18 11 16 - European Tax Free Shopping performance for 2018 unveiled

Global Blue revealed its latest data about 2018 European Tax Free Shopping progression during the Annual Altagamma Luxury Observatory Conference in Milan on November 15th

Tax Free spend dynamic across Europe

The Annual Altagamma Luxury Observatory Conference was the occasion for Global Blue to present Tax Free Shopping performance in Europe. From 2011 to 2018, Tax Free Shopping in Europe has been one of the key drivers of growth for the luxury industry, with an average growth of 7%.

From January to September 2018, Tax Free spend dynamic slowed down on the back of reduced transaction numbers in Europe (-8%) and Sales in Store decrease (-6%) compared to the same period in 2017. Macro-economic factors contribute to this Tax Free Shopping activity decrease, including unfavourable foreign exchange rates, with a strong euro compared to the US dollar and Chinese RMB. But despite a lower number of transactions, the average spend per transaction has increased by +2% compared to the same period in 2017.

The “French exception” – with the Millennials as one of the key growth engine

Several major European countries report the same Sales in Store decrease from January to September 2018 compared to the same period the year before. Indeed, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain report a -8% decrease in their Tax Free spend.

Yet, France is the only European country in which showing a positive progression at +1% of its Tax Free spend over the first nine months of 2018. This progression can be explained by a larger number of Elite and Frequent shoppers prioritising a visit to France.

Chinese globe shoppers remain the first nationality

Upon closer look at nationalities over the first nine months of 2018, Global blue showed contrasting results. Although Chinese globe shoppers’ spend slowed down by -4% compared to 2017, they remained of the best performing nationality for the Tax Free Shopping market, representing 29% of total Tax Free spend in Europe. In parallel, Europe continues to be an attractive shopping destination for Gulf Countries nationalities who represent 11% of total Tax Free spend, before Russians at 8%. 

Please see here for the full press release