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Christmas sales to international shoppers to outperform in UK says Planet

Published
today Dec 4, 2019
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Sales to international shoppers are predicted to continue to outperform sales to locals in the UK following a strong performance in the first 10 months of this year, according to data from VAT-reclaim specialist Planet.


International shoppers outspend locals



Last year, sales to international shoppers added up to almost £7 billion in the UK and those shoppers (or at least those from outside the EU who claim back the VAT on their purchases) spend almost four times more than domestic consumers do. Some retailers see up to 60% of their sales coming from non-domestic customers.

Last year, sales to international shoppers were worth 13.8% of UK textile, clothing and footwear store sales — or around £6.8 billion. 

Planet said that in the first 10 months of this year, sales to international shoppers have grown by 6%, and this is before the usual Christmas spending spree. Chinese and US shoppers in particular are expected to “flock to the UK”. They’re most interested in buying clothing (23% of sales), watches and jewellery (10%), and bags and luggage (3%).

“The purchasing power of international shoppers is growing and provides a huge opportunity for retailers – particularly in major shopping areas. Customer experience is the key to tapping into this source of revenue and attracting these shoppers to brick-and-mortar stores,” said David Perrotta, UK Country Manager of Planet.

He added that tourists are looking for experiences that complement the brands they visit and that cultural awareness is key. The company said its data shows that cultural training of shop floor staff can lead to a 10%-20% increase in sales to international shoppers. 

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