Differentiating Chinese Luxury Travelers and Their Preferences

on June 24 2013 | in Travel Trends | by | with No Comments

Beijing, airport, Chinese travelers, China

The global travel industry has been doing everything they can to appeal to China’s luxury travelers. The key to success is to know their habits and preferences. How do you know what Chinese travelers prefer? Find out where they are from.

ILTM Asia and the Hurun Report joined forces to produce their third comprehensive study, The Chinese Luxury Traveler (2013),  which “attempts to calculate the number of Chinese luxury travelers, evaluates their consumption patterns, travel habits as well as key market trends over the last year,” Hurun says. Using B2B data of domestic travel agencies and international hotels from ILTM’s database, ILTM Asia and Hurun have been able to offer one of the more complete portraits of China’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs).

Most interestingly, it explores Chinese consumers’ preferences based on the cities they live in. The Chinese Luxury Traveler finds interesting differences between first and second/third tier cities in these categories:

Travel and Leisure

ILTM and Hurun asked one hundred HNWIs about their travel habits from the period of March and April 2013. Eighty percent of those surveyed were male, and their average age was 37. Both first and second/third tier HNWIs list France, the US, and Singapore as their top three destination choices, respectively.

First tier

The frequency of trips for residents of first tier cities is just slightly higher than the national average of 2.8 trips per year. Interesting differences occurred between Shanghai and Beijing HNWIs.

Shanghai still prefers France and the US, but Japan is their third choice and Korea is in 7th.  Those two countries didn’t make it into the top ten list for Chinese outbound tourism more generally.

Beijing, on the other hand, likes New Zealand – it’s 8th on the list of most popular destinations for Beijing HNWIs – while that nation doesn’t even crack the Top 10 list for Shanghai. Beijing HNWIs generally tends to prefer destinations in Western Europe.

Second/third tier

The differences between first tier HNWIs and second/third tier HNWIs are more subtle, The Chinese Luxury Traveler says. Larger, more established travel spots are still favored here. Preference for traveling within the US is relatively high (36 percent) compared to those in first tier cities.

There was not much difference between the Top 5 leisure activities pursued by HNWIs in first and second/third tier cities. Going to spas and wine tasting were more popular for first tier cities, as were yoga, tennis, and horseback riding. In second/third tier cities, skiing was very popular.


The report says that the biggest motivation for HNWIs to shop while traveling is gift-giving. The ideal gifts for men overall are considered to be a watch (28 percent) and red wine (26 percent). Jewelry is the first-choice gift for women followed by clothing, but men reported more comfort in buying jewelry for women, whereas women tend to buy clothing for other women.

First tier

Jewelry is also the top gift among first tier HNWIs.

Second/third tier

HNWIs in second- and third-tier cities list gift cards as their preferred gift. Travel packages are also picking up popularity as gifts for men and women.


A large majority of HNWIs surveyed (80 percent) believed that children should study overseas; the average age to send their children was 17. There is a preference to have children educated in English-speaking countries, but Switzerland and France are also gaining popularity.

First tier

HNWIs in first-tier cities picked the US as their number one destination for overseas learning. New Zealand, which was once quite popular, has fallen significantly: it occupied the number one spot in 2011, and is now ranked 10th.

Second/third tier

The UK is the first choice among HNWIs in second- and third-tier cities.




photo credit: chris

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

« »

Get Your Copy of the June 2015 China Consumer & Retail Monthly

Follow Us

Daily Updates By Email

Latest Posts

Scroll to top