Despite the global slump, Thailand ranks sixth in the world for duty-free shopping, with spending last quarter spurting 38 per cent ahead of last year - the fastest growth of all countries, according to Global Blue, a leading duty-free operator.
The top five shoppers are China, Russia, Indonesia, the United States and Malaysia.
Chart Chirathivat, managing director of Central Embassy, a shopping complex due to open in central Bangkok late this year, said yesterday that Asians – especially Chinese, Indonesians, Malaysians and Thais – are among the biggest spenders, citing tax-refund statistics from Global Blue.
Thai shoppers are in focus because of the increase in their spending. The data show that there has been a shift in shopping from Asian short-haul trips to long-haul, more luxurious expeditions to Europe, and Paris in particular.
Chinese tourists remain the top tax-free spenders, up 20 per cent from the first quarter of last year, and more of them are travelling overseas. Their numbers are expanding by 17 per cent.
The survey found that younger people were inclined to spend more on travelling and searching for new experiences. The groups with big purchasing power are the following:
Recession Resistant: A+ Asian shoppers
New Sophisticates: New generation with high educational background, enthusiastic and energetic, value independent thinking, usually trend-setters, especially in such countries as China, India and Indonesia.
Young Guns: New generation in Asia aged 20-40 with A-class purchasing power
Young Executives: Professionals aged 25-44, third generation of influential families.
Chart said these tourists travelled for new experiences and definitely shopping.
This goes in line with the strategy that Central Embassy has developed to attract these tourists to come to Bangkok for shopping.
“The opening of Central Embassy is not only to introduce a new shopping complex but also to bring in new luxury lifestyles to Asia, build up a new landmark of Bangkok and welcome new groups of tourists to come and shop in the country, especially the Asian luxury travellers from China, Malaysia, Indonesia and India,” he said.