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Established 1996
Sunday 08 December 2019


Payments Awards 2019

Asia Pacific tourists boost European retailers

Written by Hannah McGrath

Tourists from the Asia Pacific region gave a much-needed boost to European retailers in the first quarter of 2019, according to data from Planet.

The payments firm found that Europe’s shopper market made a slow recovery in the last quarter, with consumers from China and Vietnam leading the field.

Overall, international shoppers from across all markets spend an average of 3.7 times more than domestic European shoppers, with Asia Pacific the only region to experience a quarter-on-quarter increase in its index score.

Index scores for regions and individual countries are calculated by combining Tax Free sales data with key economic measures including inflation, GDP growth and currency movement.

The study found that Vietnamese shoppers are catching up with Chinese consumers in terms of purchasing power, with an average purchase of €902 compared to the average €801 for a Chinese shopper, as an economic slowdown and trade tensions with the US take their toll on consumer confidence.

Planet facilitates VAT refunds for international shoppers – an indicator widely seen as an accurate proxy for the purchasing power of source markets and retail strength of destination markets.

The report also stated that the possibility of the UK leaving the EU’s customs union after a Brexit transition period could open Britain up to an additional 24 million arrivals of tourists from EU nations, representing a 187 per cent increase in the number of eligible Tax Free shopping tourists to the UK.

It also stated: “While spending power abroad is increasing for Asia Pacific shoppers, in order for the UK to harness the significant potential of international shopper spend, Planet believes that the government must upgrade and modernise its Tax Refund Systems – creating a 100 per cent digital system that is efficient, economical and user friendly.”

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