Chinese travelers spending more but shopping share down
18 July 2017

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A new report by UK-based travel intelligence provider Moodie Davitt indicates that although total travel spend by Chinese international tourists rose by 3.5% in 2016 vs. 2015, the share of that spend allocated to shopping dropped from 41% to 33%.

In the same timeframe, shopping as a travel motivator dropped from #2 to trail sightseeing, recreation and entertainment.

The decline in shopping spend is believed to result largely from a decrease in shopping for resale, for which share of spend dropped from 8% in 2015 to 3% in 2016. Shopping for others also lost share of spend - down from 14% to 12% - as did Shopping for self - down from 20% to 18%.

Underlying causes of the shift away from shopping spend may include:

  • Wide-ranging social and economic changes in China, leading to changes in travel destinations and behaviors
  • Shift of spend toward more meaningful experiences: dining, cultural events, sports
  • Increased availability and variety of products available for sale inside China, reducing the need to shop overseas
  • Rising incomes in China: travelers whose #1 motivation is shopping are generally from lower income brackets than those who consider overseas shopping less important
  • Domestic travel is on the rise in China - twice as many survey respondents said they had taken a trip within China in 2016 vs. 2015 - and there's much less interest in shopping, and more price-consciousness, when traveling domestically.
  • Increasing incidence of long-haul travel causes expenditures for airfare, accommodation, dining and entertainment to increase, leaving less money available for shopping.

Findings are based on the results of a survey of 2000 Chinese travelers.

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