Malaysia targets luxe shoppers as retail spend soars

With shopping now a bigger driver of tourist spend than ever before in Malaysia, a luxury-dedicated component of the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival was last week inaugurated by luxury retailer The Melium Group, in partnership with Tourism Malaysia and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.

Abdul Ghaffar Thambi, secretary-general, Tourism and Culture Ministry, said: “In 2015, for the first time, shopping became the main tourist expenditure at 31.3 per cent, overtaking the share for spending on accommodation. This trend continued into 2016 with tourist expenditure on shopping taking up a share of 31.7 per cent.

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

“We are also seeing an increase in the amount spent by tourists for shopping. In 2016, tourists spent RM26 billion (US$6.1 billion) on shopping, up 20.3 per cent from RM21.6 billion the previous year.”

Based on a report on the Tourist Refund Scheme, 43 per cent of tourist expenditure in Malaysia is on watches and jewellery, both considered luxury items. Chinese tourists are the largest spenders on these items, followed by Singaporeans, Indonesians, Indians and Bangladeshis.

Beyond the Malaysia Mega Sale – Luxury Shopping Experience, Tourism Malaysia intends to attract big spenders in Singapore, Indonesia, India, the Middle East and Bangladesh through in-market tactical campaigns.

President of The Melium Group, Farah Khan, said: “Our aim in supporting the government’s effort in the Malaysia Mega Sale launch is to engage with the luxury tourism market segment and ensure that Kuala Lumpur is well-positioned as the next global market opportunity for luxury brands.

“With our duty-free status, we can capitalise on the luxury tourist shoppers market as luxury brand prices in Malaysia are within an average of 25 per cent lower than in other countries, and with the GST refund our luxury brands prices are more attractive.”

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