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Tourist spending in the UK up 21 percent this year

By FashionUnited


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The UK is the third most popular tax-free shopping destination this year, with tourists visiting the country spending on average four times more than domestic shoppers, reported Global Blue, the international retail tourism professionals.

The total international tax free spending in the UK is also up 21 percent to date this year, adds Global Blue, with tourists from South East Asia, Thailand in particular, pushing the growth. Tourist from Thailand have spend 48 percent to date this year and the transaction average for a Thai shopper is said to be on par with the Chinese shopper.

Chinese shoppers are still the number one tourist in terms of sales for the UK, Thai shoppers have raised their average transaction value by 19 percent to 742 pounds, which is the same to the average transaction value of Chinese shoppers. According to Global Blue, this is evidence that so far the UK has not been affected by the decrease of spending from Chinese shoppers on luxury items, as spending on luxury goods has increased 33 percent this year.

UK witnesses increase in demand for luxury goods from visiting Asian tourists

Gordon Clark, UK Country Manager for Global Blue, commented: “Though China still represents a fifth of all tax free spend across the UK, the desire for luxury goods is rippling to other Asian nations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It is now more important than ever for luxury brands to tailor their service to their ever discerning international customer base from flagships on Oxford Street through to luxury boutiques in Edinburgh.”

The upcoming holiday season is an important period for UK retailers, as not all international shoppers celebrate Christmas and will be keen to cash-in on Boxing Day sales, with luxury fashion and accessories high on their purchase list. Global Blue reports a rise in demand for more and more fashion brands to introduce tax-free shopping, as well as offer cultural training to store staff and invest in multi-lingual sales assistants to better serve globe shoppers.

With roughly 75 percent of international shoppers creating a 'wish list' of items to purchase before visiting the UK, a number of retailers have been introducing pre-travel marketing techniques in the hopes of winning shoppers over before they arrive in the country. Luxury watch label, Bremont has employed a social media strategy, offering exclusive products such as its Codebreaker watch, to entice shoppers to visit stores in London and Hong Kong.

Global Blue states that many international shoppers are drawn to 'new' and 'exclusive' item offerings that may not be available in their countries, with many luxury retailers ordering in new products and offering exclusive service for their global shoppers over the holiday period.

Mark Henderson, chairman of the London Luxury Quarter says: “International shoppers are hugely important and we aim to accommodate their needs in every aspect possible. Over half of stores in LLQ have mandarin speaking staff and 90 percent of stores offer the option for private shopping after store opening hours.”

Global Blue has listed the top five international spenders for Christmas 2013, which places the Middle East in the top spot, followed by China, Russia, Nigeria and Thailand.

Photos: Courtesy of Global Blue

Global Blue
London Luxury Quarter