Spain leads Taxfree sales growth in Europe

Continued growth in tax free sales (+18%), arrivals (+16%) and volume of forms issued (+23%)

Spain led the growth of tax free sales to non-EU tourists in the main European destinations during the month of October, according to data collected in the Planet Intelligence, prepared by the international payment service provider Planet, which highlights the growth of our country both in terms of arrivals with +16%, as in tax free sales (+18%) compared with the same period in 2018.

With these records, Spain doubles the European average of tax free sales (+8%), also surpassing the average of arrivals to the old continent by six points (+16% in Spain and +10% in Europe).

Likewise, in the case of Spain, it should be noted that the positive figures in arrivals and tax-free sales are completed by a significant increase in the volume of forms issued (+23%), largely encouraged by the good reception of the elimination of the minimum amount to refund VAT.

This extends the results obtained in September, when the countries of the southern axis formed by Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece experienced the best growth figures in Europe as a whole.

In this sense, these three countries join the good results of Spain, with Italy growing 13% in arrivals from non-EU countries and 4% in tax free sales. On the other hand, Portugal and Greece show an increase in sales of 55% and 34% respectively. GOLDEN WEEK BOOSTS SALES.

These positive records obtained on the European continent throughout the month of October are especially attributable to the influence that the Chinese buyer has in all target markets, since in October takes place one of the most expected annual milestones in target markets in the framework of shopping tourism: the ‘Golden Week’.

The holiday period par excellence in Asia has contributed to the achievement of these data in Europe, and it is throughout this festivity when Spain has once again demonstrated its dominance, being the market of the top 5 European destinations that grows more in tax free sales (+25%) in the Golden Week with respect to the previous year’s festivity, notably surpassing the European average (+8%).

Outside this ranking, Portugal deserves a special mention, as the neighbouring country registered a significant increase of 124% in sales to Chinese tourists.

The influence of Golden Week is reflected in the Spanish case especially in the section of tax free purchases of Chinese tourists, as the increase of +23% obtained in October is a peak compared with the cumulative growth so far in 2019 (6%).

The hegemony of the Asian tourist is gaining more and more strength in the destination markets. In Spain, one of the most promising emerging Asian markets is South Korea (+44% of arrivals so far this year).

According to information provided by Global Data in 2019, the South Korean market will go from 30 million trips made in 2018 to 50 million in 2023.