How do Chinese tourists shop abroad?

Jing Sun

Jing Sun
Published 14/03/2018 · 3 min read

The United Nations World Tourism Organization, in terms of spending, China ranks as the top tourism source market, making China the top-spending country. The average spend has also continued to increase rapidly. In 2016, 122 million Chinese nationals left the country’s borders, and the total expenditure reached USD 292 billion (UNWTO, 2016).
Shopping, is an indispensable element for Chinese tourists, but they have unique consumption patterns and habits. Understanding their shopping behaviour is becoming an essential job for all kinds of merchants who want to attract Chinese tourists to their shop.
Forget about window displays!
Chinese tourists already know what and where they want to shop before making a trip.
Now, let’s check 4 frequent steps of Chinese tourists’ shopping behaviour and 4 corresponding tips for merchants, one by one:


Long before their travel, Chinese tourists make lists ahead of what to purchase in each destination of their travel. They research Chinese websites and social media to plan carefully which stores to visit, based on which stores have the products they want to buy, who has the best price and how significant the duty-free discount is.
They also review family's and friends' past experiences. Moreover, as Chinese society is focussed on etiquette, favour and relationships, they also buy lots of well-known local products for their relatives, friends, or colleagues and even help them to purchase abroad. All the details will often be within their travel plan.

Tip 1: Having an official account in WeChat is an efficient way to transact with your potential clients. WeChat now has over 1 billion active monthly users worldwide, almost all of the well-known brands have official accounts in WeChat, it is the fastest way to build your brand image in Chinese social networks with the widest audiences. Moreover, within the WeChat Official Account, the merchants can release promotions and discount information or even red envelopes to encourage their clients to purchase.

Thanks to the thorough preparation they undertake before their travel, the language barrier is no longer a key deciding factor, they locate the store quickly and seek excellent service and product quality, look for the best values and price offers, and are even sensitive to the price after duty free.
Chinese customers want to feel welcomed and they need the reference of others. Sometimes they try the products and ask for opinion of their companions, other times they make photos or video calls to consult with their friends in China, or even post their shopping moment in their social network. A good shopping experience and good feedback from others will make a great contribution to their decision to purchase.

Tip 2: Some simple Chinese words will be useful in breaking the ice and helping them feel welcome and valued. If there is a shopping guide who can talk with them in Chinese it will be more than helpful.

Patience will be required when they are asking for advice of their friends or family. Chinese customers often want a professional point of view, the advice from the shopping consultant will help them to make a quick decision. Basic photography skills maybe a bonus in some cases.

Chinese tourists are accustomed to optimal user convenience. Many do not have access to western credit cards, and considering the security issue, they avoid paying in cash.
Therefore, mobile payments with their own trusted payment methods like WeChat Pay or will be their first choice.


Tip 3: Meeting the requirements of the customers and facilitate them the payment methods like WeChat Pay or Alipay. Mobile payment is an irrational consumption behaviour which lets customers make quick purchase decisions.

What is more, it is easier to convince them to follow your WeChat Official Account when they pay with WeChat Pay. Making good use of this customer resource will bring you more loyal clients and brand evangelists.

Chinese people generally enjoy sharing their life moments on social networks. Satisfied travellers post online about their purchases, share their experiences, share discount offers, share pictures and videos, etc. All of these will impact future shopping decision of family and friends, and even in forums of travellers.

Tip 4: A good shopping experience will encourage Chinese tourists to post more about their purchase and increase the exposure in Chinese websites and social networks. These small individual opinion leaders could influence a huge number of potential clients.

Payxpert is the official partner of WeChat Pay in Europe, and we offer different WeChat Pay solutions to all kinds of business as well as WeChat marketing solution with which you can also interact with your Chinese clients via Red Envelope.


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