BRIC shoppers vital to future European travel

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Written by Kevin Rozario
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 04:26

Shopping is forecast to be the main growth driver for inbound tourism to Europe between 2012 and 2016, with BRIC markets (Brazil, Russian, India and China) taking up the slack in a period when arrivals growth is falling.


According to the annual Global Trends Report – researched by Euromonitor International and released yesterday by World Travel Market at the London-based travel trade show – growth in tourist arrivals is set to decline next year to +2.7% from +3.0% this year and +4.8% in 2011.


Euromonitor says: “Concerns about economic instability in the Eurozone continue to impact tourism demand… leading to a regional slowdown. Limited growth is expected for 2013 (and) countries are therefore increasingly looking to BRICs to boost arrivals and spending.”


However, if the forecast from the Global Trends Report is correct, inbound tourism from BRIC markets will record the sharpest growth in Europe, registering a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of +5% and +10% between 2012 and 2016. Meanwhile, the European Travel Commission estimates that Chinese visitors to Europe reserve one third of their holiday budget for shopping.


Duty free and travel retail operators, as well as department stores and outlet malls, should benefit from the BRIC’s ‘grand shopping tour of Europe’ with France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the UK witnessing the strongest gains in BRIC arrivals.




However, competition is likely to get tougher. Euromonitor says: “Brands like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Prada, Galeries Lafayettes, Printemps, Harrods, La Rinascente, McArthurGlen and Value Retail are tapping into this growing market (with) highly-specialised tours emerging.”


For example, Grand Hotel de Bordeaux enables BRICs to visit a region, shop at local luxury brand outlets and visit vineyards and food manufacturers. “Most Chinese tourists consider shopping for luxury goods the main purpose of a trip to France,” comments Xiao Qianhui, General Manager of Shanghai-based travel agency Spring International.


Not surprisingly, Paris is the top shopping destination for all BRICs – one reason why Charles de Gaulle’s new S4 satellite is geared to luxury brands – but London, Frankfurt, Milan and Madrid are all competing for BRIC shoppers says the report.


As well as recruiting multilingual staff and offering payment services that BRIC passengers are used to such as China UnionPay, some department stores have also developed mobile apps in Russian and Mandarin.  They are also working more closely with tour operators to be included in BRIC shopping itineraries. The report suggests that 95% of Chinese visitors to Louis Vuitton stores in Paris are on organised tours.

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