Chinese Tax-Free Shopping spend dropped into negative growth falling -24% year-on-year in March 2016 according to last month’s Globe Shopper Report by Global Blue.
Schengen biometric visa demands – ease of obtaining a visa is an important consideration for 22% of regular Chinese travellers when choosing a holiday destination according to the report. And, May and October set to be busy months for travel as Chinese tourists take advantage of public holidays.
Despite the recent negative growth, Chinese shoppers remain the largest Tax Free Shopping market, accounting for a third of global sales. Shopping remains a hugely important part of the holiday experience for regular Chinese travellers, as 81% of those planning international travel in 2016 will shop during their trip.
China had 109 million outbound tourists who spent a total amount of US$229 billion on shopping in 2015 according to GFK.
The Global Blue report also shows that the average shopping budget of Chinese shoppers will be 25,902 yuan per trip to Europe and 18,398 yuan per trip to Asia.
Asia is set to be the primary recipient of Chinese visitors throughout the year, with almost three-quarters (73%) of those planning a holiday in 2016 intending to travel within the region. South Korea is
predicted to become the most visited destination with over a quarter (26%) of regular Chinese travellers planning a trip this year, while Japan follows with 23%.
When it comes to Chinese Tax-Free Shopping spend within Asia, Japan was the region’s strongest performer during Q1, showing +50% growth. During this period, Chinese shoppers accounted for 54% of APAC’s Tax-Free Shopping sales. The number of Chinese Tax-Free Shopping transactions in Asia also increased +32% during Q1 2016, indicating that visitor numbers are up by proxy.
Despite the challenges associated with the new Schengen biometric visa requirements and recent terror attacks, 41% of regular Chinese travellers planning a holiday in 2016 intend to visit Europe. France
(16%) is the most popular European destination followed by Germany (8%), Italy (6%) and the UK (6%).
The research also revealed the top five services that should be offered by retailers looking to attract Chinese Globe Shoppers:
1. Tax Free Shopping (65%)
2. Ability to pay with China Union Pay (55%)
3. Ability to pay in RMB (46%)
4. Staff who speak Chinese (39%)
5. Wi-Fi in-store (26%)
Travel, shopping and fashion websites (43%) and recommendations from friends and family (43%) are the main research points for international shopping. For many, social media also plays a key role, either through the brand’s own site (38%) or via inspiration from friends’ pages (36%).