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Observations In Luxury

Resurgent outbound Chinese tourism brings hope for high-end brands

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The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything for most countries, though few were as impacted by travel restrictions as China. The numbers of Chinese tourists travelling abroad tanked, which greatly impacted high-end brands; Chinese tourists amount to one third of global sales of luxury goods, making them the biggest spenders. 

Fortunately for these prestige brands, outbound tourism from China is currently experiencing a major resurgence. For example, the number of Chinese tourists to the US is expected to surpass 1.3 million in 2024 – a three times increase compared to 2023.

However, it isn’t always predictable where Chinese tourists will head 

There are many factors that influence the ebb and flow of Chinese tourism, though. High-end brands should be aware of the ever-changing interests of Chinese enthusiasts of fashion and luxury items. Popular culture and social media have a considerable impact on the countries that tourists like to visit, and the brands that receive the greatest custom.  

For example, South Korea may be a more popular target for tourists’ spending power than the US at the moment. Hallyu also known as the Korean wave – has captured the attentions of many younger, Generation-Z Chinese tourists. This trend can be seen worldwide, too.

High-spending Chinese tourists are also projected to gravitate towards understated luxury this 2024. As a result, the brands that could benefit the most include the likes of Ralph Lauren, The Row, Bottega Veneta, and Hermès. Companies that have mastered craftsmanship, timelessness, and the smaller luxury details – such as stitching and lining – are well-placed to capture the admiration of big spenders.

The high-end brands set to benefit from resurgent outbound Chinese tourism aren’t only clothing-oriented. As established in 2023 by Bain-Altagamma’s luxury market monitor, all luxury categories within the Chinese luxury market rebounded. This included beauty products – driven by momentum in fragrances and makeup – as well as jewellery and bespoke leather goods, all of which experienced growth.

What can brands do to maximise their prospects among Chinese customers in 2024? 

To keep the momentum of investment from Chinese tourism at the projected high pace, there are a number of things high-end brands can do to retain consumers’ attentions. Chinese tourists have come to expect quality retail establishments and an attentive consumer experience. Clienteling activities, like offering sneak peaks at brand-new products and providing gifts as a “thank you” upon checkout, are also a great way to help retain these international customers in the long term. 

As much of the initial interest that provokes outbound Chinese tourism is digital, it is also important that brands provide a diverse and relevant digital experience – one that caters to Chinese tourists’ tastes, interests, and background.

Here at Skywire London, we are a luxury, fashion, and lifestyle marketing agency with considerable capability and experience in attracting international customers to businesses across these prestige sectors. If you would like to  receive expert advice and help so that you can better appeal to tourists and power your brand’s growth over 2024 and in the years ahead, please feel free to connect with us


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