Europe update: Summer growth for most European destinations

Global Blue’s European Tax Free Shopping sales experienced double digit growth during July as Chinese and US Globe Shoppers visited the continent during the holiday season.


  • 2017 TFS spend growth continues across European markets during July, up +13% year-on-year
  • Strong year-on-year uplift in transactions (+12%) drove sales growth while average spend remained flat at +0%
  • Chinese and American Globe Shoppers showed high growth across the region, at +20% and +23% respectively calendar year-to-date

European Tax Free Shopping (TFS) spend returns double digit growth (+13% year-on-year) after a relatively slow June (+8%), as summer tourist traffic increases transactions across the region by +12%.

Key Globe Shopper groups drive growth

The summer months generally see a TFS spending peak for leading nationalities and July saw large sales-in-store growth for Chinese and US shoppers, with both nations deep into their traditional holiday periods. Chinese spend grew by +20% calendar year-to-date, supported by increases in both average spend and transactions.

American Globe Shoppers were also a strong growth engine across all European destinations year-on-year (+23% calendar year-to-date), where the increase in sales was driven largely by a rise in transactions as US shoppers visited the region for summer vacations. However, the recent softening of USD vs EUR could potentially impact spend across the Eurozone over the coming months.

Russian visitors also saw a stellar month, with sales up +32% calendar year-to-date, driven by a +37% increase in transactions.

Key markets enjoy positive summer

With positive macro drivers and a soft base for comparison against July 2016, most European markets experienced growth.

  • France returns to solid growth (+6%) in July, following a flat month in June (+0%) caused by an earlier Ramadan period. Transactions were up by +9% year-on-year as Chinese and US travellers visited the country in high numbers.
  • Spain remains Europe’s best performing key market in terms of growth, with year-on-year sales up +27% in July, thanks to the positive impact of key airline connections with Russia and China.
  • Year-on-year sales in the UK increased by +23%, driven wholly by growth in transactions as the weakness of the British pound makes the country a hugely attractive destination to Globe Shoppers.
  • German sales-in-store remain in negative growth during July (-7% year-on-year) due to a number of external factors, including shifting travel patterns among travellers from China and Hong Kong (China).

Continued growth across most spend categories

During July, European department stores saw large volume of transactions, driving a calendar year-to-date increase in transactions of +21%. Watches and jewellery sales also continue to recover after a challenging 2016, with transactions up +10% calendar year-to-date. Fashion and accessories transactions also increased by +10% calendar year-to-date.