The rise and rise of the international shopper

26 January 2015

The rise and rise of the international shopper

Tax-free sales at McArthurGlen’s 20 Designer Outlets across Europe reached a record high last year, reflecting a more than quadrupling of sales to international travellers over the past four years.

Particularly strong sales’ growth was seen from Chinese shoppers – with a 36% increase – as well as from fashion-loving travellers from Korea and Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia).

With McArthurGlen’s centres preparing to welcome a record number of shoppers for the 2015 Chinese New Year festivities (with special promotions at 14 of the Group’s Designer Outlets over a three-week period which started on 7 February), the Group is heading to break new records in 2015.

Anthony Rippingale, McArthurGlen’s Head of Tourism, says: “Our sales to international shopping tourists are increasing twice as fast as for overall tax-free retail sales in Europe".

“We look to understand the needs of our international shopping audience: to offer them the most sought-after brand names, all under one roof, in a premium shopping environment, near key city destination, and to offer them an experience relevant to them. ”

The record sales were achieved despite the general fall-off in Russian tourists visiting Europe, with the Russians remaining the No 1 shopper for McArthurGlen, followed by the fast-approaching Chinese and then the Koreans.

In 2014 sales to Korean shoppers rose 32%. Koreans are particularly fond of travelling and shopping during their festive period of Thanksgiving Day, which takes place in September. This is the nationality that also has the highest average transactional value of shoppers with McArthurGlen.

Last year also saw a 20% rise in sales from Southeast Asian shoppers, with even greater levels of growth expected in 2015. This follows the opening of a McArthurGlen sales & marketing office in 2014.

The rise of the international tourist shopping at designer outlets is by no means strictly an Asian phenomenon, with a 35% growth from the Middle Eastern market last year.

Anthony continues: “To meet the expectations of international travellers, we work very closely with our global network of sales & marketing representatives and travel & tourism partners.”

The company is also growing its digital engagement with international travellers.  For the Chinese market, for example, McArthurGlen has launched a page on China’s fast-growing WeChat app as well as relaunching its Sino-Weibo page, while the McArthurGlen App, The Guide, is available in 12 languages, including Chinese, Korean, Russian and Brazilian Portuguese. 

Across all international shopping markets the most popular McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in 2014 for tax-free shopping were: Serravalle (near Milan), Roermond (near Düsseldorf, Germany), Parndorf (Vienna), Noventa di Piave (Venice) and Castel Romano (Rome).

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