Wealthy Chinese tourists have gone on a major Christmas shopping spree in London and have been dubbed “Peking Pound” by the Daily Mail.
The Chinese are expected “to spend a billion pounds on luxury goods during the sales and have accounted for almost a third of post-Christmas purchases of high end goods such as Burberry, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton and Gucci,” reports the Mail.
Generally part of organized tours, wealthy Chinese tourists are a huge market for stores in London’s West End (Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Piccadilly). Chinese shoppers have edged out Russian, Arab, and Japanese tourists as the top buyers, accounting for 30 percent of the luxury goods market, while British shoppers only account for 15 percent of the market.
To accommodate the upsurge of Chinese travelers, many West End stores have Mandarin speaking assistants and Selfridges even started accepting China UnionPay cards, China’s only domestic credit card.
Selfridges processed 10,000 transactions an hour with the department store looking like the ‘Great Mall of China’, according to an onlooker.
Almost 2.5 million Chinese visited Europe this year, up 20% from 2009 and their spending doubled according to consulting firm Tourism Economics and shopping specialists Global Blue. Britain is attractive as the pound has fallen by around 30 percent against the Chinese yuan.
In Burberry’s London stores, Chinese shoppers make up a third of its customers and they are the fastest-growing group of customers for luxury label Mulberry.
photo credit: travel junction