Fashion and luxury retailers across the UK can expect a significant increase in Middle Eastern spend over the next week, as shoppers are predicted to hit the high street for the annual pre-Ramadan rush, according to Global Blue, international spend experts. With more Western fashion labels embracing the Holy month and launching exclusive collections, including the likes of DKNY, Mango, New Look and Tommy Hilfiger, spend from Middle Eastern nations expected to grow this year, after a 43 percent year on year increase last year.
The weeks surrounding Ramadan as seen as one of the most important events in the UK international shopping calendar, as an influx of visitors from Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait - four of the top five spending nations in the UK - descend on the country to escape overly-warm temperatures at home. This year, Global Blue foresees Saudi Arabian consumers to lead the spend surge, up 28 percent year on year to date, as the second largest international shopper markers for the UK, coming in just after China. Shoppers from Qatar are expected to follow, with the highest average spend per transaction of 1,432 pounds of any international shopper group in the UK.
Pre-Ramadan rush to trigger 'significant' uplift in spend
"Centred around the biggest holiday in their calendar, the pre-Ramadan rush will trigger a significant uplift in Middle Eastern spend in the UK," commented Gordon Clark, UK Country Manager of Global Blue. "Last year, spend by Arabic shoppers was up 43 percent for the period, and as retailers and hotels improve their services to accommodate them, by bringing in Arabic speaking staff and learning their culture’s customs, the UK is becoming an increasingly appealing shopping destination for them and we expect spend growth to remain strong."
"As Ramadan is earlier than ever this year (June 18 – July 17), retailers and hotels are likely to benefit from a double hit as Middle Eastern shoppers return for a post-Ramadan shopping splurge around mid-July once their month long fast has ended, so it is vital that they are prepared to welcome them." According to Global Blue, Middle Eastern shoppers are known for their varied taste in brands and enjoy blending high street items with designer products, with fashion and apparel highlighted as their top purchase category. Spending an average of 931 pounds per transaction, Middle Eastern consumers prefer to splurge on clothes, with men investing in high-end tailored pieces and women donning designer labels in the privacy of their own homes at women-only gatherings.
Last June saw Saudi Arabian spend increase 66 percent year on year, with an average spend of 732 pounds per transaction, whilst shoppers from UAE hit an average spend of 1120 pounds per transaction during the pre-Ramadan rush. Global Blue encourages local retailers learn a number of cultural customs and manners to welcome Middle Eastern shoppers and maximise spend potential.