This week in the news, U.K. hoteliers want to serve Chinese tourists better, experts offer their tips for foreign brands entering China, the China Luxury Forecast examines the differences between mainland Chinese and Hong Kong travelers, Anna Wintour travels to Beijing to promote the Met’s new China-focused costume exhibit, and Chinese luxury shoppers are more confident than ever shopping online.
With new visa rules making it easier for Chinese tourists to visit the United Kingdom, it is now more important than ever for hotels in Britain to cater to Chinese travelers. The value of Chinese tourists to the U.K. is huge with a market already worth £1.4 billion. In fact, the average Chinese visitor spends £3,500 in Harrods on average per person per visit. In order to capture a piece of this spending, knowledge of the Chinese traveler is a necessity. Chinese outbound tourists can be split into two segments, those that travel as part of a tour group and those that travel independently. Because independent travel for Chinese tourists is a rather new phenomenon, they haven’t formed affinities for specific British hotels yet, which has created new opportunities for savvy hoteliers.
It’s no secret that China has become a “must” market for retailers. But successful expansion into this market presents some serious challenges for foreign brands, and establishing a Chinese presence can be a big undertaking. Some leading China retail experts offered these “words of wisdom” on entering the Chinese market: 1. Get started in Shanghai. Establishing a strong “concept store” or flagship is a crucial step in entering the market. Andrew Wyles Waterman, chairman of China Retail Group, notes, “If you’re not willing to maintain your concept store as a marketing expense without expecting a profit for a couple of years at least, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.” 2. Establish your presence slowly with an eye toward market longevity. 3. Secure all necessary licenses.
With consumers from greater China willing to spend more on travel than any other luxury category in the coming year, the China Luxury Forecast by Ruder Finn and Ipsos has revealed key differences between luxury travelers from mainland China and Hong Kong. Mainland Chinese outbound tourists were projected to take more than 110 million outbound trips in 2014. In 2013, nearly 100 million mainland outbound tourists spent $117.3 abroad, spending an average of around $1,206 each, which accounted for nearly 40 percent of luxury goods sales. Of those surveyed for the China Luxury Forecast, 50 percent of mainland Chinese respondents said they would spend more on travel in the coming year, while 45 percent said their spending would stay the same.
Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour returned to Beijing for the first time since 2010 to promote the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2015 Anna Wintour Costume Center exhibition, “China: Through the Looking Glass.” The exhibit will investigate the impact of Chinese art and film on Western designers. Not only does the Met hope to receive more Chinese donations, which are already sizable, but the trip also gave the museum a chance to secure original Chinese pieces for the show. Hangzhou’s National Silk Museum may lend a Chinese-made silk dressing gown that was originally sold at Liberty’s of London, and the Palace Museum may lend a court robe belonging to China’s last emperor, Puyi, to the exhibit.
Of mainland Chinese and Hong Kong consumers, 57 percent and 54 percent respectively responded that they were more confident in online luxury shopping over the last 12 months. Only 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively, were less confident. However, the vast majority of customers from both the mainland and Hong Kong, 78 percent and 81 percent, prefer to visit physical stores before deciding to make a purchase. When shopping online, Hong Kong customers have different concerns than their mainland counterparts. Mainland consumers were more concerned with service and trust in the products, whereas Hong Kong shoppers were more concerned with the “overall professionalism of the website.”
image source: flickr/frédéric poirot