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Chinese tourists top European spend

Chinese tourists in Europe spent an average of €868 (£761) per purchase in the first quarter of 2019, making them the biggest international spenders so far this year.

The Planet Shopper Index compares international shopper activity across Europe’s retail destinations. It found that Chinese tourists also made the most purchases in terms of sales volume, followed by Russia in second place and the US in third. However, US tourists spent an average of €647 (£566) per transaction, compared with Russians’ €526 (£460). Planet Shopper said Russia is making a comeback as “one of Europe’s most prolific luxury shopping nations”.

Inflation fell from 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 2.6% in the first quarter of 2019 in Russia, giving consumers more international spending power. Average transaction value increased from €519 (£454) to €526 over the same period.

This is despite overall international shopper activity in the EU falling “slightly” compared with the previous quarter.

Payment service provider Planet said this was a result of the strengthening of sterling, which “depressed” purchasing power among visiting nations’ shoppers.

UK country manager David Perrotta added: “The first quarter of the year is often a quiet period, as shoppers and their wallets recover after a particularly expensive final quarter of the year.

“Despite a slowdown in the first quarter, Planet intelligence data points to strong gains for the European retail sector in the second quarter.

“Our data revealed that Europe-wide sales to international shoppers grew by 11% year on year in April – the highest figure in 22 months.

“The situation in the UK was even more positive, with April growth of 15%.”

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