Tourists visiting the UK from China spent 133 per cent more on tax free shopping in August than during the previous month, new research has revealed.
New Autumn/Winter fashion lines were a huge boost to trading during the month but even with a similar rise seen in 2010, money spent by Chinese consumer still rose 82 per cent year-on-year.
Luxury brands, particularly around London’s West End, have been the biggest beneficiary of this surge in tourist spending and newly cash rich shoppers from emerging economies visit these shores in search of the ‘London Look’.
Jace Tyrrell, Director of New West End Company said: “The rich abundance of heritage and quintessentially British retail brands that London’s West End has to offer is the key driver for international shopper spend in particular Chinese visitors, who spend £1,300 per visit in the West End alone.
“It is the incredible brand mix of international and British brands, and the close cluster of top-end retail stores that puts us firmly on the map as one of the most desirable shopping destinations in the world.”
Chinese travellers tend to be value conscious as they have a restricted holiday allowance, but many luxury goods in the UK can be up to 30 per cent lower than in their own country.
Fashion retailer Topshop noted how its sales from Chinese tourists are helped by having a global presence but no stores in the Asian country and luxury department store Harrods pointed out that it has over 70 Mandarin speaking sales staff to help encourage this trade.
Richard Brown, UK Vice President of international transaction provider Global Blue, said: “With 87 per cent of the average Chinese traveller’s shopping bill being spent on fashion items, we can now see how effective retailers have been at marketing themselves to this increasingly influential consumer group.
“We are also observing the success of discount fashion outlets who have marketed themselves to Chinese travellers as tourist destinations and prompting a new shopping trend for luxury brands at lower prices.
Tourist spending by Middle Eastern Shoppers, who usually spend August in their home countries for Ramadan, also unexpectedly rose by 31 per cent between July and August.