Here’s what billionaires of the world do with their free time

Billionaire Richard Branson playing tennis
Photo by Jonathan Brady - PA Images

The richest people in the world are interested in sports (especially golf), collecting art and classical music.

That's according to a report on global billionaires from intelligence and data company WealthX, the Wealth-X Billionaire Census, which was officially released on May 15. There are 2,754 billionaires in the world, more than ever before, the report finds, and their collective net worth is $9.2 trillion.

"Time is at a premium for the world's wealthiest individuals," the report says.

But when the billionaires of the world aren't focused on their business or philanthropic efforts, the next most common interest is sport, the report finds.

"Aside from philanthropy and, as one would expect, a common interest in business affairs, the foremost passion or hobby among the global billionaire population involves sporting activities (44%)," the report says.

The most popular sport among billionaires is golf, the report finds.

"Sport has always been one of the most popular hobby categories for billionaires, offering them a temporary (and at times relaxing) distraction from daily pressures, whether as a passive observer of elite sporting contests or as an active participant in the favored pastimes of golf, skiing and tennis (the trinity of classic 'wealthy' sports)," the report says.

Aviation is another popular interest, according to the report.

And almost half of billionaires report being interested in collecting art, the report finds.

"Luxury art collections have traditionally offered strong value as an investment asset — industry estimates of global auction sales suggest that art was one of the best-performing asset classes in 2017 — with demand underpinned by the robust development of prime real estate markets," the report says.

While the most popular category of art is painting and drawing, contemporary art is also popular.

"The expansion of the Asian billionaire class and the growth of tech-driven ultra wealth has produced a larger cohort of younger billionaires, which has contributed to increased demand for contemporary art in particular," the report says.

When it comes to music, billionaires tend to appreciate classical the most, the report finds.

"Among music genres, the billionaire population as a whole favors classical music, most likely reflecting a demographic with a high average age, rather than particular refinement or connoisseurship," the report says. Half the billionaires in the U.S. and Europe, for example, are over 70, the report says, and the average age for billionaires globally is 64.5, a WealthX spokesperson tells CNBC Make It.

In terms of the most popular instruments, "after the guitar and piano (the two favorites), only the violin and drums registered an incidence of greater than 1%," the report says.

For the report, a billionaire's interest was tallied both if the individual has an interest in the activity for an investment perspective or to participate in, since billionaires often do both, a WealthX spokesperson tells CNBC Make It. WealthX calculated the billioniares' net worth for the 2017 calendar year.

See also:

Richard Branson: I've never been motivated by money

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