China's Spring Festival predicted to boost UK retail sales by 20 percent

Tuesday, 04 February 2014

UK retailers are poised to enjoy a favorable week of sales, thanks to the Chinese Spring Festival celebrations occurring this week, according to new research published by WorldPay, global provider of payment and risk services. A 20 percent increase in spending is predicted to take place this week, with emphasis on big spending at luxury fashion brands and designer labels.

The festival traditionally begins on February 1, after the beginning of the Chinese New Year as Chinese tourists go on vacation in foreign countries to enjoy some time off and tax-free shopping excursions. The UK China Visa Alliance indicates that 284,000 visitor visas were distributed in China from October 2012 to September 2013, a 40 percent increase from the same period from the year before.

WorldPay has based its predictions on analysis from last year's Chinese Golden Week, which witnessed a 20 percent raise on card payments issued by Chinese shoppers. The majority of the Chinese consumers were eager to purchase luxury labels and British heritage brands such a Burberry, as the prices from such fashion houses are up to 30 percent more expensive in China. Last year's Golden Week reported an average sale value of 115.84 pounds, an increase when compared to the average sale value of 93.72 pounds in December.

"The number of payments WorldPay processed from Chinese shoppers increased by over 10 percent year-on-year from 2012 to 2013," commented Dave Hobday, managing director of WorldPay in the UK. "Retailers need to up their game when it comes to welcoming international shoppers. Simple things like letting them pay using the card they want to, like China UnionPay, can make a huge difference to the whole shopping experience," concludes Hobday.

Cities outside of London can benefit this week from a sales surge as well, according to WorldPay data. Beyond London, Northern Ireland and Manchester were listed in the top five UK shopping destinations, with Stoke-on-Trent witnessing a 42 percent increase in transaction amounts. The China Tourism Academy has also predicted that 200 million Chinese tourists will be traveling abroad on an annual basis by 2020, and stress that British retailers can expect some of the richest patrons to visit London in search of luxury and designers goods.

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