A few days after Global Blue Singapore hosted an industry event to address the APAC region’s highly dynamic travel and retail industry landscape, Jan Moller, Global Blue Country Managing Director in Singapore, comes back on the island city’s unique retail situation and gives us more insights on the future challenges to harness.

1.Which factors have influenced Tax Free ShoppingA number of countries offer VAT/GST refunds to international... More (TFS) performance during 2017?

After a challenging 2016, we see a continued growth in arrivals into Singapore, with a positive impact on spend across all sectors. The January to September period showed a +5% increase of TFS sales transactions in comparison with the previous year and our projection for the next five months is positive. More favourable travel patterns, particularly from Chinese and Indonesian consumers, have been the main driver of this recent improved performance.

As with most Asian markets, Chinese are the largest Globe Shopper group in Singapore and consumer confidence in China has meant growth throughout the year. While 2016 performance was largely driven by travellers from Chinese Tier 2 and 3 cities, the return of higher-spending visitors from Chinese Tier 1 cities in 2017 has helped increase average spendRefers to average value of a transaction (usually applying t... More after two years of declining spend. Singapore also remains a stronghold for visitors from neighbouring markets like Indonesia and Malaysia.

2.How can Singapore retain its status as the region’s shopping hub?

Singapore remains the premier retail destination in South Asia, however recent years have seen increased competition from other destinations across the region, such as Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. While we still see a healthy pipeline of brands investing in the city, including recent flagship store openings from Gucci, Apple and Uniqlo, there is recognition that we need to do more to ensure we remain attractive to international visitors.

The good news is that the Singapore Tourism Board, retail associations and malls are investing in new initiatives to revamp Singapore as a tourist destination. With retail at their heart, these schemes focus on experience, strongly supporting new local designers, events and new digital campaigns to differentiate Singapore and attract shoppers.

3.How can partners better serve Globe Shoppers?

We work closely with our merchant partners, but also with retail associations and government departments, to help them to understand the behaviour of Globe Shoppers. Singapore is one of Global Blue’s leading markets when it comes to data and intelligence needs, and our insights are helping them to make better decisions when it comes to allocating their marketing spend and win the loyalty of new customers.

We are also continuing to digitalise and personalise the Globe Shopper‘Globe Shopper’ is a term coined by Global Blue to descr... More journey, with the upcoming launch of innovative new services, such as Mobile Customer CareMobile Customer Care (MCC) is a digital innovation from Glob... More. These services will ensure our partners are able to offer the very best TFS experience to their customers.