Watches and jewellery dominate spending by Elite shoppers in the UK


Tax free shopping expert Global Blue has discovered that a cohort of what it calls elite shoppers spend on average €55,000 per year as they travel the world’s hottest retail destinations.

Elite shoppers visiting the UK  spend an average of €35,000, the highest average spend of all European countries.


Global Blue found that the UK is the second most popular destination for international elite, with 31% shopping here in an average year. France topped the list, with a 36% share of the Elite shopper traffic in 2019.

Elite shoppers account for 24% of all tax free shopping spend in UK, versus a global average of 17%.

The current Coronavirus crisis will have top end retailers sweating, because the importance of wealthy Chinese travellers cannot be overstated. They account for 40% of the global total of Elite shoppers, miles ahead of people from South East Asia at 15%, the Gulf countries at 14%, USA at 6% and Russia at 6%.

However, visitors to the UK from the Gulf make up a higher proportion of Elite shoppers in the UK (30% compared to Chinese at 27%).

Global Blue does not mention individual stores such as Harrods and Selfridges in its report, but the research does find that Elite shoppers in the UK make 85% of their purchases in department stores.

A mighty 46% of Department Store spend is made on watches and  jewellery, with only 25% on fashion items.

“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,” says Derrick Hardman, managing director of Global Blue UK.

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