If you’re looking for trends in the Chinese consumer market, the tourism industry should be your first stop. Whether it’s trading-up in food & beverage or the health & fitness craze seizing the domestic market, China Skinny sees China’s affluent international travellers particularly influential in shaping these trends back home. A quick glance at five trends stemming from tourism:
1: Make it special. Wealthy travellers have been ditching the standard travel packages in favour of finely-tuned and customizable ones for a while now. Across virtually every category brands are looking to create more personalized offerings to meet the increasingly specific wants and needs of Chinese consumers.
2: Get adventurous. Affluent travellers are also getting more adventurous on their holidays, seeking a more authentic experience – a theme replicated in individual tastes across other categories. Based on the number of tents and outdoor equipment sold on Alibaba platforms last year, adventure of a less comfortable nature also looks to be trending in China.
3: It’s the little things. Little comforts like bottled water, kettles and slippers have long been an important feature in hotel rooms and are key to keeping an ever-more discerning Chinese traveller happy. Similar hygiene factors and little surprises will go a long way for any brand in ensuring Chinese consumers are happy and potentially prompting all-important advocacy for your brand.
4: Convenience is king. Tourism operators have been quick to identify the short attention spans of Chinese tourists, with some notably shortening the duration of the activities they offer to Chinese tourists. This trait is mirrored by the general consumer who is seeking convenience and instant gratification from what they buy.
5: Domestic brands know best. Domestic players are upping their game in every category. From the National Tourism Administration’s “Toilet Revolution” which has seen over 50,000 of China’s toilets upgraded since 2015, to intricately restored (and sometimes rebuilt) historic wonders, to epic theme parks, to deep-pocketed online travel apps. Across all categories it pays to research and learn from domestic counterparts when delivering products are services that are tailored for the Chinese market.
An example of domestic learnings is the point of difference Tujia holds over Airbnb as it tries to establish a foothold in China. Beijing has a jumble of business districts often defined by a certain specialty. If you want to stay in a commerce, tech or arts area Tujia gives you the ability to narrow your search accordingly. With Beijing’s hospitals driving a huge amount of short-term accommodation, users can look for areas around certain medical facilities. Beijing’s traffic is a known hassle, so sorting by proximity to subway lines and specific attractions is a much appreciated feature. Not only do Chinese consumers have unique needs, but they are often specific to different locations in China.
Improving domestic competition is mostly a good thing for tourism. Like with many categories, from wine to furniture, a good local experience will whet travellers’ appetites for more and often lead to farther-flung holidays, particularly to destinations catering to Chinese needs.
One of the most powerful channels to reach not just Chinese tourists but all consumers is digital. For our Shanghai-based readers, China Skinny’s Nadja Rauscher will be on stage at Austcham’s Clicks to Commerce event next Tuesday 27 June providing some great tips and tricks to best stand out in China’s crowded digital market. More info here. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.