- Don-Alvin Adegeest |
Brexit uncertainty, increased transatlantic tariffs and unforeseeable trading futures means British businesses must be on the offensive to seize export opportunities. This week Walpole, the official sector body for UK luxury, organised a delegation of 18 British luxury brands to travel to New York to build long-term relationships and drive export opportunities.
The delegation is led by Michael Ward, Chairman of Walpole and MD Harrods, Walpole’s CEO Helen Brocklebank and Director of Corporate Affairs and International. The four-day mission to New York spans a series of events designed to strengthen trade and investment ties between the UK and US by promoting business and media relationships.
The American opportunity
America is one of the largest and most important luxury markets in the world valued at 78 billion dollars with 35 percent of that value attributable to New York (Source: Bain, September 2019). The US is the second largest export market for British luxury behind Europe with 23 percent of the UK’s exported high-end goods destined for North America (Source: Walpole and Frontier Economics: Economic Impact Study June 2019). At a time when the UK seeks to capitalise on its export capabilities, 75 percent of British luxury brands have identified the US as their priority export growth market.
The transatlantic trading relationship for the British luxury sector is more valuable than ever before, with key revenue drivers including luxury goods on sale in the United States and American tourists visiting the UK. While some British luxury brands are focused on expanding their businesses in the US through exports, the UK’s top hotel and hospitality businesses have their sights on the growing numbers of US tourists visiting the UK. From January-September this year, US tourists coming to the UK were the fastest growing visitor group, up 33 percent on the same period last year (Source: Global Blue). According to data from Visit Britain, almost 3.9 million Americans visited the UK in 2018 spending a total 3.4 billion pounds making the US the most valuable source market for visitor spending.
Helen Brocklebank, CEO, Walpole commented in a statement: “British luxury exports over 9 billion pounds of goods annually to the US and as the UK looks beyond its borders into its future global trading relationships, high-end British brands’ success at doing business overseas will be more important than ever. The US offers a huge growth opportunity for British luxury and the appetite of the US customer for our brands and services grows every year. I’m hugely excited about returning to New York to show the creativity and innovation that typifies luxury in the UK, and to fly the flag for Britain for US visitors thinking of making a trip here.”
The British luxury brands that are participating in this year’s trade mission are: Belmond, Chapel Down, Cookson Adventure, Corinthia Hotel London, Cowdray, Harrods, Heathrow VIP, JJ Corry, Johnston’s of Elgin, Kathryn Sargent, Lock & Co, London Sock Company, Molton Brown, MOU London, Sabina Savage, Savoy, Rapport London and Richard Brendon.
Image source: Walpole website