Visitors from the Middle East have been the biggest spenders per shopper in the UK so far this year, accounting for 26% of total tax-free spend in the UK.
According to a report from tax-free shopping company Global Blue, international spend by shoppers from the Middle East was up 17% for the six months to July 31, with Qatar and Kuwait leading the way with year-on-year growth of 29% and 28% respectively.
For a Middle Eastern shopper, the average spend per transaction was £794, yet Qatari shoppers spent almost double that, with an average of £1,423.
Gordon Clark, UK country manager of Global Blue, said Middle Eastern shoppers are coming to the UK for designer brands.
Clark said stores were capitalising on the spending power of Middle East customers by offering later store opening hours and female Arabic speaking staff, measures which “all help to drive spend in the UK”.