The new moon on Sunday will welcome the Year of the Snake and see another round of non-stop fireworks, red envelopes and the largest human migration on the planet. While most of the record 3.4 billion trips made during the New Year period will be within China, the holiday has become a boon for many international tourist spots. Some destinations are expecting Chinese arrivals to rise by 50% this month, compared with normal months. There’s some good reading below for those preparing for the torrent of tourists; from statistics, to perceptions of destinations, to highlighting the importance of simple Chinese necessities from slippers to kettles, to the right bank cards. 94 million tourists are expected to travel overseas this year, so making sure you’re catering to their needs would be a good idea.
Fortunately, it’s not just the tourist operators who can expect a big Year of the Snake. Domestic consumer spending in China is forecast to grow 15% this year, and continue at that rate until 2016. Below you’ll find the usual roundup of news and advice to help you win your share of it – hopefully you’ll find something useful. We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year and, if you’re based in China and traveling over the break, a great holiday.
6 Trends You Should be Anticipating in the Year of the Snake: Good insights into what to plan for in the year ahead to market effectively to Chinese consumers; our view.
Chart Focus: How to Compete in Emerging Markets: McKinsey’s chart clustering the different regions in China and not treating it as one large market. For example, Guangzhou and Shenzen, just 62 miles apart are completely different markets. Some good comparisons between country GDPs and Chinese regions, e.g. Shanghai = Switzerland.
Chinese Consumers Lead the Way on Showrooming: 26% of Chinese consumers showroom – that’s browsing first in a store, then buying online. Hence, the closure of so many bricks & mortar retailers trying to crack the Chinese market.
It’s More Romantic in the Philippines – Ask China: The Philippines have been awarded the most romantic destination for Chinese from a Shanghai Morning Post reader survey. Australia awarded Best Tour Destination for Discovery, Switzerland for shopping, Korea for skiing and Germany for art appreciation. Note how different a western traveler survey would be.
Hotels Open Up to UnionPay on Rising Chinese Tourism: More hotels everywhere are encouraging Chinese tourists by allowing visitors to pay with UnionPay. UnionPay is now on 45% of the world’s bank cards – 2.9 billion globally (Visa has 2.3b) and is accepted in 136 countries.
The Surging Importance of Chinese Shoppers Overseas: Chinese tourists are spending up large overseas, confirmed by Global Blue reports on tourist tax refunds. Growth is averaging 50%+ a year.
Rolling Out the Red Carpet as Chinese Tourism Takes Off: Chinese tourists have taken number 2 spot for visitors to Australia, although they spend more than any other country’s tourists at $3.8 billion. They’re coming because of the relative proximity, cultural diversity, scenery and warm weather during the Chinese winter. Education accounts for 56% of visitors. Australian hotels are offering Chinese newspapers & TV, noodles, Chinese porridge, Mandarin speaking staff, and they’re not checking guests into rooms with a ‘4’, which sounds like ‘death’. Australian cities are reaping most of the visitors, whereas far-flung regional spots, popular with western visitors, are yet to catch on with the Chinese – I guess they don’t have the shopping.
Chinese Check-Ins: 150,000 Chinese tourists hit the UK in 2011, up 35% from 2010. The first 11-months of 2012 are 20% up. Much like their Australian cousins, British hotels hoping to appeal to Chinese visitors are offering slippers and kettles. A shiny welcome lobby also scores well as Chinese like to take photos and show off on social media. Nevertheless, handbag shopping is still more important to the state of rooms.
Connecting with the Chinese Wine Drinker: A good article from an Australian who is finding success in getting Chinese to drink his wine, including tips such as Q&A on Weibo, bilingual videos, opinion leaders, events and the younger demographic.
Putting Some Fizz into the Wine Market: Champagne fails to woo luxury Chinese consumers, accounting for just 0.4% of world market. Maybe it looks too much like Baijiu? 1 bottle sold for every 1,440 of red, with half of all sales in Shanghai.
Big Beauty Brands Get Digital in China: Beauty brands in China are seeing the benefits of digital as they expect the online beauty sales to hit $20b by 2016. The average big beauty brand has 198K followers on Weibo, versus 1.9m on Facebook. 72% are offering free shipping with a minimum spend averaging $78.
China Golf Show Returns: 400 golf brands will be filling 30,000 square meters of Beijing show space in March, trying to win in the world’s largest & fastest growing golf market. In 2010 there were 500 golf courses in China, expected to double by 2020. The market for personal golf equipment in China will be $1.4 billion by 2014.
China Luxury Purchases Picked to Rise Again: Luxury purchases in China are likely to ramp up if Internet searches are a worthy indicator: 31.3% of global searches for high end luxury goods came from China, a 27% growth from last year.
The Incredible, Shrinking Life Cycle of Luxury Brands in China: As Chinese get taller, brand life cycles get shorter. The super-fast rise and falls of luxury brands in China.
Consumers in Chinese Cities Can’t Get Enough of This New ‘Drink’: There are still plenty of new market opportunities for the creative in China: dirty smog is making cans of air a top seller – 8 million sold at $0.80c a pop! Little surprise given Beijing’s 2013 daily average air quality is 17% higher than US airport smoking rooms!
That’s the skinny for the week!
If you’ve missed earlier news or need to learn more, there’s a library of information about Chinese consumers in prior China Skinny Weeklys right here. You can have this delivered to your inbox each week by subscribing for email updates, or if social media is more your thing, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS feed. If you have any feedback or suggestions for future articles, please let us know.