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British luxury brands eye US market come Brexit

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

8 Nov 2018

British luxury brands are looking stateside to forge new and stronger relationships as a looming Brexit leads to uncertainty to exporting to the European Community.

Walpole, the official body for UK luxury companies, took 18 British luxury brands to New York end of October, with a mission to grow British luxury exports to the USA.

Walpole is hoping to strike the iron while it is hot, as a growing demand for UK luxury is in part fueled by fashion-forward royals, Duchesses Kate Middleton and America’s own Meghan Markle, notes Forbes.

The British luxury sector is valued at 32.2 billion pounds (about 41.1 billion dollars). Almost 80 percent of what the British luxury sector produces is destined for export. As the UK navigates its departure from the EU the luxury sector is aiming to strengthen its trade and investment ties with its key export market through its trade delegation to New York.

The USA is the UK’s most valuable trading partner for visitor spending in Britain. According to Visit Britain, 3.91 million Americans visited the UK in 2017, an annual increase of 13.16 percent on 2016. American spent a total of 3,64 billion pounds in the UK, with the average transaction of 813 pounds, according to Global Blue.

When visiting the UK, American travellers show a strong emotion connection to luxury, with heritage, rich history and collectability leading the reasons to buy luxury products, according to a YouGov report.

Helen Brocklebank, ceo Walpole stated: “Not only is the US the single biggest market for British luxury, but also it offers a huge growth opportunity for the sector, as the appetite of the US customer for our brands and services grows every year. I’m hugely excited about this research and our returning to New York to show the creativity and innovation that typifies luxury in the UK, and to fly the flag for Britain for US visitors thinking of making a trip here."

No stiff upper lip required to speak to Americans

“The thing I’ve learned in the last few days is not to be afraid to be bold at what we are saying,” Walpole’s Brocklebank said. “The British personality can be quite modest, and diffident, and we’ve got an incredible story to tell.”

“What I’m hearing from everybody I meet in New York is ‘Let’s just hear it a bit more loudly,” she continues. “We think we are shouting, and it comes across as a whisper.”

Photo credit: Getty royalty free