Retailers set their sights on Thailand for luxury goods boost
Global Blue reveal Thailand is on course to ignite sales across the UK luxury goods industry.
Growth in spend by these brand conscious shoppers has soared by 68 per cent YTD [January-May 2013] overtaking the Chinese at 39 per cent as the fastest growing international shopper market this year. Visits to the UK from Thai travelers totalled 65,000 in the most recent figures from 2011, up 1 per cent over the past five years.
Nearly a fifth of all spend by Thai tourists in the UK is now being spent on leather and travel accessories, up 73 per cent y-o-y. London and its’ luxury department stores are a key shopping attraction for Thai shoppers with 55 per cent of UK visits taking place in London.
With spend soaring by 24 per cent in 2012, Global Blue reveal the UK is now the number one destination for outbound travel by Thai tourists, spending on average £762 per transaction – up 22 per cent y-o-y. A recent burst in travel by Thai tourists comes as a result of a growing middle-class as the growth in the Chinese economy continues to have a ripple effect on South East Asian territories including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Gordon Clark, UK Country Manager at Global Blue, says: ‘It is becoming apparent that the relentless boom in outbound travel and spending by Chinese citizens is inspiring a new consumer confidence in other emerging economies, most notably Thailand. As our Tax Free Spend Index demonstrates from Jan-May 2013, Thai spend has increased as much as 68 per cent y-o-y and that visitors are spending on average £762 per transaction in store, a 22 per cent increase from last year. Capital cities such as Bangkok are already established in showcasing both local and foreign brands, but it is the cache for buying British at UK flagship stores which is at the forefront of the drive to look further afield. In particular, we are seeing that Thai travellers like to purchase leather and travel accessories, as sales in these goods has rocketed 73 per cent from previous years”.
Harrods Spokesperson says: “Harrods has seen a marked increase in the number of Thai customers visiting the store with these shoppers becoming amongst our most prominent international visitors. Their shopping patterns are similar to the Chinese with a desire for well-known superbrands including Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes. Fashion accessories, perfume and cosmetics are amongst the best selling product categories however menswear is becoming increasingly important.”
New West End Company is responsible for the management and promotion of Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, as well as 22 connecting West End streets. Its director Jace Tyrrell says: “Across the West End we are seeing unprecedented growth in spend from Thai shoppers, as their taste for luxury becomes more sophisticated. With growth so far this year overtaking the Chinese, Thailand is the next market to watch. Our retailers are making plans to capitalise on this opportunity, providing the world class welcome that London’s West End is famed for. Stores are now offering cultural training and hiring Thai speaking staff to create the ultimate shopping experience.”