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Study: Chinese luxury tourist spending in Europe

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It is a well- known fact that Chinese travelers like to stock up on coveted luxury fashion items, accessories and shoes of their favorite brands when spending time in Europe. Thus, Chinese consumers are having a growing impact on the European luxury market. Not so well known is how

 Chinese high spenders go about their shopping when abroad. One surprising find of a recent Chinese luxury tourist study is that 75 percent of overseas purchases have been previously planned in China, so SmithStreet, a Shanghai-based strategy consultancy that helps international brands to grow in China and understand Chinese consumers.

Planning
is key for Chinese luxury shoppers

Also surprising to know for European luxury retailers may be that a staggering 96 percent of those planned purchases are actually executed. At home, consumers will get the information on the products and brands they are looking for through popular search engine Baidu, fashion and lifestyle magazines or the brands’ websites, and then plan when and where to buy the desired products during their trip.

“Two to three months before my trip to Europe, I start making marks on the items I like when flipping through magazines and all of them will be on my shopping list,” said one of the 100 aspirational, affluent Chinese consumers interviewed by SmithStreet. To qualify, each of the participants had to have traveled to Europe in the last six months and purchased luxury items there.

Another interesting find is that consumers pool their resources and take turns shopping for each other when abroad: “My friends and I take turns, so this time when I travel, I will buy products my friends want and next time, they will bring back products for me as well,” said another respondent. And indeed, 24 percent of all purchases are planned and made for others, while 50 percent are dedicated to the shopper’s own needs or gift purchases.

That leaves only 26 percent for unplanned or spontaneous purchases – a number that European luxury retailers may have expected to be higher. They should also take note of the fact that 64 percent of the Chinese travelers asked were unwilling or reluctant to try a new brand. “To influence the shopping behavior of Chinese travelers, brands need to engage them in China”, advises SmithStreet.

Knowing customer demographics and attitudes toward logos and styles as well as regional differences is also key for international luxury brands. It is also important to collect feedback on the customer’s luxury buying experience as well as the key touch points and channels for engaging global consumers.

Photo: Chanel store in Paris (Spixey)
chinese luxury travelers
smithstreet china