The annual World Forum of Department Stores, held in Tokyo on 6 and 7 June, was the occasion for Global Blue to unveil exclusive data on global trends in Tax Free Shopping in department stores over the past five years.
The performance of Tax Free Shopping in department stores reached an impressive 21 % in the TCAC (Compound Annual Growth Rate) in the last five years, much higher than the rest of the market, which stands at 9 %. The APAC region (Japan and Singapore) presents itself as the region that has contributed most to this impressive growth, with 47 % in TCAC in the last five years, compared to the European department stores, France and Italy, whose performance stands at 7 %.
A closer analysis of the mix of nationalities shows that the Chinese are the main drivers of Tax Free Shopping performance in department stores, both in the APAC region and in Europe. However, their expenditure on Tax Free Shopping represents 76% of the performance of department stores in the APAC area (with a 31% increase over last year) while, compared to Europe, it falls to less than a third.
In Europe, buyers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar) are responsible for a quarter of the department store results. However, the Americans are the only nationality that last year saw its Tax Free Shopping spending increase by 5%.
In both Europe and the APAC area, the combined spending of regular and elite shoppers accounts for more than 40 % of total spending on Tax Free Shopping in department stores. International buyers of the millennial generation also contribute greatly to the performance of department stores. They account for more than a third of all Globe Shoppers visiting department stores in Europe and half of those buying in APAC stores. Their spending has also grown considerably in the last twelve months: 33 % in Europe and 49 % in the APAC area.
Greg Gelhaus, head of Asia Pacific at Global Blue, reminded the audience of the ongoing support Global Blue offers by providing specific solutions to department store problems: “Global Blue offers department stores a variety of solutions that impact three key growth levers: increase economic performance through solutions that increase sales to international buyers; improve customer travel through personalized services for international buyers; and increase operational efficiency through faster and more efficient Tax Free Shopping processes.