UK is missing out on a Tax Free recovery


Emerging Communications


Mar 18, 2024

Figures released by shopping tax refund company Global Blue show that other European countries are well back on track for beating pre-pandemic shopping levels.

Tax-free shopping is back and better than before, hitting 141% of its 2019 numbers, Global Blue reports. This comeback is thanks in large part to Chinese tourists.

Global Blue’s data shows a massive increase in February, with worldwide tax-free shopping reaching levels higher than before the pandemic. Europe and Asia-Pacific are where most of this shopping is happening.

In Asia-Pacific, places like Japan and Singapore (which now lets Chinese visitors in without a visa) are seeing a big rise in tax-free shopping revenues. In February, Chinese tourists spent almost as much as they did back in 2019, showing they’re travelling and shopping abroad like before.

Yearly growth numbers are impressive. Chinese tourists have increased their tax-free shopping by 222% in Europe and an even more impressive 350% in Asia-Pacific.

This jump in shopping without tax shows that people are ready to buy luxury items and travel internationally again, rediscovering the excitement of shopping for goods abroad.

UK retailers were disappointed that tax-free shopping wasn’t re-introduced in the recent budget, as weak domestic demand leaves them little to work with.