates$131.5 BMicrosoft8731,023,21032%
3. Mackenzie Scott$56.5 BAmazon707,191,02037%
4. Warren Buffett$101.5 BBerkshire Hathaway7010,353,81031%
5. Jeff Bezos$195.4 BAmazon5938,800,26016%
6. Tony Khan$8 bnAEW55670,75039%
7. Mark Zuckerberg$125.3 BFacebook4114,442,49010%
8. Vince Mcmahon$2.1 bnWWE383,850,56023%
9. David Tepper$15.8 BHedge Funds34371,47027%
10. Jack Dorsey$14.4 BTwitter, Square324,714,63018%
11. Bernard Arnault$179.4 BLvmh315,497,47016%
12. Evan Spiegel$14.7 BSnapchat291,485,30022%
13. Larry Page$121.2 BGoogle282,968,27019%
14. Sergey Brin$116.8 BGoogle261,668,74020%
15. Giovanni Ferrero$34.6 BNutella, Chocolates24291,22021%
16. Phil Knight$55.4 BNike23980,16019%
17. Ugur Sahin$12.7 BBiotechnology221,449,90018%
18. Bobby Murphy$16.2 BSnapchat22152,92020%
19. Charlene De Carvalho Heineken$16.9 BHeineken22129,01020%
20. Larry Ellison$118.4 BSoftware221,790,47017%

The Most Searched Billionaires: In Musk we trust

Along with taking the number one spot overall, Elon Musk dominated web searches as the most searched for billionaire over the past year.

Following a particularly high profile 12 months Musk, who is also the richest person on the list with an estimated $201.7bn dollars to his name, featured in 64,677,930 total worldwide searches across the past year, ranking number one across all 30 countries in our study and dwarfing the competition.

Rounding out the top five for most searched billionaires was Amazon and Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and investor Warren Buffett. However, none of these came close to Musk, who took first place by more than 25 million searches. 

Creeping into the top 10 most searched business billionaires at number seven was WWE’s Vince McMahon. With a net worth of ‘just’ $2.2bn and a Forbes ranking of 1,417, McMahon significantly outperformed wealthier individuals, giving ‘Mr McMahon’ the honour of highest popularity-to-wealth ratio of any billionaire, along with being the only billionaire to our knowledge to win the Royal Rumble match.

Updated 14 October 2021
BillionaireWorldwide Search Volume
1. Elon Musk64,677,930
2. Jeff Bezos38,800,260
3. Bill Gates31,023,210
4. Mark Zuckerberg14,442,490
5. Warren Buffett10,353,810
6. Mackenzie Scott7,191,020
7. Bernard Arnault5,497,470
8. Jack Dorsey4,714,630
9. Vince Mcmahon3,850,560
10. Rupert Murdoch3,792,330
11. Eduardo Saverin3,072,030
12. Larry Page2,968,270
13. Steve Cohen1,849,230
14. Larry Ellison1,790,470
15. Sergey Brin1,668,740
16. Ray Dalio1,601,130
17. Laurene Powell Jobs1,561,270
18. Evan Spiegel1,485,300
19. Ugur Sahin1,449,900
20. Steve Ballmer1,319,130

The Most Beloved Billionaire: The ‘All Elite’ of the business elite

When it comes to sentiment, our study found that the title of most ‘beloved billionaire’ belonged to sports mogul Tony Khan, with a whopping 38% of all mentions of the 38 year old being positive, more than any other person on the list.

The son of Shahid Khan, Tony plays a key role in multiple sports franchises including the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Championship football team Fulham. However, in recent years he is most well-known for his role as owner of All Elite Wrestling (AEW), a hot new competitor to Vince McMahon’s WWE, which has quickly gained a large following, signing big wrestling names such as CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan and Kenny Omega.

Other beloved billionaires included Vince McMahon (23%), Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper (27%), Bill Gates (32%), Elon Musk (35%), and Mackenzie Scott whose philanthropic work, including the donation of over $6 billion dollars to charitable causes, put her in second place overall for positive sentiment with a score of 37%.

Updated 14 October 2021
BillionaireSocial Sentiment (Positive %)
1. Tony Khan39%
2. Mackenzie Scott37%
3. Elon Musk35%
4. Bill Gates32%
5. Warren Buffett31%
6. David Tepper27%
7. Vince Mcmahon23%
8. Evan Spiegel22%
9. Giovanni Ferrero21%
10. Sergey Brin20%
11. Bobby Murphy20%
12. Charlene De Carvalho Heineken20%
13. Larry Page19%
14. Phil Knight19%
15. Eric Yuan19%
16. Stefan Quandt19%
17. Stefan Persson19%
18. Alain Wertheimer19%
19. Jack Dorsey18%
20. Ugur Sahin18%
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About Salman Haqqi

Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press such as The Express, Travel Daily, and The Daily Star.

View Salman Haqqi's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.

About Salman Haqqi

View Salman Haqqi's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.