UK second in EU for tax free shopping with £3.4bn recorded in 2018

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Tourist UK
// UK is the second most popular destination for tax free shopping in the EU
// Tourists boost UK economy by spending an average of £1850 per transaction
// Luxury goods have seen the strongest growth, accounting for 65% of sales

UK is the second most popular destination for tax free shopping in Europe with £3.4 billion tax free sales recorded in 2018, according to new insight.

The tax free sales completed in 2018 were by international travellers visiting from outside of Europe, according to tax free shopping experts Global Blue.

The research reveals that international shoppers boost the UK economy by spending an average of £1850 per transaction during their stay.

“After the Brexit vote and a more favourable exchange rate against the British pound, the UK Tax Free Shopping industry has performed highly since then,” Global Blue CEO Jacques Stern said.

“2019 will be a pivotal year for the United Kingdom. For the British retail industry, getting ready for the challenges ahead will revolve around adopting a digital tax free shopping process and anticipate a higher number of Visa permits for highly affluent tourists.”

The strongest growth was prevalent in the luxury sector as sales climbed 7.2 per cent over the last five years, accounting for 65 per cent of sales.

Sales over £5000 from affluent shoppers had helped boost the luxury sector.

Premium goods sales (transactions below £1500) has seen a growth of 5.8 per cent, while the spend on lifestyle (less than (£750 per transaction) has increased by 2.6 per cent over the last 5 years.

UK’s excellent mix of retail brands from luxury to mid-range, British and global fashion, along with an exciting offer of culture, history and world class food, makes it an attractive destination to visit. However, Global Blue’s data also shows that another key reason to visit is the UK’s outstanding offer of department stores, which international shoppers rank as a preferred destination for finding luxury items.

Gulf and American tourists will benefit UK retailers as the number of transactions by Gulf tourists is expected to grow by 5 per cent and 25 per cent by American shoppers in the next 90 days, according to Global Blue’s forecasts.

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