Tax free shopping expert, Global Blue, has released the findings of its first ‘International Elite Shopper’ study, which highlights how big a share each country gets from the world’s wealthiest shoppers.

According to the study, released at the Walpole Luxury Summit 2020, elite shoppers travel approximately three times a year and spend a total annual average of €55,000 (£46.5K) across 12 different transactions.

Moreover, those who visit the UK spend an average of €35,000 (£29.6K) in its stores. This is the highest average spend of all European countries.


The United Kingdom is the second most popular destination for international elite shoppers (31%) in the world. This is just behind France, which took a 36% share of the elite shopper traffic last year.

Other findings reveal that Chinese shoppers account for the largest number of elite shoppers globally, at nearly 40%. This is followed by South East Asia at 15%, the Gulf Countries at 14%, the USA at 6% and Russia at 6%.

Howeber, it is a different picture in the UK, where visitors from the Gulf Countries make up 30% of the number of elite shoppers, with Greater China second at 27%.

For elite shoppers from the Gulf Countries, the UK is their preferred travel destination; 75% will visit this country alone and spend approximately 14 days here, compared to an average duration of just three days in France or Italy.

Interestingly, elite shoppers make 85% of their purchases in department stores, with 46% of spend going towards jewellery and watches.

Managing director of Global Blue UK, Derrick Hardman, shares: “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.”