Chinese travellers 'spend more but shop less' – new report underlines key changes in outbound market: shopping spend as a percentage of overall travel expenditure by Chinese overseas visitors fell in 2016.
Average trip spend rose +3.5% last year, the company said, but expenditure on shopping declined from 41% to 33% of trip expenditure in the same period.
The report, ‘Prepare for Turbulence: The Chinese Traveler of Today and Tomorrow’, reveals that shopping dropped from the second-biggest motivation for travelling to third, behind sightseeing, recreation and entertainment.
The decline was mainly driven by decreased shopping for resale – the so-called ‘daigou’ market – which fell from 8% to 3% year-on-year.
“However, the rising numbers don’t automatically translate into boosts for travel-related businesses. China is a dynamic, developing country undergoing a wide-ranging social and economic transformation, which is changing how people travel, where they go, and what they do on holiday.
As the archetypal Chinese traveller disappears, businesses need to adapt, which means understanding the subtleties and diversities of tourists’ preferences and motivations.
Pressence on Chinese Platforms Necessary
“For a decade, outbound Chinese travellers have been the wind beneath the wings of industries, including air travel, hospitality, department stores and luxury goods,” wrote Oliver Wyman Partner and author of the report Hunter Williams. “Every year sees more outbound Chinese travellers than the last, with the number expected to reach 150 million as early as 2017. These travellers have gained a reputation as big spenders, and many businesses worldwide are targeting them closely.
As the Chinese travel overseas more, they are becoming more sophisticated and planning their own holidays, the report points out. Less than one in 40 holidays were mostly planned by travel agents in 2016, down from one in seven in 2015. Nearly three quarters now plan their own trips – or more than nine out of 10 including trips planned by or with travel companions.
“That means companies need to be at the forefront of travellers’ minds as they research their holidays. In shopping, for example, more than 60 percent of Chinese travellers plan ahead, relying on word of mouth, brands’ official websites, Chinese e-commerce platforms, and travel forums. Brands and stores need a presence in each of these information sources.
“Hotels should use Chinese-language platforms, as Chinese travellers rely heavily on online reviews, especially when they go overseas. TripAdvisor alone isn’t enough: customers look for reviews on Chinese-language platforms such as Mafengwo, Dianping, Tuniu, Qyer, and Lvmama – so hotels need to feature on these, as well as on the key aggregators Ctrip, Qunar, and Elong.”
Read the full report here.