Spending on tax free shopping fell for the first time since 2009 in the second quarter, data from duty free shopping group Global Blue showed this week.
Between April and June, total sales in France, Italy, the U.K., Germany and Singapore – which together account for three quarters of total global spending by foreign customers – dropped 3 percent on quarter in value, the data showed.
"The drops are not down to a reduction in tourist numbers, but a decrease in average spend per transaction," Global Blue said in a statement on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Russian and Chinese shoppers were the key drivers of the slump. Spending by Russian shoppers – who account for roughly 20 percent of tax free shopping worldwide – fell 18 percent in the second quarter, as the sharp devaluation in their local currency amid tensions with Ukraine, hurt consumers' ability to spend abroad.
In March, Russia moved to annex the Ukrainian region of Crimea which sparked growing unrest in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian sentiment is strong. Relations between the West and Moscow have since soured dramatically.
The rouble has weakened nearly 10 percent against the dollar year to date, as a result.
Overall duty free sales to Russian travelers decreased 24 percent in April, 22 percent in May and 19 percent in June, the data show.