Oct 11, 2018
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UK was top destination for China's Golden Week, Bicester Village was key

Oct 11, 2018

Golden Week seems to  have been a golden opportunity for UK retail with new figures from Alibaba’s Alipay showing that the UK was the top shopping hotspot in Europe between October 1 and 7, up from second place last year.

Chinese shoppers flocked to the UK during Golden Week

Last year Germany had been in top spot, followed by the UK, then France and Italy. This time, with the UK at number one, France was second followed by Germany and Italy. And the UAE came fifth.

Golden Week is a Chinese national holiday which traditionally sees millions of tourists travelling abroad and spending heavily.

The figures show that total transaction volume in the UK during Golden Week 2018 more than tripled year-on-year (up 3.5%) and Britain accounted for 15% of Chinese tourist Golden Week spend across all of the EMEA region.

Shoppers using Alipay in the UK each spent an average of £281, which is higher than the global average of £220.

And it's clear that shopping is a major focus for Chinese tourists given that Buckingham Palace may have been the top UK tourist stop, but Bicester village was the second most visited destination.

And the Chinese shoppers who went there spent 50% more at that location than anywhere else in the UK. For this Golden Week, Alipay partnered with a number of retailers to develop specific marketing tactics tailored to Chinese shoppers and to enable retailers to embrace mobile payments.

And that clearly paid off at Bicester Village where half of the stores (including Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Prada and Polo Ralph Lauren) became ‘Alipay-enabled’. This made Bicester the number one outlet in the world in terms of total spending value during the event. And it also ranked third in global transaction volume during the Chinese national holiday. 

Unsurprisingly, Chinatown in London is also a popular destination and it accounted for 7.5% of all Alipay transactions in the UK during Golden Week.

It's particularly interesting that while we associate the use of technology-based payment systems with younger consumers, Alipay’s data also proves mobile payments are popular with older consumers too. The number of overseas Alipay users in their 50s doubled during Golden Week 2018 compared to last year.

Head of Alipay EMEA Roland Palmer said: “Europe is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination for Chinese consumers. We have seen strong growth in spend increases during this year’s Golden Week, particularly in France, Italy, the UK and Germany.

“The UK is performing really well in the region and coming first in Europe this year in terms of number of transactions is very encouraging for local retailers.”

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