Spending by Chinese continues to rise at luxury shopping outlets across Europe

Stylish travelers from China and across Asia are spending big at designer outlet centers located across Europe.

Spending by Chinese continues to rise at luxury shopping outlets across Europe

Stylish travelers from China and across Asia are spending big at designer outlet centers located across Europe. Total tax-free sales by Chinese shoppers rose 270% in the past two years (2012 and 2013). Chinese visitors now account for more than 20% of all tax-free sales at designer outlets, and they spend eight times more than the average shopper – a figure that rises to a factor of 10 at the flagship Italian centres. Shoppers from South East Asia and South Korea also recorded impressive sales growth last year.

Chinese luxury shoppers also hit the stores during a special promotion to celebrate the 2014 Spring Festival Golden Week Holiday. Tax-free sales at 20 European outlets increased by nearly 50% during February 2014, and a total of more than 3,400 specially created Chinese New Year red envelopes and 2,200 tote bags were redeemed.

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Shopping for fashion items is the most popular holiday activity after sightseeing, and visiting museums and art galleries, according to a McArthurGlen survey of Chinese travelers in Europe. Around one in three Chinese tourists visiting Europe over a 12-month period, rising to two-thirds when considering just those who went shopping for fashion, visited a designer outlet village. The brand mix is the most important factor for choosing an outlet center, together with customer service and accessibility, and a desirable shopping atmosphere.

New trends are also emerging. Previously, most visitors from China arrived from Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, but increasing numbers are now traveling to the centers in Europe from second-tier Chinese cities, where incomes have been rising and interest in designer labels is strong. This greater dispersion of shopping tourist source markets is also a noticeable trend from other emerging Asian markets.

In addition to big spending by Chinese visitors, travelers from South East Asia and South Korea are proving to be avid luxury shoppers. In 2013, visitors from Thailand spent 52% more at designer outlets than in 2012, while Malaysian spending increased 48%. Indonesian travelers spent 23% more last year, closely followed by Singapore (up 22%) and South Korea (up 18%).

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