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US and Indian shoppers boost luxe spend in Europe says Planet report

Published
today Oct 4, 2019
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The US may be worried about the chances of a domestic recession but travelling American shoppers are helping to boost the European retail market. US shoppers emerged as European retail’s fastest growing international market in Q2, continuing a year-long dollar-fuelled spending spree.


American tourists are among the top tax-free shoppers in the UK and Europe


That’s according to the latest Planet Shopper Index (PSI), a composite measure from the tax-free payments specialist that combines retail sales and economic data to rank the 25 most active international shopping nations in Europe.

It saw American shoppers registering the biggest score increase, putting them second in the league table behind China. It means that looming fears of a US manufacturing recession and growing threat of a trade war with China aren’t affecting spending abroad, especially as the dollar remains strong against the euro and pound.

And that really matters to luxury brands, especially those in fashion and beauty as these are among the main beneficiaries of tourist spending in the UK and Europe.

Tax-free retail sales to US shoppers have risen in double-digits for 14 months in succession, with a 15% year-on-year rise in July and growth of 30%+ earlier this year.

But Americans aren’t the only shoppers in town, of course. As mentioned, they still rank behind the Chinese, while Planet also said emerging APAC economies are driving diversification of the European retail audience. Europe saw rising spend on the part of consumers from India, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.

They helped counter slowdowns from other major luxury spenders. China may still be in the lead but its spending has slowed, as has that of Russian tourists. The American and wider APAC boom, however, helped the median score of the latest PSI to rise by three points to 98. 

Planet said Thailand saw its Index score rise by 7 compared with the previous quarter, with the Philippines and Indonesia up by 4 and 3 points respectively. But India was the fastest to grow of the four with a rise of 8.

It added that the ICC Cricket World Cup, hosted in the UK this year, saw an additional 80,000 Indian nationals visit the country, with tax-free sales booming 18% in June. And Indians love luxury brands, the category accounting for 42% of spending by Indian shoppers in the UK. This is more than Chinese and Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) shoppers – traditionally seen as Europe’s biggest luxury spenders.

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