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Brexit tourists inject Christmas cheer into high-street sales

Friday, January 13, 2017
  • High street spending on non-UK cards up 22% year on year*
  • Tourists worth £725 million** to UK shops in December
  • Department stores rake in an extra 35%* from tourists over Christmas period

Foreign visitors spent over £725 million** on British high-streets in December, as the weakened pound prompted an influx of bargain hunting ‘Brexit tourists’ to the UK over the Christmas period. 

According to the latest transaction data from payments processor Worldpay, spending on foreign cards was up by a massive 22% year on year* in December, with total spend on non-UK cards over the month worth an extra £130** million to high street retailers compared to 2015.

High-end boutiques and department stores in London’s West End were among the biggest beneficiaries from tourist spend over the Christmas period, with foreign tourists shelling out an extra 35%* in these stores compared to the previous year. Outside of London, retailers in Manchester and Edinburgh saw year on year spending by tourists rise by 19% and 24% respectively in December*. 

James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, said: “Bricks and mortar retailers have not had things all their own way this Christmas, with the latest reports suggesting UK consumers are increasingly doing the bulk of their shopping online. So the influx of free-spending tourists we saw in December will have been a welcome boost for retailers looking to balance the books.” 

Worldpay found visitors from Hong Kong were among the most eager bargain hunters, spending an extra 69%* in UK stores during December compared to 2015. Spending on Chinese cards was up by 24%*, while traditionally big-spending visitors from the UAE spent an extra 31%*. Meanwhile the amount spent by French and German tourists during the festive period was up by 14%*.

James Frost continued: “UK retail centres, including London’s West End, are a magnet for visitors from all over the world, made all the more attractive by the bargains on offer as a result of the weakened pound. High-street retailers must now seize the moment to consolidate their global standing by investing in technologies to help them deliver the quality, experience, choice and convenience which will keep tourists spending.”

-ENDS-

About the data
*Analysis of non-UK card transactions processed by Worldpay in December 2016 compared to the same period in 2015
**Calculation is based on the assumption that total sales processed by Worldpay in December 2016 equate to 40% of total card transactions over that period

About Worldpay: 
Worldpay is a leading payments company with global reach. We provide an extensive range of technology-led payment products and services to over 400,000 customers, enabling their businesses to grow and prosper. We manage the increasing complexity of the payments landscape for our customers, allowing them to accept the widest range of payment types around the world. Using our network and technology, we are able to process payments from geographies covering 99% of global GDP, across 146 countries and 126 currencies.  We help our customers to accept more than 300 different payment types.

Worldpay UK has more than 40% market share in the UK and helps businesses of all sizes sell more to their customers by accepting card payments in-store, online, via mail or telephone, and on the move. www.worldpay.com/uk
For more information please contact:

Harry Ronaldson, Golin: T + 44 (0) 20 7067 0144
Angela Woodward, Worldpay:  T: +44 (0)203 664 2605