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The dragon travels

What Chinese travelers want

CHINA ON THE MOVE

What preferences do Chinese travelers have for airport retail? Shopping and flying? Cruising? Accommodations? Given the huge market in China, it’s important to get the answers right.

As part of Accenture’s global research into travel preferences, we surveyed 1,500 travelers from China—500 each for airport retail, cruising and travel accommodations.

We found Chinese travelers have unique expectations and motivations for how they travel.


LARGE NUMBERS OF TRAVELERS FROM CHINA
ENJOY RETAIL SHOPPING IN AIRPORTS AND ON FLIGHTS

Globally, 67 percent of travelers sometimes or always purchase retail items when they fly

Globally, 67 percent of travelers sometimes or always purchase retail items when they fly.

In China, that number rises to 84 percent. Chinese travelers are also more likely to use a “fly and collect” service

In China, that number rises to 84 percent. Chinese travelers are also more likely to use a “fly and collect” service.

WITH CRUISING, BOTH PRICE AND
THE EXPERIENCE ARE IMPORTANT

Globally, “availability of unique on-board experiences” did not make the top-three reasons to go on a cruise. In China, it was tied in first place with price considerations.


FOR ACCOMMODATIONS, IT’S LESS ABOUT PRICE AND MORE ABOUT A PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCE

Compared to the global numbers, Chinese travelers are less price conscious regarding their selection of accommodations. But they were over 40 percent more likely to choose a private accommodation experience.

SELLING TO A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE

They’re at the airport. They’re on a flight. It’s an opportunity
for airlines to drive revenue and growth with retail options
for Chinese travelers.

BIG ON SHOPPING AS THEY FLY

Chinese travelers in the mid- to high-income spectrum are more likely to shop when they fly.

Big on shopping as they fly
67 percent overall

GLOBAL TRAVELERS

93 percent medium income

CHINESE TRAVELERS

92 percent high income

CHINESE TRAVELERS

THEY’RE NOT JUST WATCHING MOVIES

It’s important to offer more choices for inflight shopping, as Chinese travelers want more choices.

Chinese travelers also spend more onboard than those in other markets.

35 percent of Chinese travelers make onboard purchases compared with 14 percent globally

SHOP NOW,
COLLECT LATER

MILLENNIALS
WANT TO SHOP

Chinese travelers are 80 percent more likely to use a “fly and collect” service onboard compared to other travelers

Chinese travelers are 80 percent more likely to use a “fly and collect” service onboard
compared to other travelers.

Chinese millennials are 20 percent more likely than their global counterparts to purchase retail items while flying

Chinese millennials are 20 percent
more likely than their global
counterparts to purchase
retail items while flying.

74 percent globally 18-34 vs 94 percent China 18-34
SOMETIMES OR ALWAYS PURCHASE RETAIL ITEMS WHEN I FLY

MAKING WAVES

There’s a sea of opportunities in China for the cruise industry, with four out of five travelers open-minded about cruising.

Price is a consideration for cruising, but not the primary factor. Chinese travelers also value other determinants for cruising.

CONSIDER
THE EXPERIENCE

Cruise companies must offer unique and
hyper-personalized experiences to Chinese travelers
to convert open-minded cruisers into cruise enthusiasts.

THEMED VACATIONS FOR
GEN X AND MILLENNIALS

Again, it’s all about the experience. Younger travelers in
particular are interested in a resort-type experience.

China Pricing and Exprience
18-34 Experience and Discounts
 

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Hotels are still king, as we discovered in our global survey
about travel accommodations. But comparatively high
percentages of Chinese travelers prefer a more private,
personalized experience.

PRIVATE ACCOMMODATIONS MAY BECOME INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE

Chinese travelers were over 40 percent more likely to select private accommodations
when they travel compared to travelers
in other markets studied.

Private accommodations may become increasingly competitive

GLOBAL

YOUNGER GENERATIONS ARE BREAKING THE MOLD

61% OF CHINESE MILLENNIALS AND 48% OF GEN X’ERS
have recently stayed in a private accommodation, compared with

25% AND BELOW FOR OLDER GENERATIONS.

Younger generations are breaking the mold

IT’S NOT JUST THE PRICE,
IT’S ALSO ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE

Chinese travelers, compared to travelers globally, are
half as likely to say price drives their choice for private
accommodations. They place a higher value on unique
experiences compared to travelers globally. Hoteliers
must emphasize the unique, personalized and
hyper-relevant experiences they can offer.

SHIFTING PREFERENCES FOR BOTH BUSINESS AND PLEASURE

For business travel, more than half of Chinese travellers stay
with friends and family or at a B&B. About one-third prefer
private accommodations such as a condo or house.

For leisure travel, the numbers are even higher: 71% STAY WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY, 64% AT A B&B AND ABOUT 45% AT PRIVATE ACCOMMODATIONS.

NAVIGATING THE GROWTH JOURNEY IN CHINA

Whether it’s about cruising, accommodations or airport retail and in-flight shopping, focus on the end-to-end, personalized experience you’re creating for the Chinese traveler—one that attracts consumers and keeps them coming back. Curate guest experiences with local flavor. Hotels can do this, too: Deliver experiences rich in local customs, cuisines, people and events.
By developing targeted brand offerings that appeal to different Chinese traveler groups—from the price sensitive to the fearless adventurer to the luxury traveler—travel companies can extend their reach and strengthen their value proposition.
How are you making your offerings appealing to the younger generation in China? Millennials are cruising enthusiasts, for example. A majority have recently stayed in private accommodations. Almost two-thirds make onboard retail purchases.
If you’re personalizing the experience, that needs to be clear at the time of booking. For example, pricing and customization options are often not clear when it comes to cruising, which contributes to awareness gaps around how affordable and accessible cruising is.
More than other countries, Chinese travelers place higher value on payment with loyalty points.
Airlines and airports should strongly consider offering or expanding their retail presence—both partnering with brands for shopping at the airport and offering inflight options, as well as “fly and collect.”
The wise pivot for travel companies will simultaneously require current business improvements and future investments. Generate a short-term, fast payback through targeted quick wins taking cost out. At the same time, experiment, learn and scale new approaches and offerings to drive revenue and growth.