British high streets are set for a boom from Far Eastern travellers as rising disposable incomes in China leave its growing population with more money for travel and shopping.
Three quarters of Chinese consumers in the UK have bought at least one luxury item worth more than £500 in the past year, while 21pc have purchased three or four and 18pc have splashed out on five or more – and a large chunk of these shoppers intend to spend more.
46pc of respondents said they plan to increase their luxury spending in the UK over the next year, according to a survey of almost 2,000 Chinese consumers by the marketing agency Wei Consulting.
Disposable income per capita in China rose 7pc to a record high of 28,844 yuan last year, reaching significantly higher levels in more prosperous cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.
This has left Chinese consumers with heavier purses to spend on travel, with the number of outbound tourists from China surpassing 100m for the first time last year, reaching 107m.
That is expected to grow to 174m by 2019, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The UK–which is among the top 10 most popular destinations for Chinese tourists – is in a strong position to capitalise on the wanderlust of China's wealthy.
The Government recently relaxed certain visa restrictions for Chinese travellers following pressure from UK plc. However, prominent business leaders such as IAG boss Willie Walsh have said that these measures have not been "radical" enough.
A recent report from duty-free payments service found that Chinese shoppers account for a fifth of all tax-free spend in the West End, with an average transaction of £1,450.