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Asia update: Slow Chinese sales drives slow Asian performance

In Asia, a number of negative macroeconomic factors are maintaining a less than positive trading environment across key Tax Free Shopping (TFS) markets. Global Blue has seen a slight improvement against last month’s TFS performance, but the market outlook remains broadly flat for Asia in the short to medium term

November is usually a quiet period for Asian travel and TFS sales performance reflected this, with sales down -7% year-on-year (YoY). This is largely driven by a -6% decrease in the average spend, however November also saw transaction volume down -1%.

The Japanese yen softened in line with global markets, helping TFS sales growth within the country. Although Sales in Store (SiS) were down by -8% on October’s figures, the volume of Tax Free transactions increased by +11% as FX movement made the destination more desirable to overseas shoppers.

Chinese TFS appetite for spend remains flat

The -6%  decrease in average spend in Asia can in part be attributed to FX fluctuations during November, which created an unfavorable environment for Chinese globe shoppers. The recent CNY devaluation, meant shopping in became less and less affordable for Chinese shoppers and while transactions were up by +4% month to date (MTD), this was offset by a -4% drop in average spend.

November also saw growth in Chinese air arrivals slow for the first time this year, while domestically, the slowdown of the economy, combined with a concerted effort from Chinese policy makers to bring retail business back to China, has further reduced appetite for foreign purchases and dragged down TFS sales performance.

From other nationalities, Global Blue has seen the biggest MTD sales declines this month from Hong Kong (down -33%) and Taiwan (-22%), closely following trends for October. However, Japan posted growth of +15% as the strong yen gave Japanese globe shoppers extra purchasing power when travelling within the region.

Global Blue takeouts:

• Despite a slight improvement on October figures, macroeconomic factors created a challenging environment for Asian Tax Free Shopping markets in November.

• Currency fluctuations, domestic legislation and changing demographics of outbound travellers all influenced Chinese spend patterns within the region.

• Challenging average spend levels are likely to remain for the coming months if macro headwinds remain stable. 


Global Blue corporate data reporting includes Tax Free Shopping (TFS) transactions from our key TFS destination markets across EMEA, Asia and Americas, where more than 24 months of back data is available. Global Blue data points referenced within our corporate content may vary from other third party reports that publish our data, due to different parameters set by these third parties.