Thailand is the latest country to bolster British retailers, as the country overtakes China as the fastest growing international shopper market so far this year.
Thai spend by tourists visiting the UK rose 68% from January to May, while Chinese spend grew 39%.
Although Thai spend starts from a lower base, it still represents a significant contribution, with the average transaction reaching £762 – up 22% year-on-year. Luxury department stores are a key attraction, with 55% of visitors heading to London.
Retail tourism business Global Blue said the rise came as a result of the country’s growing middle-class, and came alongside similar growth in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Global Blue’s UK country manager Gordon Clark said: ‘It is becoming apparent that the relentless boom in outbound travel and spending by Chinese citizens is inspiring a new consumer confidence in other emerging economies, most notably Thailand.”
A spokesperson at Harrods said Thai shoppers were now “amongst our most prominent international visitors”.
They added: “Their shopping patterns are similar to the Chinese with a desire for well-known superbrands including Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes.”
New West End Company director Jace Tyrrell said: “Thailand is the next market to watch.”