Chinese overseas tourist spending soars during Golden Week

Chinese tourist spending continues to benefit international economies, with new data revealing the average Chinese tourist spent 15 per cent more during Golden Week 2019 (October 1-7) than in 2018. The data released today by Alipay – the world’s largest mobile payment and lifestyle platform – shows Chinese shoppers each spent an average of £485 with Alipay alone when travelling in the UK during the Chinese national holiday.

The UK was the most popular country in Europe for shopping among Chinese tourists during Golden Week 2019, ahead of Germany, France and Italy. Total transaction volumes in the UK during the period increased 70% YOY. Chinese supermarkets, outlet centres such as Bicester Village and department stores such as Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols have proven to be the most popular UK shopping destinations for Chinese visitors.

Data from Fliggy – Alibaba’s travel service platform – also reveals the number of Chinese tourists booking trips to the UK for Golden Week 2019 increased by 40 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Roland Palmer, Head of Alipay, UK, France, Netherlands and Nordics, said:

“Conditions have never been tougher for retailers, with many big household names struggling to stay afloat or shutting up shop altogether. However, outbound Chinese tourists present a significant opportunity for UK retailers and it is encouraging to see that European destinations and products are still hugely popular with Chinese visitors.

Mobile payments are the most popular method of payment for Chinese nationals, so it’s exciting that Alipay is now so firmly established in the UK, providing Chinese travellers with a seamless shopping experience abroad. The number of Alipay users in 2019 is more than double what it was last year, while the number of UK merchants offering Alipay has more than tripled in the past year.

Two years ago, Alipay in the UK was mainly present at large department stores in London; today it is great to see merchants of all types and sizes across the country offering Alipay, whether it is a jewelry store in northern England or a cashmere store in Scotland. Alipay has recently been made available in iconic British chains, such as The Body Shop, Holland & Barrett and Superdrug, meaning these brands now have the opportunity to reach Alipay’s 1.2 billion global users.”

Deb Bee, Group Marketing & Creative Director, Harvey Nichols, said:

“Harvey Nichols is proud to partner with Alipay for a second year running for Golden Week, following a successful commercial partnership in 2018. By offering our Chinese customers a unique shopping experience and exclusive Alipay-only discounts, we have seen an increase in sales across our luxury fashion and beauty categories.”

Elsewhere in Europe, Portugal has emerged as one of the fastest growing countries in terms of spend by Chinese tourists during Golden Week. It saw 64 times the volume of transactions in 2019 compared to last year thanks to the mass rollout of Alipay to merchants there over the last 12 months.

Malta, Monaco and Spain were also popular shopping destinations among Chinese visitors this year, ranking first, second and third globally in terms of highest average spend per Alipay user.

Fliggy data shows that Chinese tourists also crave unique destinations and experiences: travel packages booked for Montenegro, Uzbekistan, and Serbia increased by 14 times, 4.7 times, and 1.8 times respectively, compared to the same period last year.

Golden Week, a Chinese national holiday, traditionally sees millions of Chinese tourists travel and shop abroad, providing retailers with a prime opportunity to increase sales. More than 300,000 merchants in 55 countries and regions participated in Alipay’s Golden Week campaign this year. In Europe, Alipay recently launched with popular national retailers, Holland & Barrett, The Body Shop and Rituals.

Author: Yash Hirani

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