Luxury retailers and brands in the UK should expect a bumper year from international shoppers, after a dampened performance in 2012 as a result of the Olympics.
Last year saw a decline in growth of spend from all of the top 12 regions represented by shoppers in the UK. For example, spend from Chinese shoppers, which in 2011 rose by around 55%, grew by a muted 21% in the Olympic year. Growth in spend by Brazilian shoppers dropped from about 57% to less than 5%.
A report compiled by tax-free shopping group Global Blue suggests “many overseas tourists chose not simply to avoid London during the Games and the Paralympics, but to avoid London for much of the year”.
Global Blue UK vice-president Richard Brown said as a result, luxury retailers in the UK should expect to see a return to 2011 levels at least.
“We forecast that the Olympics would have a negative impact on shopping, but it was a lot more significant than most people expected - tax-free shopping in August actually contracted on the previous year and all nationalities were down.
“The Olympics made the UK a no-go place for the majority of the year, which means for 2013 we are expecting a return to 30%, 40%, even 50% growth.”
If the system around Chinese visas was simplified, spending growth from that country “would be significantly higher”, he added.