Tourists have flocked to the UK to profit from the weak pound and buy luxury goods. Purchases by international tourists, which account for nearly one third of world luxury goods sales, continued to slump in August, though at a slower rate than before thanks to a massive rebound in the UK. Their purchases last month jumped up by 36% compared to the same period last year.
The recent terrorist attacks have heavily affected France, the top tourist destination in Europe. Foreign tourist purchases there have continued to plummet in August and purchases by Chinese customers, who account for approximately 40% of the world luxury goods market, have once again decreased, falling by 14.6% in August after a -25.6% in July. The Chinese are very sensitive about security issues and have increased their domestic expenditure, but not enough to make up for the decline in purchases abroad.
The figures published by Global Blue do not take into account purchases made in the USA, Hong Kong and Dubai, where tax-free operations do not exist. The decrease is still above 10% in Hong Kong, once the most profitable city for luxury goods. The Chinese are now rushing to South Korea (+31% in August), which they regard as especially attractive in terms of shopping experience and range of brands, and they are turning their backs on Japan (-36%) owing to the yen’s appreciation.