Record sales to Middle Eastern shoppers in Europe
According to a research by Global Blue, visitors from Middle Eastern nations including The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar spent record amounts, mostly in Europe, during the final quarter of 2013.
The spending spree was led by residents of the U.A.E. who spent 29% more on Tax Free Shopping in the fourth quarter than they did in the same period during 2012. Spending by Kuwaiti globe shoppers rose almost as strongly, rising by 27% in the period. Both Saudi Arabian and Qatari visitors spent six per cent more in Q4 2013 than the same period during 2012.
The main beneficiaries of the spending spree were London, followed by Paris, Milan, Rome, Frankfurt, and Singapore. The Average Spend of Middle Eastern visitors is among the highest in the world.
Overall ranking in terms of Overall Spend and Average Spend in Q4 / 2013
> United Arab Emirates 10th / €783
> Kuwait 13th / €528
> Saudi Arabia 14th / €801
> Qatar 17th / €996
Middle Eastern shoppers led in spending in the UK. too. Visitors from Middle Eastern countries are also relatively few in number, but they are very high spenders. Overall Tax Free Shopping spend by residents of countries in the Middle East is up by 23% in the first 11 months of the year compared to the same period in 2012
Despite the UK receiving only about 150,000 Chinese visitors in 2013 (France receives more than a million), growth in Tax Free Shopping has been 33% in comparison to the same period in the previous year. The UK government recently said it wanted to attract 650,000 Chinese visitors by 2020.
Although starting from a much lower base, the growth in Tax Free Shopping by visitors from Thailand is even more pronounced, with sales up 48% on the corresponding period last year. Taken as a whole, visitors from The Middle East now account for 27% of UK Tax Free Shopping spend, while Chinese visitors account for 22%.