THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT: The super wealthy — they’re the ones buying 250-foot yachts and $100,000 watches, rather than 45-foot boats and $10,000 timepieces — are just as acquisitive as ever, albeit a little more discreet about showing off their purchases. This, according to the first Departures Global Luxury CEO Survey, which was conducted with London-based Ledbury Research. Other findings of the study: 89 percent of chief executive officers are optimistic about the luxury industry, 89 percent think North America is the most important contributor to growth, and 86 percent of ceos are increasingly focusing on higher-end offerings. The very richest customers will fuel growth for most brands. For these customers, exclusivity and uniqueness matter as much as quality.

Luxury ceos also said they want to expand into new products and categories. For example, Bentley created a collection of limited edition handbags and Bugatti launched men’s apparel and accessories. Political unrest around the world (the survey was completed before the U.S. government shutdown), has ceos wary of hot spots such as Egypt and Kenya, and China is slipping to second place in terms of growth for the next five years. “It’s amazing how quickly the U.S. luxury customer bounced back,” Departures senior vice president and publisher Steven DeLuca said. “Luxury firms are expecting sales to rise 9 percent in the next 12 months.”

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