Last month was the busiest ever December for international tax free spend as sales surged 40 per cent year-on-year for the month, according to shopping tourism company Global Blue.
Chinese consumer spend more than doubled y-o-y and accounted for 23 per cent of total sales, while Malaysia posted a y-o-y spending surge of 73 per cent.
Russia made up 7 per cent of total international spend, which was boosted by discounted tickets to Europe from Czech Airlines.
Myf Ryan, Westfield’s Marketing Director for UK and Europe said the shopping group noticed a large number of Chinese, Korean, Indian and Nigerian visitors shopping throughout both its London centres and said one retailer reported a spend of over £20,000 from one Nigerian family alone in December.
Middle-Eastern shoppers were the highest spenders with average spend per transaction for Qatari, UAE and Saudi Arabian shoppers £1165, £1150 and £1037 respectively, which trumped the Chinese figure of £741.
“Pre-travel marketing, cultural training and multilingual staff in store are all increasing the appeal to globe shoppers and have led to record breaking sales growth,” commented Gordon Clark, UK Country Manager of Global Blue.
Nick Bubb, Retail Analyst, said: “The average UK consumer is still feeling squeezed, hence the weak Christmas trading reported by some of the big retail chains, but premium retailers in London clearly enjoyed the benefit of many wealthy and free-spending International visitors last month.”