LONDON — The international shopper is growing ever more fickle against a backdrop of heightened terrorist alerts in Europe and abroad.
Confirming a trend already flagged by Burberry and Compagnie Financière Richemont SA earlier this month, Global Blue reported that tourism spending slowed in the month of December.
According to Global Blue data analyzed by Barclays, spending rose 7.9 percent year-on-year, compared with 21.5 percent in November. October, by comparison, was weak.
December was the 17th consecutive month of growth, and Barclays said the figures were not as weak as it had expected, considering the December result included the slowdown of traffic in Europe following the Paris attacks in mid-November.
Overall, 2015 global spending ended with 25.7 percent growth, compared with 4.3 percent in 2014, and 10.1 percent in 2013.
In December, Chinese tourism slowed to 13.8 percent following a 40 percent uptick in November. The Chinese ended the year with 57.3 percent growth in spend.
Russian spending continued to decline in December, albeit at a slower pace. It was minus 12.2 percent in the month, compared with minus 30.5 percent in November.
Russians ended the year with a 36.6 percent decline in spending, compared with minus 16.8 percent in 2014, and plus 13.2 percent in 2013.
Spending in Europe in December slowed down to 10.4 percent after November’s 14.5 percent gain.
It was a better than expected figure, Barclays said, considering many operators pointed out that tourist traffic into Europe was down immediately after the Paris attacks.
The region ended the year up 21 percent, compared with 1.9 percent in 2014, and 10.3 percent in 2013.
Watches and jewelry were the strongest categories in December, notching a 19.5 percent uptick in growth after a “very weak” October of minus 7.4 percent, and a November rebound of 13.3 percent growth.
In December, leather goods were up 14.1 percent globally, and 18 percent in November, with fashion and clothing weaker at 5.8 percent in December, compared with 11.6 percent in November.
Earlier this month Burberry and Compagnie Financière Richemont both flagged uneven tourist patterns as a drag on sales in the three months to Dec. 31, the same day that a busy shopping district in Jakarta, Indonesia, was attacked by terrorists linked to ISIS.
The patchy pattern of tourist spend in Europe looks set to continue.
International travel warnings remain in place, with an alert for U.S. citizens lasting until Feb. 24. French fashion’s governing body said it was working with police to step up security in light of the men’s wear shows, which ended Sunday, and the Haute Couture shows which are currently taking place.