UK is second most popular shopping destination worldwide for elite shoppers, study shows


Tax Free Shopping expert Global Blue has announced the findings of its first International Elite Shopper study at the Walpole Luxury Summit 2020, which was held in London’s Mayfair. The study provides insights into the spending patterns and consumer behaviours of the world’s wealthiest international shoppers.

Elite shoppers travel approximately three times a year and spend a total annual average of €55,000 across 12 different transactions. Those who visit the UK spend an average of €35,000 in its stores. This is the highest average spend of all European countries.

UK is top destination for elite shoppers

The United Kingdom is the second most popular destination for international Elite shoppers (31%) in the world. This is just behind France, which took a 36% share of the Elite shopper traffic last year. Elite shoppers account for 24% of all Tax Free Shopping spend in UK, versus a global average of 17%.

British department stores are major draw to elite shoppers from Gulf

Chinese shoppers account for the largest number of Elite shoppers globally, at nearly 40%. This is followed by South East Asia at 15%, the Gulf Countries at 14%, USA at 6% and Russia at 6%.

Still, it is a different picture in the UK, where visitors from the Gulf Countries make up 30% of the number of Elite shoppers, with Greater China second at 27%.

For Elite shoppers from the Gulf Countries, the UK is their preferred travel destination; 75% will visit this country alone and spend approximately 14 days here, compared to an average duration of just three days in France or Italy.

With these shoppers making 85% of their purchases in department stores, they are ‘Department Store Advocates’ according to Global Blue’s customer profiling. 46% of Department Store Advocate spend is made on watches & jewellery and 25% on fashion items.

Derrick Hardman, managing director of Global Blue UK, says: “The Elite shopper represents an important opportunity for UK stores, especially in the context of today’s retail challenges. Understanding how this audience behaves and what they value in the British shopping experience is key. With our detailed and unique insights, we support local retailers to help them benefit from this valuable market.”

Walpole’s luxury summit is an annual event exploring the latest consumer insights and business strategies as well as recent developments in global retail. Representatives from many luxury global brands were in attendance.