Shopping tourism attracts 2.1 million foreigners to Italy

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Italy, a land of shopping for foreign tourists. This is the choice made by approximately 2.1 million visitors from abroad (+7% on 2019) during 2023. Three nationalities stand out: German, American and British who together spent 7.7 billion. As regards daily spending, the ranking changes: in first place are the Japanese with 265 euros followed by the Swiss (207 euros) and Americans (171). Amounts significantly higher than the 131 euros of average spending. If we then analyze the trends relating to August 2023 on the same month of the previous year, there is a +9% average growth in visitor spending which becomes +30% in the case of those arriving from non-EU countries. Because the desire for shopping is growing rapidly among those who visit the Bel Paese. These are some of the data presented during the sixth edition of Shopping Tourism – the Italian forum organized by Rispetti Turismo in partnership with Enit and in collaboration with the Confcommercio System.

Driving force for Made in Italy

«Tourism linked to shopping allows us to amplify the full value of Made in Italy – says Ivana Jelinic, president and CEO of ENIT -. Harmonizing the tourist offer with products that are representations of the image of Italy is an act of awareness of Italian exclusivity and of all the creative, productive and artistic expressions of our Peninsula. We have the duty to spread this image on the international scene in the best possible way, also by offering integrated packages with the wonders of the Italian lifestyle that translate into concrete products.” Between shopping streets, department stores and outlet villages in 2025 we will reach close to one hundred, making Italy a top destination among those who travel to go shopping. Confirmation comes from the growth in tax-free spending in continental Europe which marks +15% compared to the pre-pandemic. «The data on tax-free spending between January and November 2023 – explains Denise Bolandrina, Marketing sales director Italy at Global Blue – tangibly highlights Italy’s appeal as a destination for luxury shopping tourism. In this segment, the recovery of tax-free spending reached 124% compared to 2019, driven by the significant increase in the average receipt (+21%). The recovery was driven by the new mix of nationalities, thanks above all to tourists from the United States and the Gulf countries, who contribute 26% and 11% of total luxury tax free shopping.” Among the top spenders are Americans (+250%) and Arabs from the Gulf countries (+170%) while Chinese spending in October saw -52% compared to the same month in 2019. Thus the tax-free spending of Americans and Arabs has more than doubled compared to that of 2019 and their average receipts are increasing: 2,900 euros (+38%) for Americans and 4,200 euros (+26%) for Arabs. Finally, the younger international travelers belonging to generation Z are growing: in this group we find 22% of Arab shoppers and 15% of American ones. The wait is for the definitive return of the Chinese shopper, already in a moderate recovery phase: today his recovery in tax-free spending on luxury products is 44%. But what do Americans want to buy? A survey highlights how they consider Rome, Milan, Naples, Venice and Florence among the cities as ideal shopping destinations and that 91% would not give up purchasing Italian products: above all gastronomy, at 53% among the type of product that Americans would “absolutely” buy, followed by fashion items. Furthermore, 80% have already visited or say they are interested in visiting the artisans and companies with typical products.

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