The Chinese are the world's most prolific travelers and they're spending more on travel than any other nation.
As we noted last year, the Chinese are now the world’s most prolific travelers. This videographic from The Economist shows that their spending on outbound tourism is now by far the highest of any nation, having grown sixfold in the last decade alone. Chinese tourists spent $129 billion last year, well ahead of Americans ($86 billion). And, The Economist reports, “They are expected to buy more luxury goods next year while abroad than tourists from all other countries combined,” with around 80% of Chinese tourists saying that shopping is vital to their plans.
Among mainland Chinese, more than two-thirds of luxury spending took place abroad, according to a Bain & Co. study released in December. In Europe and elsewhere, luxury retailers cater to these travelers with Mandarin language tours of flagship showrooms or backstage access to runway shows, per The New York Times. Brands like Ermenegildo Zegna, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Harrods are also creating accounts on Chinese mobile messaging service WeChat (known as Weixin in China) to reach travelers on the go.
Chinese tourists currently represent around 10% of all travelers, but there’s substantial room for growth, since only 5% of Chinese have a passport, according to The Economist. As more middle-class Chinese venture abroad, we’ll see retailers beyond the top tier catering to these shoppers in similar ways, helping them cross language barriers and better get to know the brand.