Travel Experiences Trumping Luxury Goods in China?

Chinese spending on travel experiences over luxury goods — really?

Not entirely surprising. As we have mentioned before, luxury spending starts with goods and soon move onto experiences as the individual luxury markets mature. We are seeing signs of this with Chinese luxury consumers.

Recently global Internet media company, Travelzoo Asia Pacific, released the findings of its latest survey of 6,500 subscribers in Asia Pacific regarding their spending preferences. The results reveal that 70 percent of of them would rather spend more on travel than on luxury goods. This major shift in spending habits indicates that consumers prefer experiences over stuff.

Specifically, when respondents were asked what they would give up in order to travel more, the figures showed that 69 percent of respondents in Mainland China, 74 percent in Hong Kong, and 79 percent in Taiwan were willing to spend less on luxury goods.

“According to the figures, we can see a strong interest and readiness to spend more on travel, despite economic uncertainties.  This is good news for the travel industry. It is a trend that will continue through 2012. Our commitment to publish only high quality deals of true value is a key stimulus for incremental travel in the region” said Mr. Jason Yap, CEO, Travelzoo Asia Pacific.

Apparently, good deals matter. Sixty eight percent of Mainland Chinese subscribers, 63 percent of Hong Kongers and 61 percent of Taiwanese, said they had booked a trip on Travelzoo when they had no plans to travel prior to seeing the recommended deal.

The most popular destination in the survey among travelers from Mainland China was Australia, highlighted by 24 percent of respondents. Other top destinations included the United States, Japan, and Maldives.


MainlandChina HongKong Taiwan
1 Australia 24% Japan 41% Japan 46%
USA 23% Taiwan 30% Mainland China 20%
3 Japan 22% Korea 27% USA 17%
4 Maldives 21% Thailand 21% Australia 17%
5 Mainland China 17% Mainland China 20% New Zealand 15%

The survey showed the increasingly sophisticated travel inclinations of Mainland Chinese travelers.  Beach holidays were the most favorably sought after with 61 percent citing them among their top preferences.  This was followed by 31 percent citing preferences for wellbeing vacations and 30 percent for self drive vacations.  Hot spring and spa resorts, beachfront hotels and resorts were ranked at the top of the list for accommodation choices.  The results reflect a strong demand for high-end vacations, partly due to Travelzoo’s more upscale Mainland Chinese subscriber base whose average monthly personal income of USD 1,560 is three times higher than the national average.

Top Five Holidays by Markets

MainlandChina HongKong
1 Beach Holiday 61% Beach Holiday 42%
2 Wellbeing 31% Hot Spring/Spa 38%
3 Self Drive 30% Sightseeing 35%
4 Historical Preservation 30% Historical Preservation 30%
5 Cruise 30% Self Drive 27%

The respondents are upbeat about their travel prospects in 2012.  In all markets across Asia Pacific, at least 65 percent expect to spend more on travel in 2012 than they did in 2011.  Mainland Chinese subscribers continue to outspend Greater China compatriots, with an average spending of USD 1,415 per person per leisure trip. Hong Kongers and Taiwanese will spend an average of USD 969 and USD 785 per person per trip respectively. In addition, Hong Kong subscribers plan to travel the most frequently, at an average of five leisure trips per year.

Travel Frequency and Spending in 2012

MainlandChina HongKong Taiwan
Plan to Increase Spending 74% 65% 71%
Average Spending per Person per Leisure Trip (USD) $1,415 $969 $785
Frequency of Leisure Travel per Year 4.2 5 2.8

photo credit: traveldestinationinfo

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