Spending by Chinese Tourists Is Shifting from Shopping to Experiences

on October 13 2014 | in Travel Trends | by | with No Comments

tourists, Chinese tourists, Chinese luxury travelers,

With more than 100 million Chinese tourists set to spend over $100 billion abroad this year, spending habits are shifting from material goods to categories such as entertainment, dining, and accommodations, as evidenced by the recent spending for Golden Week.

According to a new study by UnionPay, spending on dining and hotels rose 52.2 percent year-on-year during Golden Week from October 1st through 7th. Spending on entertainment and leisure activities rose 56.6 percent, while spending on shopping rose 30 percent, reports China Daily.

In total, spending by outbound Chinese travelers during Golden Week grew 9 percent year-on-year, and total transactions rose 36 percent.

“The data show that outbound Chinese consumers are focusing more on what they gain from their travel experiences instead of what they buy at their destinations. This shift shows a heightened awareness of ‘quality time’ during their holidays,” said Chen Han, a data analyst at China UnionPay.

The biggest beneficiary of the spending surge has been South Korea, attracting 160,000 Chinese tourists during the holiday, up 40,000 from last year. Their spending was up 111 percent compared to last year.

One restaurant manager in Seoul, Kim Joon Hee, said, “In the past, shopping was the top priority for Chinese visitors to the city, but now they want to savor fine dining and experience Korean food as a part of their travel experience, rather than merely shopping at duty-free stores.”

Other countries also saw spending by Chinese rise considerably including Germany (102 percent), the United Arab Emirates (88 percent), New Zealand and Spain (87 percent), and Australia (83 percent). The United States saw only a 64 percent rise.

Spending on dining saw the most growth in Taiwan, Switzerland, and Australia. Thailand and the United States led the way in the growth of entertainment and recreation spending by Chinese.

In 2003, spending by Chinese travelers accounted for only 1 percent of the global market. By 2023, Chinese outbound tourists are expected to account for 20 percent of the market.

image credit: flickr/linh nguyen

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