Insight: Chinese tourists boost London luxury spending in February
London’s Luxury Quarter has reported a 54% year-on-year increase in international tax free shopping spend in February after trade was driven by improving economies in some of its key markets. The figures include a strong increase from Chinese visitors.
The positive start to the year is in stark contrast to the performance in the same month last year when international tax free spend declined due to weakening economies in China, Russia and Hong Kong.
Improved economic environments in these markets have helped spending by Chinese visitors to grow by 110% year-on-year in February. Meanwhile, spending from Hong Kong and Russian visitors rose by 72% and 64% respectively.
Mark Henderson, London Luxury Quarter chairman, said: “The impressive growth we have seen in London Luxury Quarter visitor spend is reflective of the strength of our luxury offering across Mayfair, St James’s and Piccadilly.
“The full impact of Brexit is still unknown. Though the weakened pound has worked in our favour supporting tourist spend in the short-term, we need to collectively prepare for the longer-term effect; we need to ensure our London luxury experience continues to cater to those visitors who continually choose London as a destination.
“Recognising the markets key to our growth – China, USA, the Middle East – and facilitating their world-class experience should be our industry’s top priority.”
Visitor spend from the US has seen consistent monthly increases since February 2016. This meant the US maintained its 9% share of London Luxury Quarter’s international tax free spend market in February and took the second spot in the top five markets following China.
Meanwhile, shoppers from Saudi Arabia increased spend by 123% year-on-year in the month. Visitors from Saudi Arabia spent an average of £1,614 per transaction in February; visitors from the UAE spent an average of £1,495 and visitors from Qatar spent an average of £1,148.
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