Fashion-conscious travelers from China and across Asia are spending big at McArthurGlen’s 20 Designer Outlet centres located across Europe, with Chinese visitors poised to become the most prolific spenders in 2015. Total tax-free sales at McArthurGlen Designer Outlets reached a record high in 2014, reflecting a more than quadrupling of sales to international travelers over the past four years. Impressive sales growth was seen from Chinese shoppers, up 36%, and from Korean travelers, whose spending increased 32%.
The projections for future Chinese spending overseas are staggering. In 2014, 109 million Chinese tourists spent US$164 billion worldwide, while 174 million Chinese tourists are tipped to spend $264 billion annually by 2019, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
These upward global spending figures are being reflected in sales at McArthurGlen’s Designer Outlets. In 2014, Chinese shoppers accounted for 25% of total tax-free sales, ranking second overall behind Russian travelers (29%). Korean visitors ranked third, with 5% of total tax-free sales. In 2015, Chinese visitors will likely overtake Russian tourists as the number one international spender.
To facilitate the increased interest by Chinese travelers in shopping at McArthurGlen Designer Outlets, the company has increased its digital engagement with consumers in China. A dedicated page is about to be launched on social media channel WeChat, and McArthurGlen also re-launched its Sino-Weibo page. In addition, the McArthurGlen App and The Guide is available in 12 languages, including Chinese.
Anthony Rippingale, McArthurGlen’s Head of Tourism, says: “Our sales to international shopping tourists are increasing twice as fast as for overall tax-free retail sales in Europe. We are noticing particularly impressive growth from Korea and China, whose shoppers rank first and second for average transaction value for international visitors."
Across all international shopping markets, the most popular McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in 2014 for tax-free shopping were: Serravalle (near Milan), Roermond (near Düsseldorf, Germany), Parndorf (Vienna), Noventa di Piave (Venice) and Castel Romano (Rome).
This year, McArthurGlen will further expand its portfolio with the launch of a new phase at the Neumunster, Germany, centre in autumn, and the opening of a new centre in Vancouver, the first outside Europe in June 2015. The latter will be of special interest to Chinese shoppers after the announcement of the new 10-year Canada visa plan for Chinese guests was announced in March.