Bangkok ranks in the top 20 for international retail
In May, the real estate consultant firm JLL released a report entitled ‘The Destination Retail 2016’ and for the first time it provided a global ranking of 140 cities by their appeal to cross-border, or international, retailers. Bangkok came in at a healthy 18th spot.
It would probably be no surprise that London ranks as the most popular, ahead of Hong Kong. Bangkok ranked ahead of Las Vegas but well behind other Asian cities such as Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing, Taipei, Osaka and Tokyo, all of which are in the top 10.
With strong tourist numbers and rising incomes at home, Bangkok has proven attractive to many international brands, from Pull & Bear to Zara Home and Tiffany & Co to Victoria’s Secret among many others.
The report noted the Ratchaprasong area as Bangkok’s retail centre, with the Skytrain as the key feature enabling consumers to access the area with a degree of ease.
The Ratchaprasong area is home to 11 large-scale shopping centres, including Siam Paragon, Siam Square One and CentralWorld.
It is expected Bangkok will not just continue to hold down a top-20 global position into the future, but is likely to enhance its ranking following the completion of a string of new shopping malls, located away from the city centre, as well as a number of renovations of existing complexes.
EmQuartier, Central Westgate and CentralFestival EastVille are all new additions which are proving attractive to international brands. The successful Asiatique The Riverfront and renovation of Siam Discovery, as well as the opening of the HaHa Market will also continue to keep Bangkok as a serious international retailer destination.
Just how far up the international retail ladder Bangkok is able to climb over the next few years is anybody’s guess. Continued strong tourism numbers, especially from the burgeoning Chinese middle class should help, and as long as the local middle class is able to keep their incomes rising steadily there is no reason Bangkok cannot gain further ground.
Nonetheless, Bangkok faces serious competition within the Asia-Pacific region with Hong Kong being used by international retailers as a springboard into China, despite the slowdown in the Chinese economy. Shanghai, which ranks sixth, is also likely to rise in coming years as it poses a real rivalry to Hong Kong.
Japan, with a weakened yen, has seen some remarkable growth in recent years with international visitor numbers jumping a whopping 47 percent last year, helping propel Tokyo to fourth place on the JLL ladder.