Chinese tourist spend in UK rises 47%

Chinese shoppers visiting from abroad keen to snap up a luxury handbag bargain have increased their monthly spend to £744 from £666 in five months, according to a report from traveller services firm Global Blue.

An influx of Middle Eastern tourists top the total amount spent making up for 26 per cent of the total international sales in the UK market for the period of January to May 2012 followed closely behind by China with 18 per cent and bottom of the list are Norway and Canada who have only contributed one per cent each.

Luxury designer goods are a booming industry in China but come with a hefty VAT meaning tourists hoping for a discount when visiting the UK are increasingly tempted to spend on these types of products.

Richard Brown, Vice President of Global Blue UK, which manages in excess of 60,000 international shoppers each day across 40 markets, commented: “Sales from international shoppers have increased 20 per cent year-to-date (Jan-May 2012) and from Chinese shoppers alone have increased 47 per cent year-to-date.

“Each Chinese shopper spends on average £744 per transaction, with Russia not far behind at £634 as shoppers travel to the UK to gain dramatic savings on luxury goods.”

London has been voted the most popular capital city to visit in Europe for attractions; with the recent Jubilee celebrations and Olympic Games there will be more international holidaymakers keen to combine their retail spend while enjoying festivities in the capital.

It was reported yesterday by the global consumer institute A.I Kearney that the fast growing economies of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are becoming increasingly attractive markets to UK retailers.

Brown adds that international shoppers are a strong asset to the UK economy, he said: “Global shoppers, especially those from emerging markets, in particular the BRICS – are an increasingly important section of the tourism economy in the UK.”


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