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London Luxury Quarter boosted by return of Russian visitors

London’s luxury market has been boosted by a momentous return of Russian visitors and Americans’ surge in interest for British luxury in the first quarter of the year.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

London Luxury Quarter boosted by return of Russian visitors

London’s luxury market has been boosted by a momentous return of Russian visitors and Americans’ surge in interest for British luxury in the first quarter of the year.

International tax free shopping data for London Luxury Quarter, which covers Mayfair, St James’s and Piccadilly, shows growth of 39% in the period. In addition, Russian visitors’ tax free shopping spend increased by 88% in March while American spend grew by 116% year-on-year.

Recent economic pressures and rising political tension in Russia has led to a long-term decline in Russian luxury spend. However, March recorded the highest growth in international tax free spend by Russian visitors in London Luxury Quarter in more than two years.

The London Luxury Quarter said the increase was partially due to the centenary of the Russian Revolution prompting art exhibitions and events across London, which has encouraged Russian travellers to visit.

Meanwhile, American visitors accounted for 11% of London Luxury Quarter’s international tax free shopping market in the quarter after China which has continued to dominate market share at 23%. The US has steadily increased its share in the past year. In January 2016 US shoppers accounted for 7% of total international tax free spend and in March this year they accounted for 12%.

Mark Henderson, chairman of London Luxury Quarter, said: “London’s longstanding luxury appeal has continued to attract and grow tourist markets, like Russia and America, whose visiting nationals have a strong appreciation for our culture, quality goods and experiences. It is particularly encouraging to see Russian visitors – historically a strong market for London Luxury Quarter – return to investing in British luxury goods after a long period of decline.

“The steady growth of US spend and the bounce back from Russian visitors brings diversity to London Luxury Quarter, which has been dominated by Chinese and Middle Eastern visitors for some time. Brands welcome the mix as it promotes their names in visitors’ home markets and supports their global success, rather than relying on a single market.”

Chinese visitors’ international tax free spend in London Luxury Quarter continued to increase for the year to date with growth of 68%. Meanwhile, spend by visitors from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Hong Kong saw increases of 45%, 24% and 80% respectively. 

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