International spend experts, Global Blue today report that Qatari shoppers are leading the pre-Christmas spend this year, with astonishingly high average spend of £1643 per transaction, 37% higher than any other nation.
Qatar was identified in Global Blue’s forecasts as one to watch this December having seen continued growth of 15% YOY (year on year) to date. As the November figures reveal it as the only nation to see double digit growth for the month (up 10% YOY), with average spend per transaction soaring 34% on the previous year, it has set its place as the leader of international spend growth for the season.
Gordon Clark, UK Country Manager at Global Blue, comments, “Pre and post Ramadan are traditionally the peak travel periods for Middle Eastern visitors but December is becoming increasingly important. Whilst these shoppers do not celebrate Christmas, luxury accessories and fashion still top shopping lists and they are drawn by the exclusive ranges retailers offer for the season. Tax free shopping, more than ever, has become an integral part of the Christmas strategy for retailers.”
International spend has been down across the board this year following the weakening economies of key spending nations such as Russia and Thailand making shopping in the UK less appealing as currency rates soar. Even the biggest markets have slowed, with China seeing growth of just 5%, Kuwait seeing 6% and Saudi Arabia seeing 9% YOY to date this year.
Retailers are hoping that the Christmas rush will recover growth for the year, particularly across luxury stores in areas such as London’s Bond Street where average transaction values are significantly higher than the rest of the UK thanks to the draw of global powerhouse and British heritage designer brands.
With around 75% of global shoppers making their ‘wish list’ of purchases before heading to the UK, a growing need for retailers to work on pre-travel marketing techniques in addition to tax free services and wider currency choice has become apparent. Global Blue has experienced an increased demand for companies to utilise their services during the Christmas rush.