Golden Week is a Chinese national holiday which runs twice a year. The most recent week, running from the 1st to the 8th October, was a massive boost for UK retail sales. Traditionally, the holiday is a chance for Chinese citizens to celebrate in national achievements and to help boost the local economy. This October holiday was to again celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

A break from tradition

Instead of purchasing from Chinese firms, it is now proving popular for tourists to head to England for this week and then purchase goods here. This break from tradition is highly beneficial for UK retail outlets who saw a £29 million surge in sales. The payment processor Worldpay analysed sales figures from that period and has found that £11 million was spent in London alone.

It was the high-end West End boutiques which reaped much of this benefit, as well as pubs, restaurants and bars who found a 23% increase in card payments due to the Chinese tourists. However, the biggest boost came to British department stores who found that sales were up by a third compared to what they would normally expect at this time of year.

Why the UK?

The Golden Week is a longstanding tradition, however, it has been 2017 which has seen sales massively increase as a result. Flights by Chinese tourists to the UK between September and November are up by about 10%, which directly correlates with this boost in retail spending. 

The biggest reason to visit the UK is the relatively weak value of the pound compared to the Yen as a result of the Brexit vote announced last year. As such, it is the perfect opportunity for Chinese tourists to exploit this dampening value and grab some British bargains. This spike in visitors has in fact been seen all year round, and July saw over four million visitors to the UK, which is up 6% from July 2016.

The UK retail industry is no doubts overjoyed by these opportunities to boost their sales figures and make up for any difficulties since Brexit. To foreign visitors, Britain is seen to produce very high-end gifts compares to those elsewhere. With the holiday season fast approaching, the industry as a whole could hope to see this trend continue and capitalise on the chance to sell gifts to citizens from all around the world.

Wu Xing Hong Qi by Richard.Fisher licensed under Creative commons 4