The 10 wealthiest American families saw their wealth increase by $136 billion during the pandemic

Lauder family
The Lauder family has gained the most wealth of any other American family during the pandemic.

The rich continue to get richer.

America’s 10 wealthiest billionaire families saw their median wealth grow by 25%, per a new report from the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies. Their net worth collectively increased by $136 billion since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Titled “Silver Spoon Oligarchs,” the report examines the growing concentration of wealth in the US by looking at the top 50 dynastically wealthy families from Forbes’ inaugural ranking of America’s wealthiest clans, published in December 2020, and data from the Federal Reserve‘s Survey of Consumer Finance.

Each family’s wealth comes from companies started by an earlier generation, whether a parent or distant ancestor, according to the report, and each represents a wealth dynasty passing generation to generation.

The ranks of these dynastic fortunes have remained largely unchanged for decades, per the report, and their wealth has grown exponentially during the pandemic.

The Lauder family, the cosmetics magnate behind the Estée Lauder empire, gained the most during the pandemic, nearly doubling its wealth with 83% growth. Even the family with the smallest wealth gains, SC Johnson, saw 9% growth – an increase of just over $1 billion.

“At a time when unemployment rates have skyrocketed and many American families have been struggling to get by, the very wealthiest families in the country have watched their assets multiply,” the report reads.

Read more: Dynastic wealth may be fueling the widening gap between America’s rich and poor – here’s how the wealthy keep their money in the family

The pandemic exacerbated America’s wealth disparities

It’s the latest in the story of America’s K-shaped recovery. The pandemic widened wealth inequality in America, exposing preexisting disparities in wealth, in the sense that when the recovery began, upper middle class and wealthy Americans formed an upward leg of a K shape, while the rest saw their fortunes worsen.

Higher-income Americans – especially those in industries like tech and software – have seen jobs return and their incomes grow. Throughout the pandemic, higher-income people have consistently been spending less than lower-income Americans, meaning they saved more money, creating increasingly larger cushions.

Billionaires in particular have seen their net worths grow, exceeding $1 trillion, while their frontline workers have foregone hazard pay and fallen ill. The bottom of the K found themselves jobless, struggled to pay bills, and fell into poverty.

But some billionaires have been thinking twice about how they’re tackling generational wealth. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett plan to give most of their money away through the Giving Pledge, instead of keeping it in the family.

Buffett has long been vocal about his efforts to reduce the vast wealth sitting in the hands of a few influential people. “Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise,” Buffett said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing about the federal estate tax 2007. “Equality of opportunity has been on the decline.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

What Instagram is whispering to creators

Hi and welcome to this weekly edition of Insider Advertising, where I break down the big stories in media and advertising.

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This week: What Instagram is whispering to creators, Discovery joins the streaming wars, and Estée Lauder pivots in the pandemic.

Instagram app
The logo of the Instagram app on a smartphone.

Tech platforms wield enormous influence on business and society but the algorithms that power them are a black box to all but a few.

So that’s why it was fascinating to see what Instagram told certain creators about how they could grow their followings on the platform, as Sydney Bradley reported.

Key points:

  • Some creators said while they were glad to get specific tips from Instagram, the posting volume that was recommended was unrealistically high.
  • The advice also shows how much Facebook-owned Instagram is pushing Reels, the feature it rolled out in August and which has been widely seen as an attempt to knock off the wildly popular TikTok app.
  • Reels, you’ll recall, launched to a mixed reception, and Instagram reportedly dangled cash before high-profile TikTok creators to try to lure them to use the new feature. 

Read the full story here: Instagram has privately advised some creators on how often to post, offering a rare glimpse into how its mysterious algorithm works

Chip and Joanna Gaines Getty Images
Chip and Joanna Gaines, who are coming to Discovery Plus.

Streaming wars, take 2

Streaming media has exploded as people ditch their cable bundles and more recently, are forced by the pandemic to seek out in-home entertainment. 

But if it already feels like there are too many services to choose from, we’re about to get more.

Discovery Plus is the first new streamer to launch in 2021. And while it doesn’t boast the originals Netflix has, if wildlife documentaries and cooking shows are your thing, it’s a relative deal at $4.99 for a subscription with ads, compared to Netflix starting at $8.99.

Speaking of Netflix, the streamer just released viewing numbers for its new “Bridgerton” series, showing it’s on track to be its fifth biggest original series ever (and a win for creator Shonda Rhimes). 

Read the full story here: The $6.99 Discovery Plus streaming service launched today with shows from HGTV and Food Network, joining an already crowded streaming market

estee lauder
Estée Lauder logo seen in Hong Kong.

Estée Lauder’s pandemic pivot

Getting a handle on consumer sentiment is critical for makeup companies, which have seen a sales dip in the pandemic. But the same conditions have made doing in-person research safely near impossible.

Estée Lauder described how it’s pivoted to virtual research methods, like getting people to send them videos talking about how they use makeup.

It’s found some opportunity: There’s demand among people who use videoconferencing platforms for work and frontline workers who want to treat themselves with things like mini spa days and new products like sheet masks.

Read the rest here: An Estée Lauder exec reveals how the pandemic is transforming the company’s research and marketing as people ditch makeup for sheet masks and self-care

Other stories we’re reading:

That’s a wrap. See you next week!

– Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider