London’s status as the world capital for luxury retail has been reinforced with new data showing it had more luxury store openings than any other city in 2016.
According to Global Luxury Retail report, the city saw a total of 41 new luxury openings last year – of which 15 were the respective brand’s first ever store in London – compared to 36 in Paris, 31 in both New York and Dubai, and 24 in Milan.
London has consistently been the most visited city in the world by international tourists according to Savills, the real estate firm that published the report, making it an important luxury retail market.
The news comes after last week’s CBRE and Walpole report that named London as the world’s top destination for luxury retail, holding the greatest long-term potential for the sector compared to similar luxury hotspots despite worries surrounding Brexit.
Savills’ report suggests that for European luxury brands, London is a useful stepping stone prior to expanding into the US, while for US brands it provides a gateway to mainland Europe.
The World Tourism Organization also suggests that international tourist arrivals in London will double to almost 1.8 billion by 2030, boosted by growth of low cost air travel and an expanding middle class from emerging economies – especially China.
London’s appeal to Chinese tourists has grown exponentially, with visitor numbers increasing 69 per cent in 2015 according to Office for National Statistics.
Savills said the recent weakening in the pound as a result of the Brexit vote, which has provided an immediate discount for many overseas shoppers, has given luxury spend in London a further boost.
“A significant proportion of luxury goods are now purchased outside a shopper’s home market, particularly those of Chinese consumers, reinforcing the importance of destination cities,” Savills commercial research director Marie Hickey said.
“This was apparent in 2016, when all of the key established global retail destinations saw more than 20 luxury brand store openings.”
Savills head of central London retail Anthony Selwyn added: “The role of a specific destination in brand building and enhancing the customer experience remains key, and the heritage of London and Paris saw these cities rank first and second for new luxury openings last year.
“With international travel expected to double by 2030, appetite among luxury retailers to expand in key markets will remain strong, though we expect to see several of the emerging luxury markets gain more market share.”