Aussie Retailers Ignore $700M Wave Of Chinese Tourist Spending In July, August

Chinese tourists will spend more than $700 million in retail outlets during July and August, but these cashed up shoppers will go almost wholly ignored by Aussie retailers.  This comes at a time of slowing retail sales and a difficult winter season for Australian stores.

The retail spending of Chinese tourists peaks during Chinese New Year, which usually falls in late January or early February.  This much was long suspected and is borne out by a review of the numbers.  What’s more surprising is that for Chinese tourists in Australia there are two other significant shopping periods during the year – one in July and August (during the Chinese school holidays) and one in December (due to the increasing popularity of Christmas among Chinese consumers).  May and June are the months when the Chinese tourists numbers are at their lowest and, with it, retail spending.

Chinese tourists are also spending more than previously estimated, both because of a increase in the number of Chinese people visiting Australia (growing 20% per year) and the average amount they spend when they’re here (increasing from $2,200 per person to almost $2,500).  The combined effect of these increases is that Chinese tourists will spend $4.1 billion in Australian retail outlets in 2016.

Chinese shoppers are buying fewer luxury goods and more health and beauty products than before.  The most popular spending categories are souvenirs, cosmetics, health and beauty products, luxury goods, clothes, leather good and home appliances.  Chinese consumers appreciate the quality of goods they buy in Australia (even if those goods are made elsewhere) and the clean, green reputation of Aussie-made goods.

Engaging with the Chinese tourist market can be remarkably simple.  The number one thing Chinese people say they want from retailers?  Chinese language signage.  The number one thing that attracts Chinese into a store?  The presence of other Chinese shoppers.

Catering to the Chinese tourist market can bring significant revenues to Australian retailers who choose to engage with this market.  By paying attention to the seasonal pattern of Chinese tourism, Aussie businesses can tap into one of the fastest growing and biggest spending segments of the market.  But most Australian businesses just aren’t paying attention to this group of shoppers.

For more, see our report Chinese Tourist Spending: A Strategy For Year Round Sales.