Today the Chinese consumers have the greatest impact on the luxury goods market. There are a large number of Chinese who have a rapidly growing disposable income that they want to spend on luxury goods. They are the driving force behind the growth in the luxury goods market. The travel retail and luxury retail in Europe and UK are benefitting greatly by the spending of the Chinese tourists who like to shop for the European luxury brands in Europe. Michael Ward of Harrods and Joseph Wan of Harvey Nichols want more Chinese travelers in UK to give a boost to the luxury retail in UK.
UK has visa restrictions in place that restricts the number of visitors from China into the country. The bosses of high end department stores have requested their government to make it easier for Chinese to spend their money in London rather than other parts of Europe. Till four years ago the Chinese contribution to the luxury sale in Britain was small. Their share in the total spending has grown so fast in the last few years that today the total money spent by Chinese travelers in Britain is four times more than the amount spent by the American travelers.
Ward and Wan quoted the figures from Paris and Rome stores to show that they were attracting a higher number of Chinese travelers as compared to London. And it was not because they did not prefer visiting London but because there were several visa restrictions in place that discouraged them from coming to London and instead opt for other European cities. They were speaking separately on the sidelines of the Walpole Luxury Summit. Wan also talked about Harvey Nichols plans about opening their second store in Hong Kong and also exploring the possibility of opening a store in mainland China sometime in the future.