According to tourism experts Global Blue, Chinese shoppers are now the number one tax-free spenders in the London Luxury Quarter, a collection of 42 world famous streets and lanes in the heart of London’s prestigious West End around Mayfair, Piccadilly and St. James’s.
Mark Henderson, Chairman of London Luxury Quarter and Savile Row tailors Gieves & Hawkes, says: “Chinese shoppers make up the most significant proportion of our international customer base. The first Golden Week holiday in February this year saw a surge in Chinese visitors to the area and we are expecting record numbers for the second holiday this October. The Quarter offers a unique mix of world leading luxury brands, hotels, galleries and restaurants, catering for visitors’ taste for high end goods and unique experiences, and we are doing more than ever to ensure they are fully accommodated.”
Chinese shoppers are leading the way in the London Luxury Quarter with tax-free spending on Bond Street by Chinese nationals alone rising by almost a fifth in 2012 according to Global Blue.
Bond Street, at the heart of the Quarter, continues to be popular with Chinese tourists who are familiar with the line-up of international and British luxury brands. Spending up to £2,000 (RMB 19,000) on average per transaction, purchases made by high-net-worth Chinese tourists on Bond Street are significantly higher than the London average of £500 (RMB 4,500) per transaction.
Last year, the famed Savile Row, home to tailors Gieves & Hawkes, was ‘discovered’ by Chinese shoppers in 2012 with spend up 236% year-on-year owing to their evolving tastes for bespoke goods, craftsmanship and an appetite for British heritage. In the London Luxury Quarter specifically, China is the largest international consumer group in both the West End and on Bond Street, accounting for 16% and 28% of all sales respectively.
Bespoke Tours and Concierge Services for Chinese Visitors
With the influx of Chinese visitors, London Luxury Quarter is making the experience as easy and enticing as possible with a number of tools, tours and activities.
Chinese travellers can download the London Luxury Quarter app (English and Mandarin) on their iPhone or Android prior to visiting to help plan their trip, from the hotel they stay in to where to dine, shop and be entertained. Chinese travellers can also book small group tours in advance of visits that focus on a series of themes including tours targeted at men and women separately or a focus on fashion, art, jewellery or cuisine. One of the new tours to highlight is a private tour of the Royal Warrant Holders in the London Luxury Quarter, the stores that are officially accredited as suppliers to the Royal Household. This unique tour was created in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and 60th Anniversary of her Coronation this year.
Within the London Luxury Quarter, many of the hotels and retailers now accept Union Pay as a payment method, while many of the shops provide full Global Blue tax-free shopping services and support. Inside an increasing number of stores, Mandarin speaking staff are in place to ensure Chinese shoppers receive convenient and superior customer service.