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- 7 Mar 2013
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2012: The Year the Russians Invaded Western European Retail

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Christian Dior Flagship, via Montenapoleone, Milan


Simon O’Connell, Analyst at Global Blue, explains why 2012 was the year when Russian tourists became a dominant source market in Western Europe

For many Western European countries, 2012 was the year when Russian tourists became, if not the dominant source market, then certainly one of the most important source markets, rivalling even the Germans and British.

Russians have become a major source of income for Italian retailers, and now the same is true for Spain as well. In 2012 Russian tourists spent more than €1.5bn in Spain, which had 750,000 Russian visitors last year.

Turkey is a favourite sun destination for Russians, but 2012 saw a massive increase of 40% in the numbers of holidaymakers visiting the country, to around 1.8 million. 20% more Russian holidaymakers visited Greece during 2012, around 900,000.


 Russians have become a major source of income for Italian retailers, the same is now true for Spain 


Russian tourists are increasingly looking beyond sun and sand destinations such as Turkey, Greece, and Egypt, and countries including Germany are benefitting. Tour operators report a jump of around 20% in Russian tourists visiting Germany to around 760,000.

In the first half of 2012 Russians made 334,600 visits to Germany (up from 324,400 last year), and as a result Germany is now one of the five most popular destinations.

396,600 Russian tourists visited Austria between January and October 2012, an increase of 17.8%. The number of Russians visiting Italy on organised tours in 2012 is estimated at 666,000, a rise of around 15%. Cyprus received 25% more Russians in 2012, with the total number of tourists approximately 640,000.


 Tourism across Europe is booming partly because visas for the Schengen zone are being issued in more Russian cities 


Tourism across Europe is booming partly because visas for the Schengen zone are being issued in more and more Russian cities by more countries including Slovakia, Austria, and Poland.

Few Russians dare to travel without tour operators: according to polls, only 5% of Internet users in Russia buy tickets or accommodation online.

Russian tourism rose strongly in 2012, but the rise in Tax Free Shopping was even higher, indicating that those Russians who are travelling overseas are making even more tax free purchases, and also spending more in total, than they were in the corresponding period in 2011.

Russians’ Number of Transactions was up by 45% in October 2012, 18% in November, and 28% in December.


 In the fourth quarter 2012 Russian visitors were the highest spenders in Milanese stores 


Russians and Italians share a love of ‘La Dolce Vita’, and once again in the fourth quarter 2012 Russian visitors were the highest spenders in Milanese stores, posting impressive gains of 49% in October, 70% in November, and 18% in December over the corresponding month in 2011.

Ukraine’s presence in Milan’s Top 6 nations of globe shoppers during both October and December demonstrates it is not just Russians who have an affinity with Italian fashion. Sales to Ukrainian visitors were up by 24% in October and 16% in December over the previous year.

Russians are even more important to Roman retailers than they are to Milanese, posting sales increases of more than 50% in each month during the final quarter of 2012: up by 54% in October, 57% in November, and by 51% in comparison to the corresponding month in 2011.





To further investigate the Russian luxury market on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

- Must Know Russian Luxury Brands
- A Quick Look at Luxury in the BRICs
- Which Nationalities Are Spending What Where: Global Blue


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Global Blue is the world’s biggest publisher of free tourist shopping guides and one of the world’s leading suppliers of pre-journey tourist marketing services and tourist shopping intelligence services.

global-blue.com
luxurysociety.com/global-blue