Foreign visitors spent a total of £4.5 billion in Britain’s shops in 2011 as the UK maintains its position as one of the world’s top shopping destinations, research released today reveals.
National tourism agency VisitBritain found that 18 million tourists spent 25 per cent of their total overseas shopping spend in the UK, with an estimated £2.3 billion spent on clothing as fashion-conscious consumers flooded to the country’s fashion retailers.
‘Shopping’ tourists exceeded spend of ‘ordinary’ overseas visitors, the survey found, with the former spending an average of £680 per shopping trip, £100 more than their traditional counterparts.
Visitors from emerging markets are driving sales with Brazilians leading the way, as 73 per cent are inclined to go shopping during a visit while Russian and Chinese tourists also have a higher than average appetite for shopping ,with 68 per cent and 65 per cent inclined to do so respectively.
London remains a magnet for foreign consumers with about 81 per cent of visitors to the capital going shopping during their stay, while 19 per cent of respondents from 19 countries chose “shopping in Harrods” as a top activity when visiting Britain.
London offers greater value for money than Paris, according to those from long haul markets while the UK was rated above France and Italy for expense and value for money.
“Shopping in Britain is seen around the world as a positive and welcoming experience, and one of the things VisitBritain promotes to encourage visitors,” said VisitBritain CEO Sandie Dawe.
“It’s not just purchasing designer goods at Harrods, or rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous on Chelsea’s King’s Road that lures visitors to the UK - a huge number also make the trip to seek out bargains, whether it’s finding the best deals on designer goods at Bicester Village and the McArthurGlen Retail Outlets, or hitting the high street in Edinburgh or Manchester.
“Our shopping experience is world class, with high quality, desirable British brands enticing international visitors at all times of the year and providing real value for money against our competitors.”