// Lunar New Year is no longer the biggest spend period for Chinese shoppers
// Transactional outlook for next 90 days is down by 15% compared to the previous period, which included Golden Week & Christmas
// A surge in shoppers is expected but sales will be more muted than previous years
The upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations is slated to no longer be the biggest spend period for Chinese shoppers, as Golden Week and Christmas rise in importance.
According to tax-free shopping experts at Global Blue, over the next 90 days, Chinese tourist spending is expected to decline by 15 per cent in comparison to the previous period – which included Golden Week and Christmas.
Last year, the UK saw a strong 13.44 per cent growth in sales in store as well as a 21.7 per cent growth in transaction volume compared to the equivalent period in 2018.
During Golden Week in October, Chinese shoppers made up 30 per cent of tax-free spend, representing a year-on-year increase of three per cent and with an average transaction value of £1092.
Meanwhile over the recent Christmas period, mainland China accounted for 21 per cent of tax-free spend, again up from the previous year by three per cent with an average transaction value of £1014.
Global Blue said it was anticipating a “short surge” in shoppers over this year’s Lunar New Year period, which runs from the end of January until mid-February.
The latest data from global tourism experts Forward Keys indicates that hotel and flight bookings are up 18 per cent in comparison to 2019.
However, Global Blue expects the Lunar New Year growth in the UK to be to a “less significant” margin in comparison to 2019, partly due to the impact of coronavirus travel bans and the shopper sentiment of those coming from Hong Kong.
Despite this, separate data from the New West End Company predicts that Chinese shoppers will boost spending in the central London area by £17 million during Lunar New Year.
The lobby group also predicts that Chinese tourists will spend £1800 on average per transaction during the week ahead in the area.
New West End Company added that Chinese shoppers were the top international spending group in the West End due to the raft of luxury retailers and department stores available.
It also said that over the past year, Chinese tourist spending has increased by five per cent, driven by attractive prices from the lower-than-usual value of the sterling.
New West End Company’s forecast also takes into account the dampening effect of the current coronavirus outbreak in China.