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The world’s wealthiest shoppers – also known as ‘elite shoppers’ – are spending an average of 35,000 euros in UK stores, the highest average spend of all European countries, new research reveals.

Those same shoppers are spending an average of 55,000 euros during an average of three international trips per year and across 12 different transactions, according to the International Elite Shopper study by tax-free shopping expert Global Blue.

The UK comes second in terms of the most popular shopping destination worldwide for elite Shoppers, taking a 31 percent share of their traffic, beaten only by France with 36 percent. They also account for 24 percent of all tax-free shopping spend in the UK, versus a global average of 17 percent.

Globally, Chinese shoppers account for the largest number of elite shoppers, at almost 40 percent, followed by South East Asia at 15 percent, the Gulf Countries at 14 percent, and the US and Russia both at 6 percent.

In the UK, visitors from the Gulf Countries make up 30 percent of elite shoppers, with Greater China second at 27 percent. Elite shoppers from the Gulf Countries favour the UK as their preferred travel destination, with 75 percent visiting the country alone and spending approximately 14 days there, compared to an average duration of just three days in France or Italy.

They also prefer to shop at department stores, where they make 85 percent of their purchases. Global Blue referred to them as ‘Department Store Advocates’, with 46 percent of them spending on watches and jewellery, and 25 percent on fashion items.

The UK – and especially London – has long been a hotspot for global luxury shoppers. In November, London’s New Bond Street was named the most expensive street in Europe and the third most expensive street in the world in terms of rent space, behind Causeway Bay in Hong Kong and Upper 5th Avenue in New York.

Derrick Hardman, managing director of Global Blue UK, said in a statement: “The elite shopper represents an important opportunity for UK stores, especially in the context of today’s retail challenges. Understanding how this audience behaves and what they value in the British shopping experience is key. With our detailed and unique insights, we support local retailers to help them benefit from this valuable market.”

Photo: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton, New Bond Street store

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