By Damian Reilly
Chinese have overtaken Russians as largest luxury buyers, says Colm McLoughlin
Dubai Duty Free will finish 2010 with sales of $1.25bn – or $3.4m a day – CEO Colm McLoughlin has told Arabian Business.
He said last year the company saw sales of $1.14bn.
“Our top ten selling categories have not changed dramatically since last year, but what is very evident is the fact that there has been a good solid return in the ‘luxury’ categories, which had dipped slightly last year,” he said.
Perfume sales accounted for $127m, he added, followed by liquor ($123m) and gold ($96m).
“We have seen particular spikes in spend from our Asia Pacific passengers and the Chinese passengers in particular are an important and growing group. It is fair to say that the Chinese have probably overtaken the Russian passenger in spend. Like the Russians, the Chinese are looking for high-end luxury products, in particular in watches and fashion and they enjoy great savings on these compared to their domestic market,” he said.
He added that in 2010, 42 percent of passengers passing through Dubai airport parted with money in one of the duty free shops. The average spend was more than $40.
“There is definitely greater consumer confidence, although the Western travellers in general are still understandably cautious and may opt for an ‘affordable luxury’ as opposed to a major purchase,” he said.
Dubai Duty Free maybe cheaper than domestic Chinese and Russian markets but it is still over-priced compared to traditionally expensive western markets. As an example, I just purchased a Canon 5D Mk II digital SLR camera on my recent trip. Price in Dubai Duty Free = AED 9,999 (same as other outlets in Dubai). Price at Dixons Duty Free in Heathrow = AED 8,770.
What surprised me is that the UK price was even cheaper than the cheapest store in New York.You can guess where I spent my money - and it wasn't at Dubai Duty Free.