Wealthy tourists have spent 4% more in London’s West End shops in the first four months of 2015 compared to the same period last year.
A report by Global Blue, a company that helps tourists avoid tax on their purchases, says that Chinese visitors spend more collectively than any other nationality, but average transactions are biggest from Qataris.
Chinese spending rose by 9% in the January-April period, and now accounts for one pound in every five spent on tax-free goods tracked by Global Blue. On Regent Street, home to luxury watch stores Watches of Switzerland, Omega and Mappin & Webb, Chinese spending rocketed by 129%.
Hong Kong tourists, which are counted separately to Chinese, accounted for an additional 4% of spending.
Luxury watch stores are rolling out the red carpet for these tourist shoppers, but the platinum service should be reserved for Qataris, who average £1906 per transaction when they shop. Their collective spending rose 12% this year. Their neighbours from Saudi Arabia grew their total spend by 28%.
With temperatures already over 40C in the Gulf, and the holy month of Ramadan expected to begin in under three weeks, the West End will be bracing for even more good news in June.