Retailers are enjoying a golden week sales bonanza during China’s Spring Festival, according to new research by WorldPay, the UK’s market leader in payment processing. The festival began on 1 February the day after the start of the Chinese New Year, as Chinese tourists flock to the UK in search of bargains and tax free shopping.
WorldPay’s forecast for Chinese retail spend is based on analysis from the last Golden Week (1-7 October 2013) which saw an increase of 20% on card payments from Chinese shoppers in search of British heritage and luxury brands like Burberry and Barbour, where prices can be up to 30% more expensive back home. The last Golden Week saw an average sale value of £115.84, a marked increase when compared to an average sale value of £93.72 in December 2013.
”The number of payments WorldPay processed from Chinese shoppers increased by over 10% year-on-year from 2012 to 2013.” said Dave Hobday, managing director of WorldPay UK. “Retailers need to up their game when it comes to welcoming international shoppers. Simple things like letting them pay using the card they want to, like China UnionPay, can make a huge difference to the whole shopping experience”.
According to the China Tourism Academy, some 200m Chinese nationals will travel abroad annually by 2020. Retailers can expect the country’s wealthiest to come to London to shop for luxury goods — handbags, shoes and watches. The UK China Visa Alliance states that 284,000 visitor visas were issued in China from October 2012 to September 2013, a 40% increase from the same period in the previous year.
According to WorldPay, it’s not just London businesses that can benefit. Outside London, Northern Ireland and Manchester were ranked in the top five UK shopping destinations, with Stoke-on-Trent seeing a 42% growth in transaction volumes in this area.
WorldPay said it is championing the need to make the UK a more attractive and rewarding destination for International consumers, having joined the UK Chinese Visa Alliance (UKCVA) at the end of 2013 to continue to support how the UKCVA look at practical ways of achieving significant improvements in Chinese visitor numbers to the UK, in a way that retains the robustness of the UK visa system.